What is an International Driving Permit?
Since a local driving license issued by a country may not be readable in another country due to language barriers, anyone who wants to drive in a foreign country must have an IDP alongside their valid local driver’s license.
The International Driving Permit comes into play to address this issue. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document protected by international agreements wherein a valid local license is duly translated into twelve (12) most commonly used languages worldwide, including English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, German and French.
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.
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 Iraq?
Iraq is one of 150 countries that accept an International Driving Permit as a valid legal document. Foreigners are not allowed to drive in the country unless they hold a valid IDP, as traffic laws of the country are stringent in this regard. Further, due to the law and order situation in the country, keeping a valid identity document is a must at all times, which is handy as an IDP works as a valid identity document as it contains all the relevant information in twelve international languages.
What Do You Need To Apply for an IDP in Iraq?
A valid IDP is mandatory for everyone who wants to drive vehicles outside the territorial jurisdiction of his country. Hence, an International Driving Permit is a document of utmost importance. However, the process of acquisition of an IDP is straightforward and involves the submission of the following documents:
Complete particulars of a valid license issued by your country/state
Scanned images of your local license
Passport size photographs
Payment of a fee for IDP having validity of one year (see our pricing page)
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.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
The Government of Iraq ratified the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, 1968, on February 01, 2017. Being a contracting party to the said International Convention, the country must take all the initiatives to ensure road safety and implement the traffic rules and regulations per international standards.
The contracting parties to the international conventions are also obliged to accept the international driving permits issued by other countries and to allow the holders of valid IDPs to drive vehicles in the country.
In addition to the above, the Government of Iraq must devise appropriate methods and procedures for issuing a driving license to its citizens. An internationally accepted and appropriate process of issuing driving licenses includes attending theoretical and practical driving courses, ensuring clearance of theoretical and practical driving tests, conducting required medical examinations wherever necessary, and termination of license of habitual offenders.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Iraq:
Carrying an IDP while visiting a foreign country has multiple benefits.
An International Driving Permit is a legal document deriving strength from international agreements and makes its holder eligible to drive vehicles in 150 countries during the validity period of such permit.
Valid Identity Document in a Foreign Country:
While a valid identity document is usually a National Identity Card or a Passport, an IDP also serves as a valid identity document containing all the relevant information in international languages. In a country like Iraq, where the state of affairs is risky, keeping an IDP with you is even more critical.
Eligibility to Rent a Car:
Car rental agencies worldwide do not rent vehicles to foreigners who do not hold a valid IDP. Hence, a valid IDP enables its holder to hire vehicles against payment of rent from car rental agencies in Iraq as well.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Iraq:
Just like most countries in the World, foreigners can drive vehicles in Iraq only if they hold an IDP, with the validity period being one year.
When should I get an Iraqi Driver’s License?
Having an Iraqi Driver’s License is not mandatory for foreigners visiting the country. You will want to consider getting an Iraqi driver’s license if you have residency cards in Iraq and are eligible to either apply for a Temporary Driving License (which remains valid for a maximum of one year) or you can apply for an Iraqi Driworld License (with a maximum validity period of five years).
Documents required for issuance of a Temporary Driving License include:
Original copy of passport
Original copy of the driving license, notarized by legal translation
Original copy of the residency card
Two personal photographs
Documents required for issuance of an Iraqi Driver’s License include:
Iraqi national ID or (renewed Iraqi civil status card with Iraqi nationality certificate) – original copies
Valid residency card in case of foreign nationals
Five personal photographs
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Iraq:
The validity of an IDP entirely depends on the validity of your local license. If your local driving license expires before your International Driving Document expires, it will make your IDP invalid with immediate effect.
It is therefore pertinent to consider the expiry date of your local license while planning your trip to Iraq.
If your IDP expires during your international visit, renewing your IDP is a simple task through our website. The exact process applies to your local driving license as well. In case of the license expiry, contact your country’s local authority, submit the required documents, and pay the renewal fee to renew your local license.
Car Rental in Iraq:
Hiring a car for rent is considered the best and most convenient option for exploring the country due to foreigners’ lack of public transport and safety issues.
However, if you choose to rent a car, it is advised to get your vehicle booked before you visit the country to get the best prices. You can always approach off-airport car rental locations for cheap rates instead of on-airport car rental agencies. Rent per day will range from $35 to $89, depending on the vehicle rented. You must be at least 21 years old to hire a vehicle for rent, while in some areas, you are 23 years of age.
Documents required by most of the car rental agencies working in Iraq are:
A valid International Driving Permit
Copy of identity document in the form of ID card or passport
Driving and Safety in Iraq:
While driving in a foreign country, it is always recommended to go through the general driving rules to avoid fines, penalties, and other legal consequences during your trip.
Below is the list of some vital things to remember while driving in Iraq:
Documents to carry while driving:
It is a legal requirement to keep your valid driver’s license and vehicle registration documents with you. While visiting your favorite spots around the country, always keep your IDP, vehicle rental documents, and insurance details with you.
Minimum Age to Drive:-
Per traffic laws of Iraq, the minimum age to drive is eighteen years. However, the legal age to hire vehicles for rent is 23 years, and drivers must have held their valid license for a minimum period of two years to be eligible to drive a rented vehicle.
Per the country’s laws, the maximum speed allowed in well-developed areas and main roads in cities is 60 KPH. However, the maximum permitted speed limit on highways ranges up to 120 KPH. While the citizens of Iraq do not correctly follow the speed limits, you should not follow their practice and must abide by the country’s laws.
Rules regarding drunk drive:
Iraq is a Muslim country, and therefore, the use of alcohol is strictly prohibited by law. You may face severe consequences if caught driving under the influence of alcohol. Hence, be careful during your visit to Iraq and respect the rules and religions of the state.
Drive on the Right Side:
In Iraq, vehicles are driven on the right-hand side of the road, and steering wheels are on the left-hand side. At the roundabouts, vehicles already in the roundabout have the preferred right of way.
Use of Mobile Phones:
Drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones while driving as it distracts them from the road and may result in accidents. However, using hands-free devices is permissible per traffic laws; drivers must ensure that their attention on the road does not affect using any device.
As per traffic rules implemented by authorities in Iraq, the use of seat belts is mandatory for all car passengers.
Fuel Cost in Iraq:
Fuel costs are comparatively cheaper in Iraq. Remember to keep cash in hand for refilling your fuel tanks, as gas station payments are only accepted in cash.
Driving in Winter:
Iraq is one of those countries where winter seasons come with heavy snowfall, during which visibility decreases, and road conditions also become pretty tricky. Hence, keeping an emergency kit in the vehicle during winter (from November to March) may save you from unfortunate situations. Further, for heavy vehicles, snow chains are weather-appropriate. Tires are also mandatory.
While traveling around Iraq, you may have to face difficult situations due to the law and order conditions of the country. Hence, make sure to keep these helplines in mind during such cases. Police Helpline is 104, an ambulance 122, while firefighters can be reached is 115.
Erbil city is famous for many tourist attractions, one of which is “Erbil Citadel” (also known as Qelatwhich), a significant landmark of the country. This site has also been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year, 2014. This ancient site is full of history and looks fantastic after the recent renovation by the administrative authorities. The Erbil Citadel was ultimately important for Christians during the Abbasid Caliphate and Sassanian periods. In addition to Qelat, you may also visit Erbil Main Square, Qaysari Bazaar, and Jalil Khayat Mosque in the City.
One hundred and thirty kilometers from the city of Erbil, a sacred village of Lailsh is waiting for its visitors. This is considered one of the oldest and holiest places for people belonging to the Yazidi Faith and is known to be 4o00 years old. The village is one of its kind, surrounded by three perfect mountains: The Hizrat, Misat, and Arafat. Don’t forget to remove your shoes while visiting the village, and you may wear socks if you want.
Geli Ali Beg Waterfall:-
The view of a spectacular waterfall with water flowing in full force refreshes everyone and brings out the visitors’ inner child. Geli Ali Beg waterfall is one of those unforgettable places in Iraq where you can feel close to nature. You can walk barefoot in cold water and let your feet enjoy this experience. You can also have lunch or dinner in the restaurant near the waterfall. It is not only a mesmerizing destination, but the mountain road from Erbil to Waterfall is full of scenic views and beautiful landscapes.
If you are a passionate hiker who loves to climb mountains, Halgurd Mountain is a must-visit. The mountain’s altitude is 3,607 meters, one of the country’s highest mountains. The mountain top covered in snow is a unique view that can make you forget all your troubles while being there. Have fun on your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I drive a vehicle in Iraq without an IDP?
No. Having both a valid driving license and an IDP is mandatory in the territory of Iraq.
Does an IDP Replace Your Local Driver’s License?
A domestic driving license always remains the basic document that serves as proof of its holder’s eligibility to drive vehicles. Hence, an IDP can never replace your local driver’s license. It only serves as a translation document outside your country.
What is the legal driving age in Iraq?
The legal age to drive in Iraq is 18 years old. However, car rental agencies do not rent vehicles to individuals under 23.
Is it safe to drive at night?
Iraq is a deserted area far from the ideal law and order situation. Hence, driving at night should always be avoided except in emergencies.
Can a holder of a learner license apply for IDP?
A complete local license is mandatory for an International Driving Permit. Therefore, holders of a provisional license are not eligible to apply for an IDP. Each applicant must have a local license for at least one year before applying for an IDP.
What is the law on drunk driving in Iraq?
Driving under the influence of alcohol is considered a severe offense per the laws of Iraq and may result in a fine and imprisonment.
Is an IDP required for renting cars?
Yes, car rental agencies require the submission of a valid IDP from their foreign clients.
How much does an International Driving License cost?
You can view the prices for an IDP on our pricing page.