The one thing that you will always enjoy when you travel is, your freedom. Self-drive makes you location independent and lets you explore a place in unique ways. I realized the importance of having an International Driving Licence on my trips abroad, until I tried to hire a two-wheeler for myself . Owning an International Driving Licence may seem lesser important for many but for frequent travelers, it greatly impacts the travel budget. In this post, I give you an insight on whether it is a good idea to own an International Driving Licence.
What is an International Driving Licence
Simply put, an International Driving Licence is akin to your Domestic Driving Licence that makes you eligible to self-drive a vehicle in select countries across the globe. Having said that, it has the potential to drastically cut down on your local travel costs while making you location independent at the same time.
The International Driver’s Licence Standards have been defined by the UN Conference on Road Traffic in the year 1968. The two-part document states all the standards approved by the latest UN Convention in the first and a hologrammed plastic identity card in the second.
It also comes with a set of instructions that show your personal identification, the vehicle categories eligible for driving, restrictions on the driving conditions and terms of licence disqualifications.
In other words, you can consider this document as good as a second identity card after your passport documents, should you need one in unforeseen circumstances.
Why Should You Own an IDL?
The International Driving Licence comes with several unique advantages when it comes to International Traveling. Although a few countries already accept the Indian Licence for driving abroad, yet, with an International Licence, the spectrum gets only wider. Here are a few of them.
- An alternate identity document apart from the Passport.
- Easily renewable worldwide from the local RTO or Indian Embassy.
- Accepted in 120 countries worldwide.
- Easy to apply and get issued.
- Gives access to low-cost road travel solutions abroad.
Why You Should Not Own an IDL?
Before you actually decide about getting an International Driving Licence, you must also know which countries are the Indian Driving Licence accepted. Here’s a list of countries where you can proudly use your Indian Driving Licence without an IDL/ IDP:-
- United States of America,
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa
You must know however, that, if you are planning to stay more than 6 months, you might have to go for making an IDL/ IDP as your Indian Driving Licence may no longer be applicable after 6 months period.
Coming to not getting an IDL/IDP, there may be number of reasons, including the unwillingness to invest money for a limited period. There are some more listed below, which can give you an insight while you plan to apply for an IDL/ IDP:-
- Applicable only for 1 year/ 12 months from date of issue. This will need you to renew it every year, while you may or may not be travelling every year.
- Little or no knowledge of licence renewals abroad.
- You are only traveling within the list of countries where they accept the Indian Driving Licence.
- You have no intentions of staying in another country for prolonged periods.
- You are comfortable with the existing transportation costs given by the service providers.
List of Countries Where You Can Use IDL
As mentioned earlier, when you consider the Worldwide acceptability of the IDL, it is higher than the Indian Licence alone. Apart from the 15 countries listed above, the IDL/ IDP is accepted in more than 100 countries worldwide.
These also include the countries where you can move with your Indian Driving Licence, thus making it convenient to use a universal document than using different ones altogether.
How to Get Your International Driving Licence in India?
Depending on whether you have made up your mind to own an International Driving Licence or not, applying for one is similar to the Domestic Licence. There are two ways in which you can apply for the IDL/IDP.
- Apply through the local RTO of your area – Download the Licence Application Form
- You can also apply online through the agency called ‘Western India Automobile Association‘, an institution that is recognized as India’s major authority on motoring issues. The WIAA mandates an Indian Applicant to hold a valid Indian Passport as the basic eligibility to apply for the International Driving Licence.
The WIAA is the only authority apart from the local RTO’s which can issue an Indian citizen with an International Driving Licence.
Based on where you make a choice for application, below are the documents you are required to submit.
- Current Driving Licence (Original + Xerox)
- Passport (Original+ Xerox)
- Fees and Service Charges . If you apply online, you can pay directly.
- 4 Passport size photographs
- A self – attested letter to the Zonal RTO requesting to authenticate International Driving Permit.