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 a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Israel?
With an International Driving Permit, you can drive in Israel with a foreign driver’s license for 12 months. Your IDP will be valid for one year. You may also use your IDP as an identification document while traveling, and an IDP can also be used in various instances as a translation of your license.
How do you apply for an IDP in Israel?
You can apply for an IDP through our website.
How long will it take to receive an IDP in Israel?
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.
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 twenty minutes.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Israel
Functionality as an ID
An IDP is a handy travel document as it doubles as an identification document. If you want to keep your passport under lock and key to avoid it getting stolen or lost, an IDP can serve as your ID, hence being used instead of a national ID card.
Car rental companies
Companies may be reluctant to rent a car to a foreigner without an International Driver’s Permit. Since an IDP is a legal document approved by the United Nations, most international and domestic car rental companies accept an IDP as a valid document.
Laws requiring an IDP
You can use a driving license from a foreign country in Israel for 12 months permitted you also have an International Driving Permit. Israel was contracted to the Vienna Motor Traffic Convention of 1968 and the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention of 1949, which means your IDP is valid for one year.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Israel
Short-term visitors vs. residents
Using your valid license with an IDP is the simplest way to drive for short-term visitors. On the other hand, long-term visitors and residents will find getting an Israeli driving license to be the most logical option. Traffic stops tend to take significantly longer if you have a foreign driver’s license, which is eased upon presenting your IDP.
How long can I drive with a foreign driver’s license?
You are only allowed to drive in Israel with a foreign driver’s license for up to a year, irrespective of your country, as long as you also have an IDP. It’s essential to exchange your license for an Israeli one before this period runs out.
When should I get an Israeli Driver’s License?
You might consider getting an Israeli license if you plan to settle in Israel and use it as your primary or secondary residency. Getting a domestic driver’s license will help shorten the waiting time during traffic stops and other vehicle-related business. The “date of entry” on your passport or “Aliyah entry date” will be requested upon applying for the license.
How to get an Israeli license
The minimum age for getting a license in Israel is 17 and six months. You should apply to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (Misrad Harishui), which has two branches (1 Hatnifa St., Talpiot, and 97 Jaffa Raod). You must bring your completed application form, original driver’s license, identification document (passport or national ID), two colour passport photos, and a payment form.
You will be informed whether your application and documents are accepted after processing. When you get the green light to proceed, it is required to get your eye test done by a certified optician. Women above 60 and men above 65 must pass a medical examination. You can then make an appointment and return to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to take a practical exam (control test), after which you will be issued an Israeli license.
It is required to take a theory-based driving test if you have had your foreign license for less than two years. Once you pass the practical driving exam, you will be issued a temporary paper license and be mailed a standard plastic license once you pay the fee to a post office.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Israel
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your International Driver’s Permit through our website when the time comes.
Renewing your original driver’s license
Since an IDP is not a stand-alone document for driving in any country, you will need to renew your driver’s license to continue driving in that country if your driver’s license expires abroad. The process of renewing a license varies significantly from country to country.
Car Rental in Israel
Requirements for car rental
Many rental agencies will allow you to rent a car if you are 21 years of age, though some require you to be 24. There will be a surcharge for renters below 25, and you cannot rent a vehicle in Israel if you are over 75. You are legally required to have had your driving license for one year, and have an International Driving Permit to rent a car.
Deposit and costs for car rental
Rental car companies will keep a deposit of $500.00 to $1,000.00 blocked on your credit card before allowing you to hire a vehicle. You can expect to pay $18.00 to $100.00 per day for your rental car. On average, you would spend $175.00 for a week’s rental in Israel. The rental company has the right to withhold your security deposit for 30 days.
You must have 3rd party insurance to cover damage to other persons, vehicles, animals, or property when renting a car in Israel. You should also have a mandatory Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) covering damage to your rental car, alongside mandatory Theft Protection (TP) coverage to safeguard your rental vehicle against theft. You can go for a Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW), indemnifying you of any damage to your rental car.
The crime rate in Israel is low compared to other developed countries. However, it is wise to get travel and car insurance. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are:
Dental insurance for oral emergencies
Insurance for lost or stollen bagage
Medical expenses coverage
Funeral costs (in case of an extreme situation)
Driving and Safety in Israel
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You will have to get a driver’s handbook of the highway code from an Israeli bookshop. Make sure that you get an updated version. While you might come across some websites containing snippets of the Highway Code, no official copies of the handbook are available online. You may have to contact a driving school if you want to get an English copy of the handbook. You can expect to pay $6.00 to $10.00 for a copy.
Overtaking on Israeli 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. Overtaking during nighttime or with poor visibility should be undertaken with extra vigilance.
Turning and right of way on Israeli roads
Drivers on the main road get preference over drivers entering the main road. On equal roadways, cars traveling straight or turning right have the right of way, therefore, drivers turning left must wait for a space in traffic.
If you have to give way to a driver on the other side of the road in Israel, you must drive slowly enough to stop at a junction.
When entering a roundabout, you must yield to cars already on the roundabout, paying attention to the speed of the traffic and the car’s signal lights.
Speed limits on Israeli roads
The speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph) on roads in urban or built-up areas unless it has a dividing area, in which case you can go up to 90 km/h (56 mph). 80 km/h (50 mph) is the limit on non-urban roads. The highway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has a speed limit of 100 km/h (63 mph), while it is 120 km/h (75 mph) on Highway 6 (North-South) toll road. A small number of high-speed roads have a speed limit of 120 km/h (69 mph).
Tips for driving in Israel
People drive on the right side of the road
Gas is costly and can cost as much as $2.00 per liter
Overnight parking costs as much as $21.00 per night in cities like Jerusalem or Tel Aviv
Toll roads may cost $20.00 on the highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (only 54 km)
You should wear a seat belt while driving (and children under 4 need a car seat)
You cannot use a mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device
Both driver and passengers need to use helmets when driving a scooter or a motorcycle
Dipped headlights are required during the daytime from November to March
A reflective vest should be in the vehicle in case of emergencies
Most traffic signs are written in Hebrew, English, and Arabic
Turning at a red light is not allowed
Red and white stripes are on the curb signify that you cannot park, while blue and white stripes mean a parking fee, and grey colored stripes are free parking areas
Drinking and driving
You are not allowed to drive on Israeli roads with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 50 mg per 100 ml. If the police suspect you are driving under the influence, they will administer a breathalyzer test. If you refuse to comply, the fine is $2,924.00. If your BAC isn’t within legal limits, the police can suspend your license for 30 days until a court sentencing, resulting in a 2-year driving ban. You will also get a 10-point demerit to your license if convicted.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Israel
Jerusalem has a deep religious significance to all Abrahamic monotheistic faiths, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The city is filled with narrow winding alleyways, buildings, and monuments with a rich history. You can also explore the walls of the city that still stand. Jerusalem also has a modern, vibrant part filled with museums and cafes, enabling you to enjoy a variety of shops and shopping complexes on your visit.
This city is home to the beautiful Baha’i Gardens nestled between hills and the sea, with picturesque beauty from most viewing points. The gardens are curated with immaculate green terraces that are unique to these gardens. You can relax from the vast history of Jerusalem and the fast-paced life of Tel Aviv in this city and use it as a base point for exploring the north of Israel. You can take a day’s road trip each to Akko, Mount Carmel, and Caesarea, each with its unique experience, while stationed here.
This town is interlinked with Jesus and the Bible and has great significance to Christians. Jesus grew up in this town, which is home to the Basilica of the Annunciation, where the Annunciation (declaration by the angel Gabriel that Jesus would be born to Mary) took place. The town center is home to some of the most important churches celebrating Jesus Christ’s history. You can explore Nazareth’s busy bazaar area through its twisty old city lanes and get a feel for this ancient city.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Israel?
Having an IDP to drive in Israel is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can you drive with a foreign license in Israel?
You can drive for 12 months with a foreign license in Israel if you have an International Driving Permit.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Israel?
Yes, you may use your EU license, but you still need to have an IDP.
How long will my international driving permit be valid in Israel?
Since Israel was contracted to the Vienna and Geneva Conventions on Motor Traffic, your IDP will be valid for one year.
How long will transferring my license to an Israeli one take?
The process can be done within a week but will most likely take two weeks without complications.
On which side do you drive in Israel?
Motorists drive on the right side of the road in Israel.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Israel?
No, but you must carry an International Driving Permit, an internationally accepted driving license translation.