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Requests for International Driving Permits up 20% in three months

Eleanor Newis
Feb 5, 2019

The number of motorists who are requesting International Driving Permits (IDPs) has gone up by a fifth between September and December 2018, as Brits try to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

The AA said that the amount of applications they received increased by 19% over a four-month period in comparison to the previous year.

They also said that requests in January are already up by at least a quarter compared to usual.

However, the AA can no longer issue these permits. From 1st February 2019, drivers have had to get them from one of 2,500 issuing post offices instead.

On 28th March 2019, the type of IDP that some countries outside the EU and EEA allow will change. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK motorists might need an IDP as well as a valid UK driving licence to drive in EU and EEA countries.

It’s worth nothing that if you hold a UK driving licence then you shouldn’t need an IDP to drive in Ireland from 29th March 2019, as Ireland doesn’t require IDPs even if travellers are from non-EU countries — they just require a valid driving licence.

The permits have been available to get online and through the post from motoring groups like the AA and the RAC, but now drivers will only be able to apply for one in person in the post office. Only 89 are currently issuing them, though the planned number is 2,500.

Before this was changed, motoring organisations could post permits to people or drivers could download the documents online.

After February 1st, applications have had to wait in line instead. At the post office, you have to present your driving licence, a passport-sized photo signed on the back, and another form of proof of identity, such as your passport.

The fee for getting an IDP however remains the same at £5.50. The permits are valid for a year, and you can apply up to three months before the trip you need it for.

Companies need to fulfil the same requirements, meaning those with employees who drive overseas will need to queue alongside other customers.

This also means that those motorists who forget to order their IDP before they travel can’t be sent one whilst they are on holiday. They might be stopped by police and challenged because they don’t have a permit.

Drivers have therefore been making use of the online and postal applications while they still can — to avoid the hassle of queuing.

The AA has also warned that if there is a no-deal Brexit, UK motorists could be sent home as they try to cross the channel if they don’t have the right documentation. Drivers are becoming savvy to this and trying to organise themselves as soon as possible.

In some countries, failing to produce an IDP will land you a fine, and if you’re involved in an accident then your car insurance will be invalidated.

If you’re planning to drive in the EU after Brexit, now is the time to get organised. As well as making sure you have all the necessary documentation for driving, you should also make sure you have the right car insurance policy for your trip when you go abroad.

This could be increasingly important in the uncertain Brexit climate. Use a price comparison site like A Spokesman Said to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your vehicle, and that the policy covers all your needs.

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