An International Driver’s Permit for When You Travel

The journey will be more excited when u can legally drive at others country!  Photo: Bruce Mars via

The journey will be more excited when u can legally drive at others country!

Photo: Bruce Mars via

When you travel overseas, be it for work, leisure, or even to visit family and friends, what is your preferred choice of transportation?

For most, the methods of transportation that are considered acceptable are public transportation options such as busses, taxis, and trains. In this day and age however, the prevalence of ridesharing apps like Uber and Grab have grown to become another acceptable option for getting around your holiday destination.

While those options are affordable, easy-to-use and most importantly readily available, some travellers still prefer to self-drive. It’s not uncommon to hear of people’s travel plans that include flying into the destination country by plane, and then renting a car or caravan and then going on a long road trip exploring the country. Sounds like a quite an adventure, doesn’t it?

Self-driving allows for a greater degree of independence and control over your movements, which is great, but it begs the question, “How do I drive without a local driving license?”.

This is a key question to ask yourself, especially before you decide to approach a car rental company to choose your vehicle. Odds are, they’ll require a valid driving license from you before they can let you use one of their motor vehicles.

Here’s the thing: A Malaysian driving license can still be used overseas to operate a motor vehicle. However, regulations differ from country to country, so you’ll have to do your own research. If travelling and self-driving is something you do more often than most people, than perhaps what you need is an International Driver’s Permit or IDP.

Based on the Convention of Road Traffic of the 19th of September 1949 (sometimes referred to as one of the Geneva Conventions), countries that have agreed to this convention are allowed to issue a standardized document that translates important information of the individual’s driving license from the local language to English. This includes the person’s name and key details that match details on the person’s local driving license.

The IDP, however, is only valid if it is used alongside a valid local driving license as well; so make sure your local license is still good to go!

As an added benefit, seeing as how the IDP is an international document regulated under the United Nations with all of your key information displayed on it, it can also act as another valid form of photo ID. So even in a worst-case scenario where you’ve lost your passport and other identification, the IDP can act as a way to identify yourself to the authorities if the need arises.

Depending on the country you’re in, the IDP is issued by different bodies, but only the ones that are recognized by local authorities. In Malaysia specifically, the Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) is the issuing body for the International Driver’s Permit.

Getting your own permit doesn’t take long at all and can be done at any JPJ office. To apply for one, you’ll need a local driving licenses that’s valid for at least a year, originals or copies of your identification and a coloured passport-sized photograph. The IDP that you’ll receive on the spot will last you one year from that day.

So before you plan your next trip overseas, why not get an International Driving Permit and take your mobility into your own hands?