What is an International Driving Permit or License?
An International Driving Permit or International Driver’s licence is a valid driving licence duly translated into the twelve most commonly used languages in the world including but not limited to English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, German and French.
An International Driving Permit is a legal document that is supported by international conventions on road traffic and safety. Holders of valid IDPs are eligible to drive vehicles within the territorial boundaries of foreign countries i.e. outside the boundaries of their country/state. A total of one hundred and fifty countries (150) in the world are contracting parties to international conventions on road safety and accept IDPs as valid driving license.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
The short answer to this question is that there is no difference between International Driving Permit (IDP) and International Driver’s License (IDL). Both terms mean the same document i.e. a translated version of a domestic license. However, an IDP does not have any independent legal status as a license, rather its validity depends on the local license. Further, an IDP permits its holder to drive in foreign countries for a limited period. Hence, the term IDP is considered more appropriate keeping in view the nature of the document.
How does an IDP work in Norway?
The rules regarding IDP in Norway are different for citizens of different countries. For example, the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) citizens do not need an IDP to drive in Norway. Rather, their local license is sufficient to make them eligible to drive in Norway, whether they are staying in the country for a temporary period or are staying there permanently. In addition to this, the citizens of EEA and the EU can also exchange their local license for a Norwegian driving licence without any tests. In such a case, the previous local license loses its status and a Norwegian driving licence becomes valid in all EEA and EU countries.
The citizens of the United States of America having a valid local license are also eligible to drive in Norway for three months without having an international driving license. However, after the expiry of three months, an IDP is also a must for US citizens.
What Do You Need To Apply for an IDP in Norway?
The process of applying for an IDP is very simple for all countries including Norway. The applicants are required to submit the following documents to apply for an IDP:-
Complete details of a valid local driving license
Scanned images of domestic driving license
Passport size photographs
Payment of fee amounting to $49
A Digital International Driver’s License is issued within two hours of submission of the above documents as it is delivered to the email ID of the applicant. However, if the applicant selects the option of “Express Order” a Digital IDL can be sent via email within twenty minutes only.
As regards the issuance of a printed IDP, the process takes a little longer. At the time of submission of application for IDP, applicants select their preferred mode of delivery, through which printed IDP is to be sent at the postal address provided by the applicant. The delivery period ranges from two to thirty working days depending on the mode selected by the applicant.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic:-
Certain international conventions deal with uniform rules and regulations pertaining to road traffic and safety applicable to contracting parties to the conventions. The government of Norway is a contracting party to two such conventions i.e. Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, 1968 (The country ratified the convention on April 01, 1985) and the Geneva Convention, 1949. Some of the rules applicable to contracting countries to the above conventions are as under:-
To devise and implement appropriate laws to ensure road safety.
To design theoretical and practical driving courses as per international standards and attending these courses should be mandatory for all applicants for a driving license.
To ensure that all applicants clear theoretical as well as practical driving tests before issuance of a driving license.
To implement appropriate procedures for the issuance of driving licences.
To accept International driving licences as valid driving licences.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Norway:-
Carrying an international driving licence comes with multiple benefits the most obvious of which is that it allows its holder to drive vehicles in foreign countries during the validity period of their local licence. Some of the other benefits of carrying an IDP are given below for reference:-
An international driving license, being supported by international agreements, is a valid legal document which is accepted by more than one hundred and fifty (150) countries in the world.
Evidence of Your Domestic License:-
The holder of an international driving licence does not need any other document to prove their claim that they hold a valid domestic driving license issued by their country as and IDP is a sufficient evidence of this fact.
Valid Identity Document in a Foreign Country:-
An international driving licence contains all the relevant particulars which are required to prove an individual’s identity in twelve most commonly used languages in the world. Due to this fact, an IDP serves as a valid identity document in foreign countries.
Eligible to Rent a Car:-
Car rental agencies working in Norway require valid proof of identity while renting vehicles to foreigners. An International driving licence serves that purpose. Further, it proves the fact that its holder is eligible to drive vehicles in their country/state.
Peace of Mind:-
While traveling in a foreign country, the peace of mind of the traveler is very important. An international driving license gives its holder peace of mind as it gives them confidence that they are eligible to drive vehicles in a foreign land without violating any laws of the country.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Norway:-
Unlike most countries, the country of Norway allows foreigners to drive in the country without even having an international drivers licence. However, this option is not available to everyone. Only the citizens of a few countries are eligible to avail this option including US citizens who are legally allowed to drive in Norway, on the basis of their foreign driving licence for a period of three months, without having an IDP. Further, the citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union (EU) do not need an international drivers licence to drive in Norway.
However, for the citizens of other countries, having a valid international driving licence is mandatory, as Norwegian laws do not allow them to drive in the country without having a valid IDP.
When should I get a Norwegian Driving License?
Citizens of some countries can exchange their licence for a Norwegian one upon passing a practical driving test, but this must be done within one year of relocation. These countries are Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, South Korea, and the USA.
Read more: Winter driving in Norway
If you miss the deadline, you must take mandatory training and pass both a theory test and a practical test. The exchange must be completed within two years, at the latest, of acquiring a permanent address in Norway.
For everyone else, you have to obtain a Norwegian driving licence in the same way as any first-time Norwegian applicant.
You will be able to skip some of the basic training, but you must still complete the compulsory elements such as night driving instruction, first aid, and accident training, along with passing the theory and practical tests.