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Driving Overseas

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All you need to know about the International Driving Permit.

If you have a Singapore driver’s licence and plan to drive while abroad, you will need to be well-acquainted with the International Driving Permit (IDP).

WHAT IS IT?
The IDP is recognised worldwide as a document that identifies motorists as legally licensed drivers. It is the only official legal document sanctioned by the UN Convention on Road Traffic.

WHY DO I NEED IT?
The IDP is a requirement for driving in many countries. Motorists who drive overseas in these countries without it may be fined or charged in a local court. The IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide — the list can be found on the website (under FAQs about IDP) of the Automobile Association of Singapore (AA Singapore). It is valid in the territory of all the contracting states of convention on road traffic of 19 September 1949. Popular holiday destinations visited by Singaporeans that require an IDP are Japan, Taiwan and the United States of America.

In countries that recognise the Singapore driver’s licence, the IDP is not needed to hire a car. However, rental car companies may ask for it, so it is best to check ahead. The IDP can minimise inconvenience for drivers in countries where English is not commonly spoken.

Containing the driver’s information in various languages, the permit eases communication with rental companies and other authorities.

WHERE CAN I GET IT?
AA Singapore is the sole organisation here authorised to issue the IDPYou can apply for the IDP online or in person at AA Singapore’s office located on Kung Chong Road. Applicants should ensure that the permit is issued by an authorised organisation, as those by non-official sources (such as fake IDP websites) will be rejected, especially in countries like Japan and Korea.

WHAT ABOUT MY SINGAPORE DRIVER’S LICENCE?
You must carry your Singapore driver’s licence with you in countries that need the IDP. The permit does not replace your Singapore driver’s licence. To avoid disputes with authorities while driving overseas, you are advised to present your Singapore driving licence and your residency pass when using the IDP.

Work permit or employment pass holders must ensure the documents are within the valid period issued. This is because the validity of IDP will cease with the expiry of the work permit and employment pass.

HOW LONG DOES THE IDP LAST?
The IDP is valid for use within a stipulated period as imposed by the respective country. If you are staying in a foreign country for more than a month and the purpose of your visit is not leisure, you should contact the embassy or consulate office of the foreign country to obtain more information on driving licence requirements. Another point to note is that the IDP issued here is not valid for driving in Singapore — it is not a substitute for a domestic driving licence.

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