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 do International Driving Permits / International Driver’s Licence work in Antigua?
Regardless of a tourist’s nationality, an IDP is highly recommended for any international driver intending to drive in Antigua. Tourists must also obtain an Antigua temporary driving permit, valid for six months.
It is important to remember that an IDP is not a valid license on its own and must be accompanied by a driver’s license from your home country at all times.
An International Driving License is not a legally accepted license in Antigua.
What is an Antigua temporary driving permit?
An Antigua temporary driving permit is a local license that allows tourists to drive in Antigua for up to 6 months. To get this permit, tourists will have to have their driving license, and in the case of your license not presented in English, an IDP will then be mandatory.
Usually, drivers can get a temporary driving permit from any car rental agency, as long as they have either an English-written driver’s license or a driver’s license and an IDP.
Applying for an International Driving Permit
The application process for getting an IDP is fast and convenient, and any person with a valid driver’s license can obtain an IDP online through our website – “insert website link.” While applying for an IDP, the applicant must fill out an application form and submit the required documents to apply for IDP legally. The following documents will be requested:
- A domestic driver’s license
- Valid application form
- Id – passport
- Debit/ credit card
How much does an IDP cost?
Our website offers an affordable way of getting an IDP for your travels! $49 per year will secure an IDP for as long as needed.
How long does it take to get an IDP?
The time it will take for an IDP to arrive will largely depend on where a person obtains it. Once a person has sent in the correct documents and completed the application form, a digital IDP will be sent from us to your email within 2 hours. Choosing a standard delivery method will have your physical IDP arrive between 2 and 30 days.
Our website offers an express service for an added fee for anyone in a hurry to get their IDP sorted. Choosing an express service from our website means a digital IDP will arrive by email within 20 minutes. We also offer express shipping, meaning a physical IDP will come to your address within 2 – 14 days.
Make sure to have all of the relevant documents sent in and all information on the application form is correct, as this will avoid us having to request documents or send back the application form.
United Nations agreement on road traffic
Being able to drive in foreign countries was made possible by the UN Road Traffic agreements, which saw three automotive conventions in Geneva in 1926, followed by Paris in 1949, and the last UN automotive convention in Vienna in 1968.
These automotive conventions took place between UN countries to implement the usage of IDPs around the world in countries that accepted them. It also sets out the legalities for obtaining and supplying IDPs. One of the main benefits that came from these agreements was the authorization of allowing other automotive organizations to issue IDPs on behalf of a country’s government.
Benefits Of Carrying An IDP In Antigua
The most obvious benefit of carrying an IDP in Antigua is its legal requirement to do so if the driver’s home license is not presented in English. International drivers are also required to get an Antigua temporary driving permit.
International Form of Identification
A little-known perk of carrying an International Driver’s Permit in any foreign country you visit is its ability to act as a form translation document of Identification. Since it contains identification information such as the holder’s name, picture, and driver information, translated into different languages, it functions perfectly in countries with a language barrier.
Rental car companies
Car rental agencies will also request that any person who wants to rent a car while driving abroad must have an IDP present, which also applies to Antigua. Other documents are also required when renting a vehicle from car rental companies.
Driving Requirements For Non-Citizens
Short-term visitors vs. long-term stay
Short-term visitors traveling in Antigua can drive with an IDP and a temporary driver’s permit for up to 6 months.
Any person intending on staying in this country longer than that will need to switch their license to an Antigua Driver’s License.
When Do I Need To Get A Driver’s License in Antigua
After driving in Antigua for six months, an international driver will then need to obtain a valid driver’s license for Antigua.
Renewing your IDP or Driving license in Antigua
An IDP can not be renewed to continue driving in Antigua once the six months are up. However, if a driver intends on renewing an IDP from Antigua to go to another country, contact your IDP issuer to have it replaced.
A driver may need to renew their home country’s driver’s license if they intend to switch to a local license. To do this, the driver will need to contact the licensing office of their home country and may have to send back the expired license for renewal.
Vehicle Rental In Antigua
Other tourists highly recommend renting a car while visiting Antigua. While public transport is available by private and public buses, it is limited in where and how often it runs. Any international tourist who wants a natural feel for all the beauty available in Antigua should explore it by car.
As with any foreign country, shop around online and reserve a car before arriving if possible. This will save any disappointment on the day if there isn’t a suitable rental car. It will also help cut costs, as shopping around at different companies will help a person find a good deal.
Renting vehicles in Antigua
Car rental agencies are readily available in Antigua as it is already a tourist hotspot. Some big-name rental car agencies are based here, such as Hertz, Ace, and budget, and local car rental companies are also available.
Most of the time, vehicles can be collected from the main cities or the airport, making it super easy to drop off and organize a car during your trip.
The minimum driving age in Antigua is 18, but it is against the law for a car rental company to rent a car to any person under 25. Antigua law states that car hire companies must verify a driver’s age before allowing them to rent a car.
A car hire company will request all international drivers bring relevant documentation when intending to rent a vehicle. The following documents will be asked for, and failure to provide them will result in international drivers being unable to obtain a rental car during a visit:
- Domestic driver’s license
- International Driver’s Permit
- Antigua temporary driver’s permit
- A valid form of ID, such as a passport
- Debit/credit card for payment
Vehicle rental costs
The cost of renting a car in Antigua is relatively low, and prices fluctuate depending on the size and type of car required, any add-ons such as car seats, wifi or GPS, and any insurance required on the vehicle.
In general, small basic cars can range from as low as $12 per day to around $90 per day, depending on the abovementioned factors.
In Antigua, a minimum insurance cover for Third-party fire and theft is required on all vehicles, including rental cars. Local police enforce this law, and failing to provide adequate insurance can cause fines or driving bans.
Vehicle rental companies often require international drivers to purchase additional insurance, but this varies depending on the company.
Hire car driving tips
- Antigua also has a law that makes it mandatory for international drivers to carry a temporary driving permit issued by Antigua. Vehicle rental companies can often help tourists get this, so ask the company about this on arrival.
- Before accepting a rental vehicle, ensure everything is in good working condition, and the chosen car is adequate for any needs you have during the trip.
- It is also essential that a driver inspects both the inside and outside of the vehicle and makes a note of any damages. Informing the company of previous damages will stop the current driver from being liable.
Driving And Safety In Antigua
Driving in Antigua is generally considered acceptable, especially on major roads inside the cities. But before taking off on a road trip, international drivers are urged to familiarize themselves with the local driving rules and traffic laws.
Driving outside cities can pose more hazards, especially for inexperienced drivers. Roads in rural areas are often unpaved and unmarked, poorly lit with little to no signage. Sharp corners and local driver’s not always indicating can also pose a risk, so drive with caution.
Antigua is considered one of the safest countries in the Bahamas, with a low crime rate. When visiting any country, tourists should always exercise caution by not carrying large amounts of money or jewelry, sticking to main streets and roads at night, and locking car and house doors.
Road rules in Antigua
Tourists should always stick to local traffic rules and laws even if local drivers are not. Being unfamiliar with the roads can cause accidents to happen, and local police will not take kindly to tourists disobeying the rules.
Before heading off to drive vehicles around Antigua, there are some essential things to be aware of:
- Vehicles in Antigua drive on the left side of the road
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited
- The speed limit in urban areas is 20km/h, and driving in rural areas, a speed limit of 40km/h
- All passengers in a car must wear a seat belt
- Carry with your passport, IDP, and license in case of any traffic police stops
Top 4 Places to Visit in Antigua
Antigua is an island in the Caribbean, close to Barbados, with a shoreline that the Caribbean Ocean almost exclusively hugs. Antigua is a secret paradise known for its stunning beaches, warm crystal waters, rainforests, and famous resorts.
Antigua is the perfect isle of paradise for anyone wishing to visit the Caribbean but doesn’t want to get stuck into the tourist overload in Barbados during tourist season.
Similar to the rest of the Caribbean countries, Antigua has a tropical savanna climate. This climate consists of two seasons, one being warm and rainy and one being mild and dry. The drier climate begins around mid-January until June!
Antigua and Barbuda
Barbuda is a smaller island close to Antigua, and these two islands are often called sisters. Getting over to see this sister island is very easy, with regular ferries running from Antigua, and only takes about 90 minutes. A very popular day trip, Barbuda is known for its pink sand beach and bird sanctuary.
St Johns is the capital city of Antigua and has rows of candy-colored cottages and markets set up around the port. St Johns is a city with natural history to keep you entertained during the day and a booming nightlife to enjoy in the evening.
The famous Neo-Baroque towers of St. Johns Catherdal look down at the city or head to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda to learn about the sugar plantations and the enslaved people who built them.
Devils Bridge is located in the Indian Town National Park. A stunning natural limestone piece juts out over the waters, carved over the years by the pounding water, known as Devil’s bridge.
There is plenty more to do in the park, with hikes and loads of bird watching. An Arawak campsite is believed to be located at the Eastern end of the park.
Half Moon Bay
A trip to the Caribbean cannot be complete without a beach trip. Half Moon Bay is one of the Caribbean’s best and most popular beaches. Famous for the reef that protects it, idyllic sand and waters, snorkeling on a calm day is a popular tourist activity.
What should I do if I lose my International Driving Permit in Antigua?
If you lose your IDP in Antigua and your driver’s license is not written in English, you cannot legally drive until it is replaced. If your driver’s license is in English, you can drive with your license and temporary permit until a replacement has arrived.
Contact your IDP issuer as soon as possible, and a replacement will be sent to your address!
Is it safe to drive during the rainy season in Antigua?
The rainy season in Antigua can bring heavy rainfalls from July to December, and often rural roads can become muddy and difficult to drive. Driving on main roads in the rainy season shouldn’t pose too much difficulty, but like anytime when driving in heavy rain, exercise caution.
Are police stops typical in Antigua?
Police patrol the roads to enforce safe driving, so if you are seen breaking the rules, you may be pulled over by police. Always stay calm and respectfully ask what you have done. You must carry all your documents, such as your driver’s license, IDP, temporary driver’s permit, passport, visa, rental documents, and proof of insurance.