What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Fiji?
Fiji accepts the International driving permit for foreign drivers who either intend to rent a vehicle or drive their car. The IDP is valid for a year from the date of issue, and you don’t need a local driver’s license. Also, IDP works as an identity for car rental companies and the government and can help rent apartments. This is because your IDP will have all the essential information from your driver’s license issued by your country’s local authorities.
Your IDP is valid in Fiji for one year from the date of issue. Also, you can avail of this document within three months of arrival or even before, and ensure the document is not older than three months from your arrival date. The government is very particular about this. As mentioned, IDP can also be used as an ID, keeping your sensitive documents like your original driver’s license and passport safe.
Moreover, since IDP has your essential information in multiple languages, you can travel through the police checkpoints (generally abroad) without worrying about hiccups. The officials can access your data, note it down quickly, and let you go. It can be beneficial in emergencies like accidents.
Applying for an IDP
You can avail yourself of an international driver’s permit by applying through our website. You need a copy of your national driving license, necessary details, and a recent passport photo as identity proof. You will receive your IDP for a minimal cost of $19. IDPs are made available to the client with instant support and quick service, with all the necessary information to facilitate your travel abroad.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
IDPs are issued through various organizations authorized by their governments, authenticated by the United Nations, and must comply with the UN road traffic conventions. Three international conventions govern international Driving Permits: the 1926 Paris International Convention on Motor Traffic, the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, and the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Many countries worldwide have become a part of these conventions and consider IDP a valid document. Fiji follows the 1949 Geneva convention, and therefore, the IDP is valid for a year from the date of issue.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Fiji
Functionality as an ID
You must always keep your passport and driver’s license when traveling in a foreign country. Apart from these documents, IDP can aid as your identification proof. It is considered to be a valid form of document as both identity verification and a driving permit. You can carry IDP and keep your passport and driver’s license secure. IDP already has all your information in multiple languages, making it perfect to use in a foreign country.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
The authorities in Fiji identify the driving licenses from English-speaking countries and consider them. But for, the drivers having a license that is non-English will need an International Driving Permit (IDP). In Fiji, there are police check-posts at specific intervals. So, if you have a license that the traffic department does not understand, it may create problems. Your time at the checkpoints may increase because of the verification procedure. So, getting an IDP helps in overcoming such an undesirable situation. It is a valid document authenticated and approved by the United Nations and contains all your information translated into widely spoken languages. So, the traffic police can quickly validate your identity, note your details, and better contact you in an emergency.
Car rental companies
IDP is a legally approved driver’s license for driving in foreign countries. If the information in your driving license is written in English, then you don’t require IDP to drive vehicles in Fiji. Car rental companies approve your overseas driver’s license. But if your license is not written in English, you must show your original driving license and your IDP to the car rental company for renting a car. So, if your license is non-English, apply for an IDP and obtain one before arriving to enjoy maximum time exploring Fiji with your family.
Laws requiring an IDP
Fiji has signed a UN road traffic treaty (Geneva, 1949) specifying that an IDP is required to drive across the nation. IDP is required and is valid for a year. The international driver’s permit is acceptable as identification documentation while renting a car and lodging. Remember that you cannot drive your vehicle once your International Driving Permit expires. You may be penalized for driving without a valid driver’s license if you don’t have a valid IDP. In this case, you may have to pay a hefty fine (more than $50), your vehicle may be seized, or you suffer jail time (all may apply too).
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Fiji
Short-term visitors vs. residents
The short-term visitors can very well drive around with a valid IDP. It will get through with renting a car from car rental companies and an apartment. The country follows the Geneva 1949 road traffic convention. If you plan on staying long or moving to the country, you should consider getting a Fiji driver’s license. It will cost you around $30, including a learner’s permit, guide books, and driving test.
When should I get a Driver’s License in Fiji?
Once your IDP has expired or is about to expire, consider getting a driver’s license. You can visit the https://www.lta.com.fj/ website for more details. The entire process of getting the license is pretty straightforward and relatively cheap, and driving without a valid Fiji driver’s license would lead to hefty fines of more than $50.
How to get a driver’s license in Fiji?
Fiji’s Land Transport Authority converts overseas driver’s licenses to Fiji driver’s licenses. However, this rule applies to countries where the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle and the vehicle is driven on the left side of the road. Fill out the application form online at LTA (https://www.lta.com.fj/licensing/convert-your-license/convert-overseas-drivers-license). You must have your original birth certificate or passport. If the birth certificate is unavailable, then any other Id card with the date of birth on it is considered. You need to carry only a translation letter if the primary language in your country is not English, an overseas driver’s license, and proof of tax identification number. Once your application is submitted and the Customer Service Officer (CSO) updates your application in the system, you need to pay the application fee of $ 4.74. Depending on the number of years of conversion, you need to pay $13.74 for one year, $40.28 for three years, and $80.57 for six years.
Car Rental in Fiji
Requirements for car rental
To rent a car, you must be 21 years or older and have owned your driver’s license for at least two years. If you are under 25 years old, you may incur a tariff as per the young driver regulation. When driving, you must always carry a valid driver’s license, registration, and insurance papers.
Deposit and cost for car rental
The most popular car rental agencies to book a rental car are Coastal cars ($42/day), Europcar ($58/day), and Hertz ($100/day). However, the average rental car cost is $80/per day and $563 per week. Economy cars like Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio are Fiji’s most booked rental cars. The deposits are usually in the range of 10% of the renting cost. You can try and convince the renting company to reduce this or bypass it by the tank-to-tank principle. You can offer to receive and return the car with a full tank.
Generally, a car rental company does not provide insurance with the rental package. If you have a credit card with car insurance, you can readily use it. Or else, you will have to insist on getting at least a third party insurance that shall cover the other party in case of an accident/mishap. To be safe, you can also procure liability and full coverage insurance if you consider using the vehicle for long or offroad trips.
Driving and Safety in Fiji
Driving regulations and code
You can avail yourself of the regulations, guidebook, or code for driving in Fiji from the Land Transport Authority. This will provide you with the rules and principles for driving safely. It is also available at the local driving schools, and you can get accustomed to various rules and regulations. Some things to keep in mind are:
- The maximum speed limit for residential areas is 50 km/h (31 mph), while the limit increases to 80 km/h (50 mph) outside residential and urban areas.
- The limit of alcohol while driving in Fiji is no more than 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- Driving is done on the left-hand side of the road.
- While driving a vehicle, eating or drinking is considered illegal in Fiji.
- Traffic duration increases during rush hour, so you should plan your trip accordingly.
- While traveling in rental cars, you should Park the car in well-lit, secure areas while sightseeing.
- Drive cautiously, especially at night, as you may expect a lot of people and even animals on the roads.
Top 3 destinations to visit in Fiji
The Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands
These are Fiji’s best Islands in the south pacific ocean, which lie off the western coast of Viti Levu and offer visitors various breathtaking sceneries and incredible natural beauty. You can experience the Blue Lagoon cruise at the cost of FJ $2425 per person for three nights, FJD 3,349 per person for four nights, and FJD 5,365 per person for seven nights. The price per person is FJ $ 1784. It is a private 68-passenger cruise that provides an option for different itineraries depending on the weather and local festivals. You can also explore the magnificent Sawa-I-Lau Caves, which were sculpted by wind and waves thousands of years ago, or spend your time lounging on the golden sands of pristine Champagne Beach.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Viti Levu
You can visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, less than 30 minutes by car from Nadi. The garden, once the private collection of the late actor Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame, is nestled in the dense foothills of the mountain peak. It is spread over 20 hectares of lawns and native forest with more than 2000 species of orchids. You can lounge on the Swings and hammocks and enjoy the peaceful valley of flowers. Following that, visiting this garden will be rewarding if you are a nature-loving person.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park was Fiji’s first national park, established to save the ecosystem of coastal dunes along the Sigatoka River. The dunes are thousands of years old and offer an astonishing view from the highest peaks. In the National Park, you can visit the archaeological sites to embrace the ancient Lapita artifacts and pottery, including one of the largest burial sites in the Pacific region.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, Nadi
The Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple dedicated to God Murugan is one of the top tourist attractions in Nadi. The largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere reflects the Dravidian architectural style. The temple is exceptionally colorful and has fascinating structures which attract many tourists. The impressive features of the temple were carved and painted by Indian artists. A visit to this temple is a must for anyone looking for religious experience and cultural and architectural diversity. However, follow the dress code(cover-up) and remove your shoes outside the temple during your visit. And also, note that photographs are not allowed once you enter the temple.
Do you need International Driver’s License (IDP) in Fiji?
We highly recommend it. While you don’t need an IDP in Fiji if your local driving license is in English, you require an IDP if the information in your overseas driving license is not in English.
How long will my international driving permit be valid in Fiji?
Three years from the date of issue.
On which side do you drive in Fiji?
Cars are driven on the left side of the road; the overtaking is done from the right side.
Is my overseas driving license valid in Fiji?
Yes. Your Overseas driving license is valid in Fiji if it contains driver information in English. However, suppose you have a driver’s license with left-hand driving. In that case, Fiji’s Land Transport Authority avails the conversion of overseas driver’s licenses to Fiji’s drivers’ licenses by translating them into English.