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 one hundred forty-one countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
On the other hand, an International Driving License is not legally accepted and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Germany?
Germany requires the use of an International Driver’s Permit to drive on its roads if you are not from a select list of countries. 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 Germany?
You can for an IDP in Germany through our website.
How long will it take to get an IDP in Germany?
A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your email. Alternatively, if you want a faster processing time, you can choose an Express Order, where you will receive your IDP in twenty 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
Three international motor traffic treaties were held – 1926 in Paris, 1949 in Geneva, and 1968 in Vienna. Each convention includes many nations that have agreed to recognize the International Driving Permit as a legitimate documentation.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Germany
Functionality as an ID
An IDP is a valid and helpful document since it also serves as identification. This is valuable if you want to hide your passport for security reasons. If your national ID card is written in a language that is not widely spoken abroad, an IDP can help.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Police may have trouble deciphering driver information on your license during a traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that authorities can quickly note down your information and send you on your way. This is especially useful during emergencies.
Car rental companies
If a foreigner does not have an International Driving Permit, certain companies could be reluctant to rent them a car. Most international and local automobile rental firms accept an IDP as a legitimate driving permit because it is a valid legal document recognized by the United Nations. It could also help save unnecessary delays while dealing with rental businesses.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Germany
Short-term visitors vs. residents
It is beneficial for short-term visitors to use their original license with an IDP, while long-term visitors will find it helpful to get a German driving license.
How to get a German driver’s license
If you are from a state in the EU, the EEA, and a select group of countries with reciprocal agreements with Germany, you can easily exchange your license for a German driving license.
If you are not in this select group of countries, you will have to undergo a different procedure to get a German driving license after moving there. You will have to bring an eye examination certificate which can be obtained at any optometrist or optical shop, and an IDP. While the general procedure is to hand over your license when issuing you a German one, you may keep your original license for a small extra fee. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to take the German practical and written driving tests before being issued a German license.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Germany
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your IDP through our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
Since an IDP is not a stand-alone document, you must have a valid driving license to show if requested. If your license expires while abroad, you must renew it to keep driving in that country. The procedure for renewing a license differs widely by country.
Car Rental in Germany
Requirements for car rental
You should be a minimum age of 21 to rent a car in Germany. You should have a valid driver’s license, an IDP, and a form of identification (such as a national ID or passport). You should also provide proof of return travel, passport, and residency information. Most car rental companies will require you to use your credit card, though some will allow you to use a debit card with an ID and address verification.
Deposit and costs for car rental
Your rental car deposit can be anything from €300 to €1,000 in Germany, depending on what type of car you opt for. The average car rental price in Germany during the year 2022 is €110.00, and you can expect to pay less than €800 for a week’s rental.
If you are in Germany for more than three weeks, you might find it cheaper to lease a car than rent one. Usually, a lease comes with comprehensive auto insurance, so your insurance costs will be minimized. You might also opt for a Navi GPS navigation unit which comes to around €9.00 per day.
You are required to have unlimited 3rd party insurance to be able to drive in Germany. Third-party liability insurance protects you from any liability resulting from property damage, death, or injury caused to anyone or anything outside your car. Under 22, you must have CDW (collision damage waiver) coverage. Depending on the insurer and considered variables, the average cost with CDW and theft can range from €15.00 to €35.00.
The German crime rate is relatively low. However, it is wise to get travel and car insurance. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are given below:
Coverage for damaged, lost, or stolen bags
Rental car excess in an accident
Driving and Safety in Germany
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
The German government provides a complete handbook on the rules and regulations to follow while on German roads. You can get a downloadable .pdf copy of the manual at https://www.bmvi.de/blaetterkatalog/catalogs/327056/pdf/complete.pdf. German driving schools will also be able to provide you with a highway codebook in English.
Overtaking on German 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.
Turning and right of way on German roads
Drivers of the main road have priority. On equal roads, vehicles approaching the junction from the right have the right of way. When approaching a roundabout, drivers already on the roundabout have the right of way. You have to stop or slow down before a junction. Trams and trains have priority over you when driving, and you must slow down when driving near school buses.
Speed limits on German roads
You can go 50 km/h (30 mph) in German towns and cities if you are not towing a carriage behind you. You can go at 100 km/h (63 mph) outside built-up areas. The recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (81 mph) on dual carriageways and motorways. Germany is the only nation without a speed limit and only a recommendation for dual carriageways and motorways.
If you tow a trailer, you are limited to 80 km/h (50 mph) outside urban areas and 100 km/h (63 mph) on expressways. If your vehicle is a truck or exceeds 3.5 tons, you are limited to 80 km/h (50 mph) outside urban and built-up areas. The top speed for any vehicle in a built-up/metropolitan area is 50 km/h (31 mph).
Tips for driving in Germany
German streets are filled with critical traffic signs. You are expected to follow all of them!
Gasoline is called Benzin in Germany
Running out of fuel on the Autobahn is dangerous and will get you a ticket
Most German cities will have above-ground and underground parking garages. They will also have on-street and off-street parking lots
You are not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device
You should wear a seat belt while driving
There are lots of ‘Blitzer’ automatic radar guns that will give you a ticket
You must have a reflective vest, a warning triangle, and a first aid kit your the vehicle
Drinking and driving
You can only have a blood-alcohol level of 0.05% while driving in Germany. Even the first offense carries a hefty €500.00 fine and a one-month suspension of your license. The second offense carries a €1,000.00 fine, a 2-point penalty from your license, and a 3-month suspension of your license. The third offense results in a €1,500 fine, a 2-point sentence from your driving license, and a 3-month suspension of your license. Drivers caught with a blood alcohol of 0.08% or over can have much harsher punishments.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Germany
The Romantic Road
This scenic road will rip open the hidden gems of Germany for you to explore and enjoy. The route is 400km long and takes an average of 3 days to complete for tourists. This historic road connected the heartland of Germany to the south during Medival times, which allowed many trade posts along this route to develop into bustling towns and cities. You can explore many of Germany’s picturesque villages with city walls, towers, half-timbered houses, monasteries, castles, and hotels. Much of the country’s art, culture, and natural beauty can be explored using this road. Its traditional starting point is from Würzburg and ends at Füssen.
Europe’s most famous fairytale castle is in Germany. It is situated in Füssen in southwest Bavaria. Germany’s Swan King (King Ludwig II of Bavaria) built it in the 19th century. This beautiful castle was made during a time when castles were losing their need to play the role of forts. Thin, beautifully designed spires with no practical but immense aesthetic value were built into this gorgeously designed castle. A final spire was supposed to be made but couldn’t be due to a lack of funds. It was supposed to be the largest and tallest of all of them. However, the castle was still gorgeous enough to be used by Disney to model its theme park castles after. While this magnificent architecture is awe-inspiring from any angle, it is best viewed from Mary’s Bridge.
Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate
The Prussian King Frederick William II built this historic gate in the 18th century. It was made after he quelled the popular uprising by the Dutch against his rule. The gate was built on the site of the city gate that was the start of the road from Berlin to Brandenberg, which was the capital of Margraviate of Brandenburg. When it was built, the lane it opened led directly to the palace of the Prussian monarchs. The Brandenburg Gate has been the site of many historically significant events and now stands as a sign of European unity. Its immense historical value makes it a must-see for any tourist visiting Berlin.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Germany?
Having an IDP to drive in German is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
How long will my international driving permit be valid in Germany?
Since Germany was contracted to the Vienna Motor Traffic Convention in 1968, you may use your IDP for three years.
How long will transferring my license to a German license take?
If you are from a country with a reciprocal agreement with Germany, you can get it done within a week, and it will take longer if you are from a country without an agreement.
On which side do you drive in Germany?
Vehicles must drive on the right side of the road in Germany.