What is an International Driving Permit or License?
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 Egypt?
You can use your foreign driver’s license in Egypt for six months alongside your IDP, irrespective of the country you are coming from. International Driving Permits are valid for a year after the issue date in Egypt. You may also use your IDP as an identification document while traveling. If your driver’s license is in a foreign language, an IDP can be used as a translation of your license.
How do you apply for an IDP in Egypt?
You can apply for an International Driving Permit through our website.
How long will it take to receive an IDP in Egypt?
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.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Egypt
Functionality as an ID
If you have security concerns and want to keep your passport under lock and key, your IDP can serve as an identification document. Most countries will allow you to use your IDP instead of your national ID card during traffic stops. This is useful if your ID card is in a language not recognized by the country you have traveled to.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Due to language or formatting differences, some processing issues may arise when deciphering the information on your driving license. An IDP allows traffic authorities to identify your details quickly. This is especially useful during emergencies.
Car rental companies
Most car rental companies, irrespective of the country they operate in, require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is because the United Nations recognizes IDPs as valid driving permits. 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.
Laws requiring an IDP
You must carry an International Driving Permit in Egypt while driving if you possess a foreign driving license. As Egypt is contracted to the Geneva Convention on Motor Traffic of 1949, an IDP is valid for 12 months.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Egypt
Short-term visitors vs. residents
Unlike most countries, you are encouraged to visit Egypt with a tourist visa and can keep renewing the visa while staying in Egypt. This includes changing your visa status to a student or work visa without traveling outside the country. Suppose you are looking to relocate to Egypt temporarily or long-term. In this case, you can get a ‘Temporary Residence Visa,’ available in one, three, and five-year formats. Another temporary residence visa is available for people born in Egypt before the 29th of May, 1952, and people who have lived in Egypt for 20 years.
If you want to enjoy Egypt while traveling outside it every few months, you can make do with renewing your International Driving Permit each year. However, if you plan to live in Egypt long-term, it’s recommended to consider getting an Egyptian government-issued driver’s license. Foreigners who fulfill the requirements can smoothly get a driving license in Egypt.
How long can I drive with a foreign license?
You can only drive in Egypt for six months with a valid foreign driving license, and you must also carry an IDP, irrespective of your country.
When should I get an Egyptian Driver’s Licence?
As Egypt was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention of 1949, you can use an IDP for a year after its issue. As long as you have a valid driving license and an IDP, you can drive on Egyptian roads for six months after every entry on a visa.
You should get a national driver’s license once you get an Egyptian residency, and you may do this after attaining the age of 18. Ideally, one should consider getting an Egyptian residency if one decides to move to Egypt mid-to-long-term. The hassle during routine traffic stops and the extra bureaucracy when renewing your original license might not be worth hanging onto your country’s driving license.
How to get an Egyptian driver’s license
You can get a driver’s license by visiting a Traffic Department branch in Cairo or Giza. You should have the following to apply for a driving license at this government agency:
A medical certificate from an Egyptian ophthalmologist
A medical certificate from a physician with blood type verification
A valid identification document (a passport or national ID will do)
Two recent passport-sized color photographs
A completed LE 55 form
Proof of residency (your residency permit and a utility bill will suffice)
A certificate absolving you of any infractions (called a ‘free-of-charge certificate’)
A completed ‘single form’ for private cars
An insurance contract that covers vehicular accidents
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s Licence While in Egypt
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your IDP through our website for one year.
Renewing your original driver’s license
You will need a valid driving license and your International Driving Permit when driving in a foreign country. If, by chance, your driver’s license expires while abroad, you will need to renew it to continue driving. This must be done by the institution that initially issued your driving license. As you might be aware, the procedure for renewing a driver’s license will vary according to the country. In some countries, you will need to take medical and vision tests that cannot be done online, so you may have to return to the country that issued your license. However, most governments have online driving license renewal services available to expatriates.
Car Rental in Egypt
Requirements for car rental
While you only need to be 18 years old to drive a car on Egyptian roads, you must be over 25 and under 70 to rent a car. You will need an IDP and a valid driving license from your home country to rent a car from a car rental agency. We recommend not booking a car in advance as you should check whether the vehicle is well-maintained, has a proper spare tire, and has a maintenance kit before renting it. Almost all rental agencies will require a credit card, and you will have to pay extra for using a debit card or cash to the rare rental company that will accept either.
Deposit and costs for car rental
Car rental in Egypt is moderately high, with the required deposit between $300 and $1,200, depending on the vehicle you hire. A typical car rental will be between $30 and $50, with a week’s rental costing you close to $300. This is without the insurance cover and premiums, so it might be cheaper to go by taxi, especially if you are only visiting 2 or 3 places within the country. The rental deposit will be blocked on your credit card, so be sure to calculate that into your accounting when assessing what you can do with your credit card.
Most rental car companies will provide third-party insurance and theft and attempted-theft insurance when renting you a vehicle. You will be charged an ‘excess amount’ if the damages exceed the insurance cover. When renting in Egypt, you are recommended to get Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW). These covers allow you to limit or eliminate the ‘excess amount’ charged for any number of road accidents. Third-party insurance only covers damage to other persons, vehicles, animals, or property, not to any damage done to yourself or your rental car.
The crime rate in Egypt is moderately high compared to other developing countries due to the past decade’s events. It is recommended that you get car insurance in addition to travel insurance for your visit. Some of the covers to look for in your travel insurance are:
Coverage of expenses for hospital stays
Cover fees and lost deposits if you have multiple stops during your trip
Coverage for lost baggage while traveling
Coverage of excess payments not covered by the insurance cover on your rental vehicle
Coverage of emergency dental procedures
Coverage of funeral costs (during an extreme eventuality)
Driving and Safety in Egypt
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You can download a copy of the driving handbook, The Highway Code, from https://www.in.gov/bmv/licenses-permits-ids/files/drivers-manual-arabic.pdf. Unfortunately, this handbook is in Arabic, so you must go to a bookstore or a driving school in Cairo or Giza for an English version. This material is generally provided when you enroll in a driving school course. A driving course is highly recommended for novice drivers attempting to drive in Egypt.
Overtaking on Egyptian roads
You are advised to only overtake from the left-hand side as long as there have been no signs signifying otherwise. You must check your mirrors, judge the speed correctly and make sure that the lane ahead is sufficiently clear for you to enter back into its traffic. You cannot cut in on the vehicle that you are overtaking.
Speed limits on Egyptian roads
The speed limit is 60 km/h (38 mph) in built-up and urban areas if you are not towing a carriage behind you. The limit for outside built-up areas is 90 km/h (56 mph) and 100 km/h (63 mph) on the desert highway connecting Cairo with Alexandria. The fines for speeding on Egyptian roads range between $27 to $53. While these may not seem too harsh, you can also be incarcerated for three months and have your vehicle confiscated. The penalty is determined according to how fast over the speed limit you were traveling.
Tips for driving in Egypt
People in Egypt drive on the right-hand side of the road
The minimum age to drive vehicles other than motorcycles or scooters is 18. You have to be above 16 to drive a motorcycle or a scooter
Children below seven cannot travel in the front seat
It is a legal requirement to give pedestrians the right of way
All car occupants should wear seat belts if the engine is running
You cannot use a mobile phone unless you use a hands-free device
The driver and passengers must wear helmets when on a motorcycle or scooter
Many traffic lights are out of order so keep an eye out to see how traffic is moving or whether there is a traffic policeman
There are many speed cameras on Egyptian roads, so obeying the speed limit is necessary
Drinking and driving
You can only have a blood alcohol level of 0.05% while driving in Egypt, which equates to 50mg per 100 ml of blood. Egypt is in the top 10 list for death due to motoring deaths due to individual error. Testing to see whether motorists are under the influence when driving is scarce has magnified the issue. While there are strict penalties for causing accidents while driving, the apparatus for random checks is unavailable. Due to its hazardous conditions, it is recommended to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.00% when driving in Egypt.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Egypt
Hurghada is a town located at the edge of the Red Sea. The warm waters of the beautiful beach in this town are perfect for sunbathing. When visiting this scenic town, you should see the Hurghada Marina, Giftun Island, Careless reef, and Mahmya Island. Many visitors to the country decide to unwind in Hurghada after doing business in urban centers like Cairo or Giza. The best times to visit Hurghada are from April to June and September to November, as the warm waters are perfect for swimming.
The prime attraction of this busy urban center is the Giza Pyramids, used as the number one example of a World Wonder built in ancient times (over 5,000 years old). They were constructed by King Khafre, King Hufu, and King Mankaure in the main pyramid construction area of the city. Multiple other pyramids of lesser significance were built by other monarchs all over Africa. There is a busy bazaar district where you can find great bargains to remember when visiting Giza. Visiting during December and January is best if you want a festive touristy vibe. During your stay, you should see the Great Sphinx and the temple complexes around the Great Pyramids.
This beautiful ancient city has 5 million inhabitants and is situated next to some of the most beautiful beaches in Egypt. This city was home to the world’s most famous library, the Great Library of Alexandria. It was said that all books entering the port city were first copies before their owners were allowed to have them back. The best times to visit this historic urban center are between May and June and between September and November, as the weather is ideal for strolling its ancient roads and utilizing its beaches.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Egypt?
We highly recommend having an IDP when traveling to Egypt, as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can I drive with a foreign license in Egypt?
You can drive for six months with a foreign license in Egypt, and you should have a valid International Driving Permit along with your license.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Egypt?
Yes, you may use your EU license for six months in Egypt with an IDP up to 70 years of age.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Egypt?
Since Egypt was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949, you may use your IDP for one year after it is issued.
How long will transferring my license to an Egyptian license take?
You will have to get a driver’s license from scratch in Egypt as it doesn’t have transfer facilities. There is a chance you may be considered a particular case and given a domestic license after completing a documentation process if you have an IDP.
On which side do you drive in Egypt?
Motorists drive on the right side of the road in Egypt.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Egypt?
No, but you are required by law to carry an International Driving Permit with a valid foreign driver’s license. An IDP is an internationally recognized translation of your driving license.