International Driving Permit Brazil

International Driving Permit Brazil

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 Brazil?

The country of Brazil has entered into International Agreements on Road Traffic. Hence, foreigners visiting Brazil can drive vehicles in the country if they hold a valid international driver’s license.

The country’s traffic laws are apparent that no one can drive any vehicle unless they hold a valid driver’s license, which ensures that its holder is competent and eligible to drive vehicles.

What Do You Need To Apply for an IDP in Brazil?

If you are planning to visit Brazil and intend to drive a car there, you must have a valid IDP before arriving in the country. Despite being of utmost importance, the process to acquire an IDP is neither lengthy nor cumbersome; instead, you only have to submit the following documents for an international license:

  • Complete particulars of a valid license issued by your country/state
  • Scanned images of your local license
  • Passport size photographs
  • Payment of fee

The process for issuance of a Digital International driver’s license takes only two hours after the submission of the above documents. After the said duration, a digital IDP is delivered vide email. However, if you need your Digital IDP within twenty minutes, you can use the option of “Express Order.”

Unlike a Digital IDP, a printed license takes a bit more time than a printed international driver’s permit is delivered by post using the postal method selected by the applicant. The said delivery process may take two to thirty working days.

United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic

The Brazilian Government ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, 1968, on October 29, 1980. Not only the Vienna Convention, but Brazil is also a contracting party to the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic, 1943. The purpose of both international conventions is to ensure the applicability of uniform traffic rules and regulations in the global world and to ensure the safety of travelers.

Keeping in view the above objectives, the international conventions on road traffic bind all the contracting countries to devise and implement proper procedures for issuing driving licenses in the country while ensuring theoretical and practical courses of driving. This is in an attempt to at clearing the appropriate tests before issuance of a driving license, implementation of heavy fines on traffic violations, and last but not least, to accept valid IDPs as a legal document confirming that its holder is competent and eligible to drive vehicles.

All the above rules and regulations settled under both the conventions apply to Brazil, and the relevant authorities of the country are bound to take necessary measures in this regard.

Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Brazil

A domestic driver’s license makes its holder eligible to drive vehicles within the territorial boundaries of a country/state wherein such license is issued. However, an International Driving Permit allows the license holder to drive vehicles in foreign countries. In addition, carrying an IDP while exploring Brazil has the following benefits.

Legal Document

An international driving permit recognized by one hundred and fifty (150) countries is a legal document that derives its strength from international laws and makes its holder eligible to drive vehicles in a foreign country during the validity period of such permit.

Evidence of Your Domestic License

No one can apply for an international driver’s license unless and until they have held a valid domestic driver’s license for one year. Hence, if someone has a valid IDP with them, it is sufficient evidence of the fact that he has a valid domestic license as well.

Valid Identity Document in a Foreign Country

International Driving Permits hold all the relevant information required to prove an individual’s identity in twelve international languages. The information printed on an IDP includes the complete name, passport size picture, nationality, and identification number of its holder. Hence, an IDP serves as a valid identity document in Brazil; generally, no further identity document is required by the police from the holder of an IDP.

Eligible to Rent a Car

If a foreigner intends to hire a vehicle for rent in a foreign country, they must present a valid international driver’s license before the car rental companies. Hence, having an IDP makes its holder eligible to rent vehicles.

Peace of Mind

Life comes with uncertain situations, and the risk of such cases increases in a foreign country as the tourists are in an unfamiliar territory outside their comfort zone. If they hold a valid IDP during their international visit, they can easily drive vehicles whenever they want without the fear of breaking the country’s traffic laws. This fact gives them peace of mind during their trip.

Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Brazil

Per traffic laws of the country, non-citizens of Brazil are not eligible to drive vehicles in the country unless they either have a valid international driving license or they have acquired a Brazilian license. However, after the expiry of the validity period of an IDP, getting a Brazilian license is mandatory for anyone who wants to drive in Brazil.

When should I get a Brazilian Driver’s License?

Foreigners visiting Brazil can drive in the country based on their valid IDP during its validity period. However, they can also apply for a Full Brazilian Driving License if they are legal residents. Brazilian State Transport Department is the relevant authority that deals with all the matters pertaining to driving licenses. An individual can either apply for a Brazilian license directly or through his representative. Documents required for the issuance of a Brazilian license are:

  • A foreigner’s identity card (original as well as one copy)
  • An individual Taxpayers’ Card (original as well as a copy)
  • Proof of address in Brazil
  • Original driver’s license

Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Brazil

An international driver’s permit does not have an independent status. Rather, its validity depends on the local license, translated into the world’s twelve most widely spoken languages. Hence, if the local license, translated at the time of issuance of IDP, expires before the expiry date of an IDP, it makes the IDP invalid with immediate effect.

Keeping in view the above fact, while planning an international visit, don’t ignore the validity period of your local license. However, if your local license expires during your visit to Brazil, contact the relevant authority of your country, which issued your domestic driving license, through a website, mobile application, or UAN, as the case may be. You will be required by the authority to submit a few documents along with a renewal fee, and your local license shall be renewed accordingly.

Car Rental in Brazil

Several car rental agencies are working in Brazil, allowing you to have the best vehicle per your needs and budget easily. However, to get economical prices while renting the vehicles, the best option is to book your vehicle before you arrive in the country, as it will save you from any further eleventh-hour hassle. Always remember that off-airport car rental locations offer cheaper rates than airport rental agencies.

The minimum age to hire a vehicle for rent in Brazil is twenty-one years. The individual who wants to hire a car must have a valid driver’s license for two years before hiring the vehicle. Most car rental agencies require the following documents while renting a vehicle to a foreigner:-

  • A valid international driving license
  • Copy of identity document in the form of ID card or passport
  • Credit Card
  • Contact information
  • Security deposit

The car rental agencies in Brazil also offer different insurance coverage plans covering accidental insurance etc. Go through all the relevant documents in detail before finalizing any agreement.

Driving and Safety in Brazil

Brazil is a pretty safe country in terms of law and order and road safety. However, major traffic rules and regulations implemented in the country are given below for ready reference:-

Documents to carry while driving

While driving in Brazil, the driver is required to keep certain documents in his possession at all times. The required documents include a valid driving license, a local license for Brazilian citizens and an IDP in case of foreigners, vehicle registration documents, and vehicle insurance details.

Minimum Age to Drive

Brazilian traffic laws allow an individual above the age of eighteen years to apply for a driving license, and consequently, they are eligible to drive in the country. However, in some regions, including San Paulo, the minimum legal age to drive is twenty-one years.

Speed Limits

Heavy fines are imposed on violations of the speed limit. Hence, be careful while driving your car and keep the speed within limits. The allowed speed limit ranges from 50 KPH to 90 KPH within cities and from 100 KPH to 110 KPH on highways.

Driving under the influence

Strict laws are applicable in Brazil regarding drinking and driving. The allowed level of alcohol content in the blood is 0.04 milligram. You may have to pay hefty fines if caught drunk driving in Brazil.

Drive on the right side

In Brazil, vehicles are driven on the right-hand side of the road, and steering wheels are on the left-hand side. Illegal overtaking is strictly prohibited and a serious offense in Brazil. While entering a roundabout, the preferred right of way shall be available to the cars which have already entered the roundabout.

Rush hours

In the major cities of Brazil, you may have to face heavy traffic during rush hours. Hence, plan your daily trips considering the rush hour, i.e., 6 PM on working days.

Use of mobile phones

The use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited while driving and traffic laws of the country are so strict in this regard that even if the vehicle is stuck in a traffic jam, the driver cannot hold the mobile phone in his hand as this may attract heavy fines. However, the use of hands-free devices is allowed.

Seat belts

Use of seat belts is mandatory for all the passengers of cars at all times, including the driver. Children below the age of ten must be properly seated with the child restraint, and if children above the age of ten cannot use adult seat belts, proper safety seats/constraints are also a must for them.

Emergency Numbers

If you are stuck in any unfortunate situation, park your car on the side of the road without restraining anyone’s right of way and contact the relevant emergency helpline. The helpline for Federal Police is 191, for Ambulance 192, and for Fire Brigade is 193.

Parking in Brazil

While parking your vehicle in Brazil, make sure to park your car at the general stop and never in the spaces reserved for elderly or disabled persons. Further, remember that you can park your vehicle on white lines on the streets, while parking is prohibited on yellow lines. When in doubt, choose specified parking areas/garages to park your car after payment of the required parking fee.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Brazil

The complete name of Brazil is “The Federative Republic of Brazil,” the fifth largest country in the world, the two-thirds population of which lives near the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. The country is generally divided into four main zones: the Guiana Highlands, the Amazon Basin, the Brazilian Plateau, and the River Plate estuary. Brasília is the country’s capital, with the Brazilian Real as the official currency. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, as well as Brazilian Sign Language. The country is famous for its beaches, rainforests, and diverse cities. During your visit to the country, you may like to visit the following locations.

Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu river drops in the shape of a vast number of waterfalls, i.e., 247 waterfalls to be exact, at the location where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet. The waterfalls have different heights; some are 100 meters high, and some are so huge that it is impossible to see all 247 waterfalls at once from any single point. However, Catwalks, towers, and bridges are built to enjoy this mesmerizing view, providing viewers with different perspectives. One of the bridges built at the location leads you to the largest waterfall, which is known as the Garganta do Diabo (Devil’s Throat). Another interesting fact about the Iguaçu Falls is that they are recognized and protected by the UNESCO-acclaimed Iguaçu National Park, where more than 1,000 species of birds and mammals share subtropical rainforests as their home.

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro

Who doesn’t like a colorful and cheerful Carnival? Rio’s pre-Lenten Carnaval (Carnival) is extraordinarily famous and one of its kind for its color, sound, action, and vitality. It is not an average carnival but a unique one, including parades of competing samba dancers conducted in a specially built stadium designed by Oscar Niemeyer, Brazil’s best-known architect. However, these parades are not the only attraction of the carnival – you will have a lot of other things to enjoy, including carnival ball, block party, samba at Samba Land, relaxation on the beach, etc.

Amazon Rainforests

The waters of Rio Solimões meet Rio Negro waters as the Amazon, about 20 kilometers southeast of Manaus. The point where these waters meet is known as “Encontro das Aguas,” which tourists can reach along road trips. Some road trips take the visitors to the deep rainforests, where three rivers form a network of rivers, channels, and lakes. In the amazon rainforests, the visitors can see several species of animals and birds, including monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, caimans, turtles, etc. A huge attraction in Amazon rainforests is the lake covered with giant water-lilies, which is a unique view.

Brasília’s Modernist Architecture

Brasília is Brazil’s capital city, which was established to replace the country’s old capital Rio de Janeiro in 1960. This city is designed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer and is world famous for its amazing architecture. The most famous locations in the city are the presidential palace, supreme court, congress buildings, Historical Museum, and the Panteão da Liberdade (Pantheon of Freedom). Due to its unique architecture, Brasília is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage city.


Suppose you are someone who likes to explore some underrated yet beautiful locations. In that case, Curitiba is the right choice as it is away from the enticing coastline and does not have a spicy nightlife like other major cities in the country. However, Curitiba’s city has rich art, nature, and world-class urban planning. The city is also famous for its exceptional and sustainable recycling practices with the lowest crime rates making it safe for travelers.


Can I drive a vehicle in Brazil without an IDP?

Foreigners can only drive legally in Brazil if they have a certified translation of their local license in Portuguese. Hence, a valid International Driving Permit is a must-honored by the government agency.

Does an IDP replace your local driver’s license in Brazil?

No, an international driver’s license can never replace your local driver’s license as the basic document always remains to be your domestic license issued by your country/state. An IDP is only the translation document to break the language barriers.

What is the legal driving age in Brazil?

Brazilian authorities have prescribed a minimum of eighteen years as the legal age limit to drive in the country. However, the limit is twenty-one (21) years in some regions.

Do car rental agencies require IDP in Brazil?

Yes, submission of a valid IDP is mandatory for foreigners renting a vehicle in Brazil; they cannot hire any vehicle without it.

What is the allowed Alcohol Limit in Brazil for drivers?

Brazil has implemented strict laws on drunk driving. The maximum allowed alcohol content in the blood is 0.04 milligrams, and drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol have to face serious consequences, including hefty fines.

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