international driving permit canada

Are you planning to move from Ontario for work, touring, or studies and want to drive a motor vehicle? One crucial document you need to pack and carry along is your international driver’s license (IDL). This is an invaluable document that helps to present your driving skills in different languages to allow you to drive legally in different jurisdictions.

Though the international driver’s license is not mandatory in all countries, it is strongly recommended to have one when travelling to other destinations. The document (also referred to as an international driver’s permit) is meant to make your travelling easier and clear potential communication barriers when interacting with traffic/law enforcement officers in other countries.

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To enjoy driving abroad using an international driver’s license from Canada, the first step is to acquire one. This is a comprehensive IDL guide that will help you to answer key questions such as: “What is the process of getting a CAA international license? and “What are the associated benefits?”   

A Closer Look At The International Driving Permit

The international driving license is premised on the Convention on Road Traffic of 1968 and ratified by 72 Jurisdictions. It was amended in 1993, 2006, and recently in 2011. According to the 29th March 2011 amendment, the international driving license can only be issued by an approved authority in a country of origin.

In Canada, the issuing authority is the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). Note that it is only issued after an applicant successfully undergoes thorough theoretical and practical driving tests.

The international driving license is only valid when used in a jurisdiction that is a party to the Convention on Road Traffic. However, it cannot be used at home. For example, you cannot use the CAA international license in Toronto; it can be used in other jurisdictions such as the US.

Benefits Of Having An International Driving Permit

If you travel outside of Canada, your standard driving license might not be recognized under the new jurisdiction’s laws. However, your international driving permit from Canada (IDP) can be legally used to allow you to drive on its roads. Here are other benefits of getting an IDL from Canada.

  • The IDP helps you avoid going through the lengthy process of acquiring a temporary license when travelling to new jurisdictions. In some cases, a temporary license can take days, weeks, or months depending on the structures of the jurisdiction being visited.
  • It is a reliable way of cutting costs when travelling abroad. The CAA IDP allows you to hire a car and drive around instead of going for an expensive taxi or relying on public transport.
  • The IDP allows users to explore their target destination without limits. You do not have to cut the visit to a great destination because the time that the tour driver was contracted is over. Instead, the CAA IDP allows you to rent a car and be in full control of when and where to drive.

How To Get An International Driver’s License From Canadahow to get international drivers license in canada

In 2013, the State of Florida, USA, passed a resolution requiring all Canadians to have an International Driving Permit (IDP). Though the law was repealed and the Florida politicians also apologized to Canadians, it highlights the importance of having an IDP when travelling not just to the US but to the entire globe.

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The Process Of Acquiring an International Driving License In Canada

The role of issuing an international driving license in Canada rests on the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). The association does not simply list the requirements, but it also has a comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQ) page that answers most questions that travellers outside Canada might have about the IDL.

CAA has simplified the process of acquiring an IDL so much that you can walk into their office and get the permit in only 30 minutes.

  • Visit the CAA official website, print out the Canadian International Driving Permit Application Form and fill in all the required details correctly.
  • Take the duly filled-in form to the local CAA office in Ontario, along with a clear copy of your Canadian driving license. You also have to attach two passport-type photos.
  • Pay the permit fee of 25 Canadian dollars.
  • The international driving permit should be ready in about 30 minutes.

For Canadians living abroad, it is still possible to get an international driving permit. You need to visit the CAA website to download the application form, fill it out appropriately, and mail it to the local CAA office. You should also pay the permit fee of 25 Canadian dollars.

The local CAA office will process the international driving permit and send it to you. Therefore, you do not have to stay without an international driver’s license in Canada and miss all the associated benefits. The process is simple, direct, and fast.

Important Facts You Need To Know When Applying For An IDL

As you apply for an IDL, it is important to appreciate that it affirms the details captured on your Canadian driving license. Therefore, you must have successfully completed a driving course and been issued a driving license. Here are additional facts that you need to know about the IDL:

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  • The applicant must be above 18 years.
  • The IDL is valid for one year. You will be required to renew it after 12 months.
  • It is possible to have a family member apply for your license. However, he/she will need to provide all required documents for the permit plus a written authorization from you.
  • If you are already outside Canada and want the CAA office to send the IDL after processing, you have to cover the courier charges.


An international driving license from Canada has been demonstrated to be a crucial document to help you use your local driving license in a foreign jurisdiction. It allows you to rent a car and drive around in a foreign country for a holiday or work just like home. Whether in Ontario and planning to travel abroad or you are already in a foreign land, you need to get hold of this useful document.  

  • The Canadian Automobile (CAA) has made the process of applying for an IDL easy, fast, and convenient.
  • The IDL is accepted in about 130 countries across the globe.
  • The traffic officers can easily read about your qualification because the IDL is available in multiple languages.