Indian Driving Licences: The 8 Countries You Can Drive In With It


You love driving so much that you got your Indian driving licence before you got a girlfriend. That’s really awesome and all but what happens when you travel abroad? Can you still indulge in your passion for driving in other countries?

An international road trip is all the more memorable when you decide to rent a car and drive across the country’s many glorious terrains on your own. You see, driving a car in a different country is a feeling that many of us chase, and for all the right reasons. It helps you know the country up close, it gives you the freedom to go wherever you wish to, and it unfolds your experiences slowly, as per your liking.

So, here’s a list of some beautiful countries around the world that allow you to drive with an Indian driving license and are totally worth exploring on a road trip.

1.   United States of America (USA)

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - USA

The vast, unending roads of the USA are a dream of all enthusiastic drivers. In most parts of the country, you can drive a car for an entire year with an Indian driving licence. Furthermore, the USA is one of the fewer countries that admits a driving license in a non-English language. All they ask for verification is your date of entry and a valid Form I-94. Please note that some cities in the USA do require you to show an International Driving Permit (IDP). 

When exploring the vibrant villages and gorgeous cities of the USA, here are some roads you must go on for a memorable roast trip. Route 66 from California to Illinois, Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia to North Carolina, and the Overseas highway in Florida.

2.   Canada

Canada is one country where you will find Indians prominently. In this natural wonder of a country, you can drive for three months with your Indian license. If you wish to continue for longer, you can simply apply for a Canadian license.

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - Canada

The Crownwest Highway in British Columbia, Icefields Parkway in Alberta, and Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan are some of the finest routes you can take for your next road trip within Canada.

3.   United Kingdom (UK)

In the UK, you can drive across England, Scotland, and Wales with your Indian driving licence for a full year. However, the vehicle you drive plays an important part in the UK. The country allows drivers with an Indian DL permit to drive only a certain class of vehicles..

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - UK

Land of the Lakes in Lake District, Snowdonia to Anglesey, and North York Moors National Park make for the perfect road trip destinations in the UK.

4.   Switzerland

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - Switzerland

When one of the most beautiful countries in the world calls, you can definitely go with an Indian driving licence. In Switzerland, you can rent a vehicle and drive with an Indian DL for one year as long as the license is in English.

Drives from Kandersteg to Zermatt, Montreux to Geneva, and Davos to Stelvio are incredibly beautiful. So, do add them to your road trip list if you have not already.

5.   Germany

With an Indian driving license, you can drive for six months in Germany. Note that Germany follows right-hand-side driving, unlike India. It is also suggested that you carry a German-translated copy of your license and an IDP, just to be safe.

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - Germany

The Romantic Road in Romantische Strasse, Castle Route in Burgenstrasse, and Wine Route in Weinstrasse offer a unique road-tripping experience in Germany.

6.   Australia

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - Australia

Australia is another left-drive country that permits an Indian driving licence. For three months, you can drive through Queensland, Southern Australia, the Australian Capital Region, Northern Region, and New South Wales.

Undeniably, the Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, and Daintree Rainforests of Australia are the finest regions for a road trip.

7.   South Africa

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - South Africa

The ideal country to visit for wildlife enthusiasts, South Africa permits driving on an Indian driving licence as long as the license is in English and features both your photograph and signature.

The Garden Route in Western Cape, Wild Coast in Eastern Cape, and Waterberg Meander in Limpopo are some fine roads to explore on a road trip in SA.

8.   New Zealand

driving abroad with Indian driving licence - New Zealand

Individuals who are above 21 years of age and have an Indian driving license can drive in New Zealand for up to 1 year. If your license is not in English, you will need to get it approved by the NZ transport agency before you start driving in the country.

The Milford road, Thermal Explorer Highway with Tongariro, and Auckland & Bay of Islands are some of the finest routes not just in New Zealand but all over the world. Are you eyeing them yet?

Other countries that accept the Indian driving license include Malaysia, France, Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, and Finland, among others. However, each country may have special driving rules and permits, so do check for them before you plan a trip.

What About Countries Where You Cannot Drive with An Indian Driving Licence?

Going to a country that is not listed above? It is likely that your country of choice needs a different driving permit. In all other countries, you will need an International Driving License or Permit (IDP) to drive across the country’s wonderful landscapes. 

International Indian driving licence
User:Omshivaprakash, CC BY-SA 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And if you already have an Indian Driving License, you can apply for an IDP before your trip. Just a few weeks in advance, go to your local RTO and follow the instructions given below to get your IDP well in time for your international holiday or road trip. 

How To Get an International Driving Licence?

As listed above, the Indian driving license is accepted in several countries across the globe. For many other countries, you will need an International Driving License or Permit (IDP) by showing the following documents: 

  • A valid Indian driving licence
  • A valid visa from the country where you wish to drive a vehicle
  • A valid Indian Passport
  • A purchased and verified air ticket to the country

Apply for an International Driving Licence with these four steps:

  1. Go to your local RTO and fill the Form 4-A.
  2. Pay the IDP fee of ~INR 1,000.
  3. Attach copies of all the documents listed above.
  4. Once the first three steps are done, wait for the IDP to be sent to you by post at your registered residential address.

This is pretty much all you need to know about driving in foreign countries with an Indian driving license or an International Driving Permit. Just make sure that you drive safely, follow the country’s driving rules and etiquette, and carry all the required documents to have a smooth and fun-filled road trip. Happy holidays!

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