What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driving 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.
On the other hand, 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 Austria?
The IDP certifies that you are the holder of a valid driver’s license in your country. You can only drive on Austrian roads if you have a valid driving license from your home country. You must also carry an International Driving Permit to be under the law. You may only use this for up to six months after arrival if you are from a state not in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA), and one year if you are from the EU or EEA.
How do you obtain the International Driving Permit in Austria?
You can apply online for an IDP through our website. A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your inbox. Alternatively, if you want a faster processing time, you can choose an Express Order, in which you will receive your IDP in 20 minutes.
A printed IDP can be delivered to your doorstep, with the estimated delivery date varying between 2-30 days, depending on the selected delivery method.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
International Driving Permits are issued through institutions authorized by the United Nations (UN), which comply with UN road traffic conventions. There have been three international motor traffic conventions – 1926 (Paris), 1949 (Geneva), and 1968 (Vienna).
Benefits of carrying an IDP in Austria
Functionality as an ID
IDPs are a convenient travel document as it doubles as identification documents. This is advantageous if you want to keep your passport under lock and key due to security considerations. An IDP can be used instead of a national ID card, especially if your national ID card is in a language that is not internationally used.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering your driver’s information on your license during a routine traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that officers can quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way. This may be especially handy during the unfortunate event of an emergency or motor misfortunes.
Car rental companies
Car rental companies worldwide require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is due to the United Nations recognizing an IDP as a valid driving permit. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Austria
Short-term visitors vs. residents
Short-term visitors will find the combination of their IDP and original license beneficial.
On the other hand, if your stay is long-term, the practical option is to get an Austrian driving license. If your driving license is issued by an EU or EEA country, you can exchange your license for a local one. The same rules apply to Austrian citizens who own a non-EEA license.
How to obtain an Austrian driver’s license
Possessors of driver’s licenses from other non-EEA countries need a medical certificate and must take a practical test for which a fee is charged. When swapping a non-EEA license, the authority will analyze if any facts militate against the issue of an Austrian license. Such an inquiry may take several weeks.
The non-EEA driving license is handed to the police. You can pick up the new driving license in credit card format at the authority or have it sent to you by post. The exchange costs approximately $60. If you exchange your license without a driving test, you will not be permitted to drive within this country until your new license is issued.
If you successfully passed one driving test during the exchange procedure, you will be issued a temporary driver’s license until your full Austrian one is available.
Unless you are still a valid license holder, you may have to take some additional exams to obtain another. The Austrian legal age to renew the license does not apply.
Car rental in Austria
Requirements for car rental
To lease a car in Austria, you must be at least 19 years old (age may vary by car classification) and have owned a driving license for over one year. Renting a car without an IDP is not allowed, and drivers under 25 may incur a young driver surcharge – somewhere between $7-$24 per day. Since an International Driving Permit is a legal document acknowledged by the UN, most international and domestic car rental companies recognize it as a valid driving permit. It may also save wholesome leisure time and unneeded delays when bargaining with rental companies.
All customers of auto rental companies are expected to pay a rental assurance, which will depend on the cost of the car you want to rent. You can be expected to pay $250 to $1,000 for the deposit. Care rentals are pretty low and come cheap, such as $4.00. However, you can expect to pay around $150 for a week. Some businesses might be willing to rent their cars on a debit card or cash basis, but most companies require the driver to pay using a credit card under their name.
With all this in mind, renting a car and enjoying leisure time and splendid views are the best dreams of every sightseer, particularly during summer when you can admire all the doozy nature. The low costs for renting vehicles are an advantage, for sure, if you consider visiting this place.
Rules of the Road
In Austria, traffic is required to drive on the right-hand side of the road, headlight must be on at all times, and trams traveling on the left have priority. The use of a horn in most cities in Austria is prohibited unless otherwise specified due to noise pollution. A few other things to remember are:
- The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per ml of blood (stricter than in the UK and US)
- The speed limit is 50 km/h for towns, 100km/h on expressways, and 130km/h on motorways
- All passengers in a car must wear a seat belt
Before you get to grips with driving in Austria, you’ll want to be sure that you know the traffic rules and get insured. Fortunately for ex-pats moving to Austria, there are plenty of car insurance policies to choose from, as well as other types of insurance, such as home/contents insurance, life insurance, and liability insurance.
The Insurance Association Austria regulates car insurance. If you wish to own a car there, you must buy third-party liability insurance before you hit the road to be under the law and for your safety. This covers damage caused to other people in a car accident. However, you will find that many companies that provide car financing in Austria will require more comprehensive insurance to approve the funding.
The annual crime rate in Austria is 22%, so it’s best to be wise and get travel insurance in addition to car insurance when traveling there. Things to take into consideration are:
- Unlimited medical expenses that cover hospital stays
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits if you have multiple stops within the country
- Coverage for damaged and lost baggage while traveling
- Rental car excess in an accident (this will cover expenses not covered by your car insurance)
- Dental insurance for emergencies
- Funeral costs in case of an extreme situation
Top 3 Places to Visit in Austria
Austria today still mirrors the wealthiness of its past glories as part of the Eu countries. Vienna has long been a beacon of classical music, architecture, and art. Salzburg was the motherland of Mozart and is home to many stunning establishments. And even though it’s a big part of what makes Austria genuinely excellent, this landlocked nation is much more than history and stunning architecture.
Elegant waltzes and Johann Strauss immediately come to mind when one thinks of Vienna, the capital of Austria and its largest city; the city still holds more than 200 balls each year. But the city also is known for other classical composers such as Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, and Schubert.
Most of the leading architectural sights are contained within a circular road that marks where walls once enclosed the ancient city.
The city’s musical culture is just as varied. Visitors can watch the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic perform at the awe-inspiring State Opera House or explore the new Vienna sound pioneered by local DJs in the city’s hottest nightclubs. From sausage and schnitzel to chocolate and cakes, culinary pleasures in Vienna are plentiful too.
Famous for its connection with the Sound of Music, the city of Salzburg is easily one of the best things to do in Austria for tourists. The Mirabell Palace Gardens is where you’ll want to see one of the filming locations for The Sound of Music. But there are also many other captivating places to visit in the Old Town. Salzburg is also famous for being the birthplace of the renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and you can see the house in which he was born, as well as the Mozart Residence where the family lived and a giant statue of the man.
Although it’s the second-largest city in Austria, Graz is a destination many travelers underestimate. But there’s plenty to see in this historic cultural hub in the country’s southeast. The most iconic landmark in Graz is its symbolic Uhrturm clock tower which watches over the city from Schlossberg, where you’ll find superb views out over the city. In the heart of the city is Graz’s UNESCO old town, full of Renaissance and Baroque architecture centering around Hauptplatz.
Other exciting attractions in the town include:
- The double spiral staircase in the Burg castle.
- The impressive collection inside the Styrian Armoury Museum.
- The Mausoleum of Emperor Ferdinand II is next to Graz Cathedral.
Then there’s the modern side of Graz which includes landmarks like the manufactured Murinsel Island and the bizarre Graz Art Museum, whose nickname is the ‘The Friendly Alien.’
Am I required to have an IDP to travel to Austria?
It is highly recommended. While some countries will accept a foreign license for some time, many require you to have an IDP to sit alongside your home country’s driving license.
On which side do you drive in Austria?
Motorists drive on the right side of the road in Austria.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Austria?
You cannot drive without an IDP if you have a foreign license, and an IDP has a translation of your license in 10 different languages.
Can you drive with a foreign license in Austria?
You can drive for six months with a foreign license in Austria as long as you have an IDP. If you have an EU or EEA driving license, you may drive for two years with an IDP.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Austria?
Yes, you may use your EU license for two years with an IDP.
How long will transferring my license to an Austrian license take?
Austria is highly efficient and can get an Austrian license within a week.
Do I need an IDP to drive in Austria?
International driver permits are needed if travelers travel in Austria using a car. This is the translation of your country’s driver’s license. An IDP is essential for avoiding delays during police checkpoints.
How do I get a driving Licence in Austria?
Many driving schools are available within Austria. The driver must apply to the driving school to obtain lessons. Getting a driving license is governed by the driving license office in whose district the driving school is located.