Tuesday, 29 March 2011

International Driving Permit

As I am going to Malaysia for essentially a holiday I did ponder whether I needed an International Driving Permit (IDP) or not. Clearly if you're not planning to hire a car (or motor cycle) or drive out their you don't but I will likely hire car, if only for a short time. The permits have to be used in conjunction with, not instead of, your UK driving licence and the guide books suggest that it's not essential but likely a good idea to get one for Malaysia. In the UK these permits are issued by the Automobile Association (AA) and their IDP site also indicates 'Recommended' for Malaysia. There are two types the AA issues, those issued in accordance with requirements from the year 1926 and those issued in accordance with 1949 requirements. Malaysia requires the latter. I believe the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) also issues (or did issue) these as well but information on their site is more sparse. The IDP is valid for 12 months and may be applied for up to three months before you intend to travel.

Application is quite a simple process. Either in person at a participating Post Office (listed on the AA site under the 'Apply at specified Post Office, at a designated AA Port Travel Shop (certain Eurotunnel or Ferry) or by post direct to the AA. If applying in person you will need your passport (certain other documents are also listed as options), your driving licence (the photo-card and paper counterpart) and a passport photograph (the online form from the AA sets out the criteria the photo must comply with) which you must sign on the back. You will also need to complete a form which the Post Office provides. The fee at the time of writing is £5.50 in person or £8.00 by post.

I chose to apply in person as I live relatively close to a 'specified' Post Office and there is less messing around with providing photocopies of your passport and both sides of your card and paper counterpart licence that is required with a postal application. Took about 10 minutes.

May well be overkill and not needed but, IMO, better safe than sorry.


  1. Initially I got an international licence and the only time I had to show it to police, the officer held it upside down and wanted another licence. My wife showed her Australian licence ...which had a picture on it...and that was accepted at once. I no longer bother, for my Oz licence (as in Australia) seems to almost double as an IC card.

  2. I'm sure it's not needed. Just one of those things where for the sake of £5.50 I'd rather have it than not. Apparently it's more often something that car rental companies are likely to ask for and I'd only kick myself if they did and I didn't have it.


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