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Who Needs an International Driving Permit to Drive in Spain

What is an International Driving Permit and do I need one to drive in Spain

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 8 Mar 2022 | Andalucia | Living In Andalucia

What is an International Driving Permit

First of all, to clear up a popular misconception: an International Driving Permit is not a Driving Licence, it is not an International Driving Licence although it is often (wrongly) referred to as such. There is no such thing as an International Driving Licence.

Back in 1968, a number of countries came to an agreement that citizens of those countries could drive in cooperating countries using their own driving licences. Over the years other countries signed up to the agreement and there are now 67 contracting countries where licences are issued in accordance with Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention or with Annex 6 of the Vienna Convention. If your country is on this list then you DO NOT need an International Driving Permit to drive in Spain.

The EU and EEA countries are all on the exception list so tourists from the EU or EEA countries only need the driving licence issued in their own country in order to drive in Spain, subject to any age restrictions for the class of vehicle they are driving.


The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a translation of your driving licence into Spanish and several other languages. It is not a substitute for a driving licence. You must carry your original driving licence along with your IDP when driving in Spain.

You do not have to take any driving test, practical or written, to obtain an International Driving Permit.

How Long is an International Driving Permit Valid

The International Driving Permit is valid for 12 months. However, if you remain in Spain for a period of six months or over then you should exchange your driving licence for a Spanish driving licence.

Tourists from the UK

Generally, tourists from the UK do not need an IDP. However, they may need an IDP if the licence is one of the old paper-based licences with no photo id, or if the licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man.

How to Apply for an International Driving Permit

How to apply for an International Driving Permit depends upon which country you are in. Some countries allow you to apply on line, others require you to present yourself at a post office, others allow motoring organisations and clubs to issue IDPs.

The easiest way to find out how you apply in your country is to type 'how do i apply for an international driving permit in (your country)' in a search engine.

How Much Does an International Driving Permit Cost

Again, this depends on which country is issuing the IDP. As of 2022, in the UK an IDP costs £5.50, in the United States it costs $15, in Australia an IDP costs $42, in Canada $25, plus the cost of photographs and, if applicable, postage.


Can an IDP be used for Identification

An IDP is a helpful form of identification, even if you do not intend to drive when you travel abroad. IDPs are officially sanctioned by the United Nations and accepted worldwide (in over 150 countries) as a recognisable form of identification.

For list of countries that DO NOT need an International Driving Permit to drive in Spain - Click Here


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