International Driving Permit Ethiopia

Today’s Ethiopia is full of seemingly dissonant things. It also retains its medieval flair through ancient Christian rituals while exhibiting Aksum’s ancient obelisks and tombs. Culturally, there are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites here, giving a glimpse into the more recent and turbulent past, as evidenced by the abandoned and burned-out Russian tanks. The landscape of this beautiful country varies from lakes, rivers, the Rocky Mountains, grasslands, and lowlands. End with incredible wildlife, notable tribes, good food, and great weather. But no doubt, this is more than just a vacation destination. Ethiopia will move you, inspire you and make your journey unforgettable. The best way to travel around in a car around this stunning country. So get your paperwork ready to drive.

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 to get your IDP?

You can apply online through our website by filling out the application form, which will only take 20 minutes.

Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Hong Kong

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 it 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 in Ethiopia

One of the reasons behind carrying an IDP is that not all Ethiopian citizens or traffic authorities in the country are fluent in English. The same applies to car rental companies. Your IDP will act as an additional document to support our driver’s license when renting a motor vehicle in another country. Note that regardless of the presence of an IDP, if the government or the car rental company requires a specific minimum age for renters, you will not be allowed to drive through road traffic if you are below the minimum. Conveniently, tourists in Ethiopia can use their vehicles with a foreign driving license for three months; this applies to cars and motorbikes. After this time, they must obtain an Ethiopian driver’s license. Foreign drivers should always carry a copy of their passport, national driver’s license, and Ethiopian visa, as authorities may ask to see them.

You must apply for a temporary Ethiopian permit. To do this, Ethiopian drivers can follow these steps:

  1. Have a certified national license at the embassy of the driving country in Ethiopia
  2. Fill out the form with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and provide two photos
  3. Get a temporary Ethiopian license

Renewing your IDP and original license

International Driving Permit

To renew your IDP, you only need your current driver’s license details and a passport-sized photograph, and fill out the form online through our website.

Original license

Since an International driver’s permit is not a standalone document for driving in any country, you must have a valid, unexpired driver’s license to present if required. If your license expires while you are abroad, you will need to renew it to continue driving in that country. License renewal procedures vary considerably from country to country. License renewals may include a vision test that cannot be completed online, which means you must return to your home country to renew your license. However, most governments also offer an online license renewal service for foreigners.

Car rental in Ethiopia

Foreigners in Ethiopia are advised to rent an SUV with a tour guide. With in-depth local knowledge and experience navigating Ethiopia’s roads, this option guarantees you a convenient and hassle-free trip.

Even so, some companies offer the ability to rent vehicles without a driver, mainly around Addis Ababa, but will require an Ethiopian or foreign driving license. Although an international driving permit is not within the required documents, carrying them around will be safer.

Although most rental cars come insured, purchasing third-party insurance would be highly recommended. Renting a car with a driver costs from $50 per day, while premium models and larger vehicles cost around $180. This usually includes fuel and a driver’s accommodation allowance. If needed, etc. Car rental can be arranged online or by phone in advance. Alternatively, you can pick up your car directly from one of the many car rental companies based at Addis Ababa Airport.

For car rental, you must have an international license recognized by the Ethiopian authorities to rent a motorbike in Ethiopia. Riders are reminded that helmets are mandatory, with most companies also offering rental equipment such as helmets, goggles, and boots. Several companies offer bike tours, a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about the country from a guide.

Driving rules in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the cradle of humankind. Discover breathtaking landscapes and historic sites. Use a car for travel. Please keep a traffic alert for a longer time. Please keep us informed about the following:

  • You must carry your IDP and original license on you
  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road
  • Everyone must wear a seat belt
  • It is illegal to use your mobile phone while driving
  • The speed limit is 30 km/h in town and 100 km/h in the countryside
  • Avoid driving at night as roads are poorly maintained and without adequate lighting

Top 5 Places to Visit in Ethiopia

The Blue Nile Falls

One of the region’s top attractions, one of the region’s top attractions, swells beside a 45-meter rift downstream from nearby Lake Tana, with fascinating fog, rainbows, and spectators. Exploding into a continuous stream of water, and I got soaked from a few hundred yards away. Lake Tana is also home to many ancient monasteries full of cultural assets, including murals, parchment manuscripts, crowns, crosses, and even the mummified ruins of past Ethiopian emperors. Visitors can also see the many monkeys, hippos, and pelicans in the area. Overlooking the Blue Nile Falls, many prominent visitors, including Queen Elizabeth II of England.


Lalibela, also known as the “New Jerusalem,” was a place of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians from the late 12th century, as a pilgrimage to Jerusalem was not possible because Muslims dominated the land between Jerusalem and Ethiopia. The city has 11 ancient monolithic churches, wholly carved from a single rock of pink granite, with ornate windows, columns, and roofs carved exclusively with hammers and fleas. Since then, these churches have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Bethegyorgis (St. George) is most impressive, thanks to the cruciform roof.


Many believe that the origin of the Kingdom of Aksum dates back to the 5th century BC. That is the beginning of Ethiopia’s history. At the height of its heyday, Aksum is said to have maintained political and commercial contact with the Romans, Greeks, China, and India. Many impressive monuments (royal tombs, castles, monolithic obelisks, and other historical relics) prove that this ancient city was once the home of a great civilization. The giant standing obelisk is intricately carved from stone and is over 23 meters high. The most popular attraction here is the famous Church of St. Mary of Zion, which is said to be the last resting place for the Ark of the Covenant in the Bible. Aksum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveals only a tiny part of its mysterious secrets. Exploring abandoned tombs and palaces must fuel a flame of excitement and conspiracy.

Danakil Depression

Not for the timid, but still worth adding to this list. Bubbling volcanoes, sulfur-rich yellow hills, and camel mirages above salt lakes await brave travelers in this extraordinary formation. About 40% of Africa’s volcanoes live in Danakil, and the temperatures are so high that night or early morning hikes occur. This is the lowest point in Africa and is about 116 meters above sea level, so prepare for a genuine live expedition. Ensure you have enough water, a first aid kit, a flashlight, and other necessary supplies.

Awash National Park

The picturesque Awash National Park boasts the top spot on the list of Ethiopia’s most visited national parks. Located 200 km east of Addis Ababa, it covers a whopping 750 square kilometers of grasslands and acacia trees. The park is home to a tribe of nomads with camels searching for stunning views, diverse wildlife, and better grass. There is also the Awash River, which runs through the park, and a huge waterfall, which flows into a beautiful canyon. At the northern end of the park, visitors can soak in the Philwoha hot springs, the therapeutic water that erupts from the ground in a natural pool. Awash National Park is on a major north-south travel route, so enthusiastic birdwatchers will not be disappointed by more than 450 bird species, including some endemic or near-endemic species.


How much does it cost to get a driver’s license in Ethiopia?

In Ethiopia, it costs 4500 birrs ($200 US), but it’s about double in Mekelle, a northern town. The advantage of studying outside Addis is that you’ll obtain your license within a month, while at Addis, it can take about a month to get your license.

Is it safe to drive in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia has a high case fatality rate, and driving is not for inexperienced or nervous drivers. Overspeeding, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians, and livestock make driving in Ethiopia dangerous.

How are the roads in Ethiopia?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ethiopia has the world’s highest road mortality rate per vehicle. Roads in Ethiopia are poorly maintained, with poor signs and lighting.

Can a foreigner own a vehicle in Ethiopia?

Historically, under the Ethiopian Civil Code of 1960, Article 390 does not allow foreigners to buy their cars in Ethiopia.

Leave a Comment