Empowering the Freelance Economy

Now that it’s summer digital nomads are fresh targets for international driving license scams

Photo by Roberto Nickson via Pexels
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Freelancers and digital nomads looking to work remotely outside the UK can now apply for International Driving Permits (IDPs) and International Driving Licenses (IDLs) that will allow them to drive outside their home country without the need to take extra tests. However, as the summer holidays are upon us, so too are the international driving license scams you can find online.

International Driving Permits (IDPs) are a recognised document that grants drivers the privilege to drive in foreign countries without undertaking supplementary tests. This permit is issued by the relevant national motoring organisations in the driver’s home country. The UK government at the time of writing did not list any other organisation other than the Post Office on its site to get valid/legitimate international driving permits or licenses.

Some sites will say that you can get an international driver’s permit with the seal of approval from the United Nations and be granted permission to drive in over 150 countries. However, online scams will use the UN seal to make their permit process look legitimate.

If you ever come across sites with spelling errors, that could be a sure sign they are not legitimate.

Do I need an International Driving Permit or License to drive abroad?

If you are planning to drive overseas, it is important to assess the requirements of the destination country. Depending on their regulations, one or more of the following documents may be necessary: an IDP, IDL, or International Driving Permit. Familiarising yourself with the specific requirements of the destination country is essential before planning to stay live and work in another country as a freelancer or digital nomad.

Having an international driving permit or license is also useful for identity purposes. Some countries require you to have a photo ID on you at all times, and bringing your passport with you may not always be convenient or safe in case you lose or misplace it.

The permits/license can also eliminate the need for additional tests, simplifying the process and granting peace of mind to drivers, knowing they are legally authorised to drive in their destination country.

The government lists countries and their rules on whether you need an IDP or IDL to drive or rent a car here. Click here.

Driving if you move abroad

You may need to get a local driving licence if you move abroad. Check with the driving licence authorities there to find out how to apply. In some countries, you can exchange your UK licence without taking another driving test. Here is an IDP checker from the Post Office that shows what you need by country.

If you move to an EU country, check the rules for exchanging your licence in the EU.

How much do international driver permits and licenses cost and last?

The current cost of an IDP or IDL is £5.50, and both documents remain valid for 12 months. The costs and validity periods of International Driving Permits for global travel may vary depending on the issuing authority and the regulations of the destination country.

Get an international driving permit (IDP)

You can get an IDP in person at the Post Office.

They cost £5.50 and you must:

  • live in Great Britain or Northern Ireland
  • have a full UK driving licence
  • be 18 or over

Check if you need an IDP first.

A 1926 or 1949 permit lasts for 12 months. A 1968 permit lasts for 3 years or until your UK driving licence expires, whichever comes first.

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