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 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 do you apply for an IDP in Malaysia?
You can apply through our website.
In Malaysia, how long will it take to get an IDP?
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.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Malaysia
Functionality as an ID
An IDP is a valuable travel document as it can also be used instead of other identification documents if you want to keep your passport in a secure place. An IDP will benefit if your national ID card is not in a commonly used language.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Having an IDP ensures that policemen can quickly note down your details and send you on your way during traffic stops.
Car rental companies
Foreign companies may be reluctant to rent a car to a foreigner without an International Driving Permit. Since an IDP is a legal document approved by the United Nations, many rental companies require you to have one for you to rent a vehicle.
Laws requiring an IDP
As Malaysia was contracted to the Vienna Convention on Motor Traffic in 1949, an International Driving Permit is valid for 12 months. Your IDP will also be helpful as a translation if your foreign license is not in English.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Malaysia
Short-term visitors vs. residents
You might want to consider converting your license to a Malaysian license if you plan to stay in Malaysia long-term. The conversion procedure is straightforward if you are from a country in ASEAN or with a bilateral agreement with Malaysia. The costs are also relatively low at $9.09 (RM 40.00) per year for a license to drive a 4-wheel vehicle. A driving license fee for a 2-wheel vehicle is even lower at $4.55 (RM 20.00).
You are considered a tax resident of Malaysia if you stay for consecutive 90-day periods for three of the preceding four years or if you have stayed in Malaysia for 183 days within the past year. However, you will have to be given a Long/Short Term Social Visit Pass to be a part of the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program or be married to a Malaysian to be eligible for a national driving license. People on work permits or dependant passes are not considered Malaysian residents.
How long can I drive with a foreign license?
You can only drive in Malaysia for three months with a foreign license and go outside the country and re-enter to use your license again for a while. This is convenient as a visit visa will last 90 days, and you need to go out of Malaysia every three months to renew your visit visa. Foreigners usually go to neighboring Singapore for this procedure, and there is an unexpectedly comfy bus service.
When should I get a Malaysian Driving License?
You should get a Malaysian driver’s license if you plan on becoming a resident in Malaysia. Suppose you plan on visiting Malaysia for two or three-month stints. In this case, you are allowed to drive for three months after each new entry into the country with an IDP.
A national driver’s license must be obtained if you have business in Malaysia or are working full-time. You might also consider getting a Malaysian license if you frequent Malaysia enough to find traffic stops by local authorities cumbersome and prolonged due to your foreign license.
How to get a Malaysian driving license
Suppose the country that your national license is issued in falls under ASEAN, with a bilateral agreement with Malaysia or a government contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention of 1949. In that case, you could convert your license to a Malaysian driver’s license through the Road Transport Department (JPJ) head office. Drivers with less than two years until their foreign license expires will be given a Provisional Driving License (PDL), and others will be given a Competent Driving License (CDL).
You will need to fill out a JPJ L1 Form, present one recent color passport-sized photograph with a white background, the original and a photocopy of your foreign driver’s license, the original and photocopy of your passport, and the fee when making your application to JPJ.
Suppose you are from a country not mentioned above. In this case, you must follow the standard procedure for getting a license from scratch in Malaysia. You will need to go for state-sanctioned driving classes, take a driving test, both theory and practical parts, and make a fee to get your PDL. You can get it converted to a CDL after two years.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driving License While in Malaysia
Renewing your International Driving Permit
You can renew your IDP for either one year through our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
For your IDP to be valid, you must also have a valid driving license. If your license expires while abroad, you must get a new license to continue driving in that country. The procedure for renewing a license varies significantly by country, and license renewal may include a vision test that cannot be taken online, which may mean you need to return to your home country to renew your license.
Car Rental in Malaysia
Requirements for car rental
The minimum age for renting a car in Malaysia is 23, and you must have had your driving license for at least a year. Some car rental agencies will not rent to people over 65. If you are not a Malaysian citizen, you must have a valid foreign driving license if you are from ASEAN or a country with a bilateral agreement. If you are from any other country, you will need a valid foreign driving license and an International Driving Permit.
Deposit and costs for car rental
You can expect to pay a car rental deposit of $120 to $400, depending on what type of car you rent. The daily rental for a vehicle ranges from $15 to $50, and you can expect a week’s rental to come to an average of $240. Almost all car rental companies will require a credit card in the driver’s name. The security deposit will be blocked off for the rental duration, and companies will need an average of a week to unblock the deposit after receiving the vehicle back.
You must have at least 3rd party insurance coverage to drive in Malaysia. Third-party insurance covers damage to other persons, vehicles, animals, or property, but not to yourself or the vehicle you are driving. If possible, you should consider getting theft insurance and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). If you want a rental experience where you don’t worry about absolutely anything happening to the rental car, get Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW).
The crime rate in Malaysia is low for a developing country. It is still wise, however, to get travel and car insurance when visiting. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are:
Insurance for dental emergencies
Coverage of funeral costs
Insurance of personal property if it is lost or stolen
Cancellation coverage for canceled flights and accommodation
Driving and Safety in Malaysia
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You may get an unofficial driving handbook in English at https://metrodriving.com.my/en/wp-content/uploads/KPP-ENGLISH-HANDOUT-B-B2.pdf to review the driving rules in Malaysia. However, if you want a thorough understanding of the road rules, you should get a copy of The Highway Code at a book store. If you want to brush up on your driving skills and are familiar with South-East Asia road rules, you can browse one of the many driving guides available online.
Overtaking on Malaysian roads
You are advised to only overtake from the right-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. You cannot cut in on the vehicle that you are overtaking. Overtaking during nighttime or with poor visibility should be undertaken with extra vigilance.
Speed limits on Malaysian roads
The speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph) on roads in built-up areas and 90 km/h (56 mph) in rural areas. The speed limit on rural roads can be reduced to 80 km/h (50 mph) during festive times. On dangerous or curvy stretches, you can go 110 km/h (68 mph) on expressways, but the speed limit can be 80 or 90 km/h (50-56 mph).
Tips for driving in Malaysia
You should drive on the left side of the road
You can only drive on a Malaysian road if you are over the age of 17
The driver and all passengers must wear seat belts at all times while driving
The driver cannot use a mobile phone when driving unless it is a hands-free device
When driving, any motorist should give way to police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and other emergency vehicles
You should have a personal ID document with your photo in addition to your driving license
The car’s headlights must be switched on between 5 pm and 7 am
Drinking and driving
In Malaysia, you can only have 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood. If you are requested by law enforcement authorities to take a breathalyzer test and refuse, you can be fined between $2,272 (RM 10,000) to $6,815 (RM 30,000), alongside being suspended from holding a driving license for two years. You will be fined between $4,543 (RM 20,000) and $11,359 (RM 50,000) and have your license suspended for five years for a second conviction.
You will be fined between $11,359 (RM 50,000) to $22,717 (RM 100,000) and imprisoned for 10 to 15 years if you cause the death of someone while driving under the influence. You could have your license suspended for a minimum of 10 years. If you cause an injury to someone under the influence, you will be fined between $6,815 (RM 30,000) to $11,359 (RM 50,000), imprisoned for 7 to 10 years, and suspended your license for seven years.
If caught driving while intoxicated beyond the accepted limit, you will be fined between $2,272 (RM 10,000) to $6,815 (RM 30,000) and be imprisoned for a maximum of 2 years, with your license will be suspended for at least two years. Visitors to Malaysia are strongly advised never to drive under the influence as the laws are very stringent.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s political and commercial capital. It is also Malaysia’s largest city and is the center of modernization. The sparse colonial buildings will overshadow the shiny new skyscrapers adorn this city. The best symbol of Malaysia’s modernity is the Petronas Towers. They stand at 452 m (1,483 ft) and are the tallest twin towers in the world. There is a bridge between the two towers where the scenery is breathtaking, with cosmopolitan restaurants from top to bottom. Kuala Lumpur is a center for indigenous Malay cuisine. Still, it has top-tier restaurants in Chinese, Indian and European cuisine that can cater to any demand palate fancies. If you have time, check out the Half-Day Batu Caves Tour, the Half-Day Kuala Lumpur City Tour, and the Private Fireflies Tour and Seafood Dinner.
Sipadan Island is a paradise where you can gorge on breathtaking views of its tropical waters and lush vegetation. It is the centerpiece of Borneo’s island archipelago and home to Malaysia’s best diving and snorkeling spots. The island is a coral atoll surrounded by some of the world’s most colorful reefs. The island is covered with pristine beaches filled with white sand and tall palm trees that are idyllic getaways for couples and families. You can spend a few days exploring the island and finding your little private beach to unwind on before your vacation ends.
Taman Negara National Park
The Taman Negara National Park, situated in Peninsular Malaysia, has 4,343 square km of land. It can provide a one-of-a-kind experience that includes exploring a network of functioning villages connected by a river. The park is teeming with biodiversity, and some flora and fauna are present only in this rainforest. The Taman Negara rainforest is 130 million years old and one of the oldest surviving rainforests in the world. The diverse wildlife can be observed through a forest excursion or by enjoying a relaxing boat ride on the river.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Malaysia?
Having an IDP to drive in Malaysia is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can I use my EU driving license in Malaysia?
You may use your EU license for three months in Malaysia, but you will need an IDP alongside it.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Malaysia?
Since Malaysia was contracted to the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949, your permit will be valid for one year.
How long will transferring my license to a Malaysian License take?
Suppose there are no complications and your valid foreign license is from ASEAN or a country with a bilateral agreement with Malaysia; the process should take no longer than two weeks.
On which side do you drive in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, vehicles drive on the left side of the carriageway.