International Driving Permit Hungary
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 Hungary?
If your license was issued by a country in the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA), you do not need to have an international driver’s permit. The same goes if your country has ratified the Vienna Convention on Motor Traffic (1968). Drivers from any other country should possess a valid international driver’s permit when driving on Hungarian roads. You may also use your IDP as an official identification document in the country.
How do you apply for an IDP in Hungary?
You can apply for your IDP on our website.
How long does it take to get an IDP?
If you are in a hurry, you can choose the Express Order on our website and have a digital international driver’s permit in your email box within 20 minutes after payment. The average processing time for the digital version is 2 hours. The official printed IDP will be delivered to your chosen address within 2 to 30 working days. The lead time required depends on the location and the delivery method you have picked.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
There have been three international motor traffic conventions that the United Nations organized. The first two were in Paris (1926) and Geneva (1949). The countries contracted to these conventions honor 1-year international driver’s permits. The third convention was in Vienna (1968). Countries contracted to this convention honor 3-year IDPs. Only United Nations’ authorized institutions can issue IDPs in any country.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Hungary
Functionality as an ID
Losing your passport or national ID can mean your relaxing vacation turns into a nightmare you can’t escape from. Many travelers prefer to keep these important documents under lock and key while using an international driver’s permit as their official identification document. An IDP is a legal document accepted by any country that accepts IDPs for driving. You will find it even more helpful if your official papers are not issued in an internationally recognized language.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
Hungarian authorities allow drivers with licenses issued by countries signatories of the Vienna convention to drive on their roads. You may still find it difficult without an official translation of your driver’s license during traffic stops or if you get into an accident. Many police officers not in major metropolitan areas will not be able to process licenses in multiple languages. Make sure you carry an IDP even if the country doesn’t require it, as this allows traffic police to quickly write down your particulars and send you on your way.
Car rental companies
Hungarian regulations allow drivers of certain countries to rent vehicles within the country with just their domestic driver’s licenses. However, car rental agencies within the country will not be so happy to rent out to international drivers with licenses that are not in an internationally recognized language. We recommend you have an international driver’s permit if your license has not been issued in English, especially in smaller cities and towns. You can save valuable vacation time by walking into a car rental agency with an IDP. You will also be privy to special discounts and privileges when carrying an IDP.
Laws requiring an IDP
Hungarian law allows drivers with licenses issued by countries in the EU and EEA to drive on their roads without an international driver’s license. The same goes for drivers with licenses issued by a country that is a signatory to the Vienna Motor Traffic Convention of 1968. Only 28 countries (signatories) have ratified this convention, while many were contracted to honor IDPs during this convention. Drivers with licenses issued by any other country should always have an IDP. Hungary is contracted to the Paris (1926), Geneva (1949), and Vienna (1968) international motor traffic conventions. Therefore, it honors both one-year and three-year IDPs.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Hungary
Short-term visitors vs. residents
If you are not from the EU, you are only given a one-month visa to visit Hungary. If you plan on staying in Hungary, you should register with the Hungarian Immigration Office. You may then register your address and record your stay there. You can apply for a Hungarian residency through a Schengen Residency Permit during the second year. You should be able to prove that you have a work contract or a work permit. You should also be able to show that you have accommodation through a lease or rent agreement. You may get an immigration card if you can prove you have resided continuously in Hungary for three years without being out of Hungary for more than 90 days within three years. People married to Hungarian citizens can apply for an immigration card after one year of residency. This permit allows you to work in Hungary and unrestricted entry into the country.
How long can I drive with a foreign driving license?
You could drive in Hungary for two years if a country in the EU or EEA issued your license. The same goes if your request was issued by a foreign country that is a signatory to the Vienna motor traffic convention. You can only drive for 12 months if your license was issued from any other country.
When Should I Get a Hungarian Driver’s License?
We recommend you get a Hungarian license within a year if a country did not issue your driver’s license in the EU or EEA. The renewal process for your driver’s license can be cumbersome and expensive when living in Hungary. Hungarian traffic police will have trouble processing your driver’s license if you are from any other country. This may be fine for a visit, but it can get cumbersome if living and working there. If your driver’s license was issued in the EU, you should get it converted after the allotted two years, as there is no downside to driving with an EU driver’s license in Hungary.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Hungary
Renewing your International Driving Permit
You can renew your IDP on our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
Renewing your driver’s license while living in Hungary can be tricky if it expires. The process would be relatively quick if issued within the EU or EEA. Many countries have internet portals to help expatriates with the procedure. Some countries, however, require medical and vision tests each time you renew your license. If so, you must return to your home country to renew it. Make sure you keep enough time for the renewal process when planning your trip, as it can take as long as three months.
Car Rental in Hungary
Requirements for car rental
If you have a valid driving license from the EU or EEA and a European ID card, you do not need an international driver’s permit to rent a car. If you are from any other country, car rental agencies require you to have an IDP and your passport. You are generally allowed to rent if you are 21 and above, though there is a surcharge for renters under 25. Drivers 18 and above may be able to find a rental vehicle, but the surcharge will be considerable, and it is not strictly legal in Hungary. As in other European countries, rental companies will almost always require payment through a credit card in the driver’s name. Clients should have had their license for a year.
Deposit and costs for car rental
You can expect to pay between €20 to €60 per day for a car. A mid-sized four-door sedan will cost around €220 for a week. The rental deposit will be between €300 and €1,000, depending on the car you rent. If you use a credit card for payment, the deposit will be blocked off for the duration. Make sure you plan your payments accordingly. Luxury vehicles will cost considerably more, and so will the deposits required. Extra features such as GPS will have a nominal daily charge.
As in most other European countries, Hungary requires third-party insurance for drivers. This insurance covers damage done to people and property due to your negligence and does not cover any costs to the vehicle you are driving or its occupants. Hungarian car insurance is expensive as there is a 30% tax. Insurance policies that cover other liabilities are called mini-CASCO to teljes-CASCO. Mini-CASCO may include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and fire insurance. Teljes CASCO will include theft and Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW).
Hungary’s GDP per capita is relatively low compared to other European countries. While theft and other crimes are not too prevalent compared to countries on different continents, they happen more often than in other European countries. You should get travel insurance and car insurance when traveling to Hungary. Please note the following points when choosing a policy:
- Your travel insurance should cover hospital stays due to injuries.
- It should cover costs incurred due to lost and canceled deposits.
- It should cover losses due to damaged or lost baggage.
- It should cover excess payments not covered by your car insurance.
- It should cover emergency dental work.
Driving and Safety in Hungary
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You can download a copy of the Hungarian highway code at https://euagenda.eu/upload/publications/untitled-96809-ea.pdf or browse it at https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/ae58b7c9-4716-46e2-8868-2920735bc95d. This publication is relevant to all EU and EEA countries as Hungary adheres to EU driving standards and road rules. You will be able to get an updated printed copy of it at significant bookstores in Budapest. You will get a copy of it when you register for a course at an accredited driving school for foreigners.
Overtaking on Hungarian roads
Hungarian motorists drive on the right side of the road. This means that you should overtake vehicles on the left. You may overtake from the right only if there is a traffic sign. You must check your mirrors and assess whether there is sufficient space ahead before overtaking. Be vigilant of signs notifying you that overtaking is not possible due to poor visibility or road conditions.
Turning and right of way on Hungarian roads
If you are on a more significant road, you have priority over more minor roads. If you are on a road of similar size to an intersecting one, you have priority to go forward and turn right. You must wait for sufficient space in the oncoming traffic to turn left.
If there are no markings on a road that intersects another in a rural or metropolitan setting, you should slow down enough to come to a complete stop before passing the intersection. When merging with roundabout traffic, give way to motorists already on the roundabout.
Speed limits on Hungarian roads
The speed limit for urban areas (lakott terület) is 50 km/h (31 mph). You can go 90 km/h (56 mph) on rural roads (országút). The speed limit for rural expressways (autóút) is 110 km/h (69 mph). The speed limit for motorways (autópálya) is 130 km/h (81 mph). This only applies to motorcycles, cars, and vans. Heavier vehicles and special purpose vehicles have other speed limits.
Tips for driving in Hungary
- Motorists drive on the right side in Hungary.
- You should be 17 to drive on Hungarian roads.
- The driver and passengers should wear seat belts at all times.
- You may not use a mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device.
- Children under 135 cm should have appropriate child seats and child harnesses.
- Honking your horn is prohibited within city limits unless there is an emergency.
- The emergency phone number in Hungary is 112.
- Dipped headlights should be turned on throughout the day to reduce accidents.
- Speed limits are strictly enforced, and police officers are authorized to make spot fines.
- Hungary uses the same driving license point system as other European countries. If you have 18 deducted points, you will lose your license.
Drinking and driving
You are allowed to drive in Hungary with a blood-alcohol level of 0.03%. If caught with a blood-alcohol level between 0.03% and 0.08%, you will probably be given a fine, though the law stipulates jail time. In rare instances, you will be given community services as well. The punishment is more severe when you are a repeat offender. If caught driving with a blood-alcohol level between 0.08% and above, you can face jail time, have your license canceled and face a heavy fine. Punishments can be severe if someone is hurt in an accident while driving under the influence.
Am I required to have an IDP in Hungary?
While some countries will accept a foreign license for a while, many will require you to have an IDP.
Can I drive a vehicle with a foreign license in Hungary?
Yes, if the country that issued your valid driver’s license is in the EU or EEA, or if it is a signatory to the Vienna convention, you can do so for two years. Otherwise, you may drive for a year with an IDP.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Hungary?
Yes, you may use it for two years if it has not expired.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Hungary?
Hungary was contracted to the Paris, Geneva, and Vienna Motor Traffic Conventions in 1926, 1949, and 1968, so you may use your IDP for one or three years.
How long will transferring my license to a Hungarian one take?
You can exchange your license for a Hungarian one within three months.
On which side of the road do you drive in Hungary?
In Hungary, vehicles are driven on the right side of the road.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Hungary?
No, but you must have an IDP if your license was not issued in the EU or EEA.