What is an International Driving Permit or License
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 Mauritius?
As per the laws of the country, foreign visitors are allowed to drive in Mauritius based on their local driving license for a maximum period of four weeks. Tourists intending to stay in Mauritius for more than four weeks must hold a valid International Driving Permit to drive in the country as per Mauritian traffic regulations. However, you will not be able to rent a vehicle without an IDP, even within the initial four weeks.
What Do You Need To Apply for an IDP in Mauritius?
Applying for an IDP is simple, quick, and free of hassle. Documents required for the issuance of IDP are:
Copy of your valid Passport or your National Identity Card
Complete particulars of the driving license issued by your home country
Scanned image of your domestic license
A recent passport-size photograph
Payment of processing fee
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
The Geneva Road Traffic Convention treaty, recognized by Mauritius, is an international treaty that aims to ensure the development of uniform rules internationally for the safety of international road traffic. The contracting parties to the convention are bound to abide by the laws and regulations stipulated under the necessary measures within their country.
Being a contracting party, Mauritius must also develop and implement the road traffic regulations devised under the Convention. As per the rules of the convention, if you hold a valid IDP you will not be required to pass any test for driving in Mauritius as your IDP shows that you are competent enough to drive vehicles in a foreign country.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Mauritius:
An International Driving License or an IDP is not an unnecessary requirement that you may ignore while planning your visit to Mauritius. It is an internationally accepted document that comes with several benefits as listed below:-
Mauritius police force is bound to accept IDP as a legal document and to allow foreigners to drive freely during the validity period of IDP as long as they are not committing any road traffic offense(s).
Functionality as an ID
If you have security concerns and want to keep your passport under lock and key, your IDP can serve as an identification document. Most countries will allow you to use your IDP instead of your national ID card during traffic stops. This is useful if your ID card is in a language not recognized by the country you have traveled to.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Due to language or formatting differences, some processing issues may arise when deciphering the information on your driving license. An IDP allows traffic authorities to identify your details quickly. This is especially useful during emergencies.
Car rental companies
Most car rental companies, irrespective of the country they operate in, require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is because the United Nations recognizes IDPs as valid driving permits. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.
Peace of Mind:
Having an IDP with you gives you peace of mind as it proves your identity and makes you eligible to drive vehicles in case of any emergency while traveling around the world.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Mauritius:
Mauritian traffic law stipulates that non-citizens can drive in Mauritius for four weeks if they have a valid driving license. However, after four weeks in the country, they need to show a valid IDP to drive any vehicle in Mauritius.
The rest of the traffic regulations remain the same for both citizens and non-citizens. Mauritius’s traffic rules and regulations conform to the International Traffic Rules and Regulations. The traffic signs are also as per the international standards. Hence, you will not have any trouble while driving around the country. However, you can contact the traffic branch of the Mauritius police force in case any unfortunate situation arises.
When should I get a Mauritius Driver’s License?
A Mauritius driver’s license is mandatory for the citizens of Mauritius above the age of twenty-one years old. However, for the provisional driver’s license for an autocycle, the minimum age limit is fifteen (15), for a motorcycle, the minimum age is seventeen (17) years, and for the provisional license of a motor car, the minimum prescribed age limit is eighteen (18) years.
In addition to the citizens of Mauritius, foreigners may also be required to apply for a Mauritian Driver’s License if their stay in the country exceeds one year. The application for Mauritius Driver’s license must be accompanied by the following documents in case of non-citizens of Mauritius:
Copy of Passport
Marriage Certificate, if applicable
Original Work Permit/Residence Permit
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Mauritius:
If your local driving license expires during your stay in Mauritius, don’t panic. The process of renewal is simple. All you have to do is contact the competent authority in your country which has issued your local driving license in the first place. Almost all the countries have shifted the procedures for issuing and renewing driving licenses online; if not, you can do it by post. Just check the website of the competent authority and follow the given procedure. You should keep in mind that as soon as your domestic license expires, your IDP also becomes invalid. Hence, ensure that your domestic consent remains valid during your stay in a foreign country.
The same procedure applies to the renewal of IDP. Generally, renewing an IDP is not required as the validity period of an IDP is one year. However, if your IDP expires during your visit to Mauritius, you can renew your application through our website.
Car Rental in Mauritius:
There are several car rental agencies to pick from in Mauritius, and you can rent a car for $20 per day to $55 per day, depending on the type of vehicle you want to rent. Anyone above the age of 21 can rent a car in Mauritius; however, people below the age of 24 may have to pay a surcharge.
Further, carrying a valid driver’s license or a valid IDP is mandatory for renting a car in the country. The most commonly rented vehicle in Mauritius is the economy.
In addition to the above, while driving a rented vehicle, always keep the car rental contract with you. Make sure to follow speed limits while driving the vehicles. The good thing is that GPS installed in rented vehicles warns you about known speed camera spots.
Driving and Safety in Mauritius:-
You took the first right step by acquiring an IDP for driving in Mauritius. However, take one step ahead by familiarizing yourself with traffic rules ahead of time to avoid all kinds of trouble. Here are some of the things which may help you during your visit to Mauritius:
In Mauritius, cars drive on the left side of the road
The minimum driving age in Mauritius is twenty-one (21)
The allowed BAC limit is 0.05% in Mauritius
Follow the prescribed speed limits, i.e., 110 KPH on highways and 60KPH to 80 KPH on other roads.
The use of handheld mobile phones is strictly illegal
Wearing seat belts is mandatory not only for the driver of vehicle but also for all car passengers
Top 5 Destinations to Visit in Mauritius
Mauritius is an East African country with Port Louis as the capital city. The official language of Mauritius is English, and most of the population belongs to Hinduism. Mauritius is an island famous for its beaches, reefs, lagoons, and rich, vibrant history as the country is surrounded by a ring of dormant volcanoes, waterfalls, streams, and rivers.
The country of Mauritius is a tropical island that is known as the most popular honeymoon destination in the world. It is loved by celebrities for its top-notch services and luxurious hotels. Here is a list of the five most beautiful destinations to visit on your trip to Mauritius:-
Chamarel is a small village in Rivière Noire District of Mauritius famous for seven colored piles of earth. The phenomenon of a colorful world has resulted from the cooling of volcanic rocks at different temperatures. The colors of the stones contain beautiful shades of reds, browns, and purples.
The village has several tourist attractions,s including Chamarel Waterfalls, Geopark, and Tortoise Park. The village also offers a coffee shop where tourists can enjoy their coffee while absorbing the scenic view around them. The visitors can also purchase items from souvenir shop to gift to their friends and family or to have a memory of their visit to this beautiful place.
Eau Bleue Waterfall
If you are looking for a beautiful yet under-crowded and less explored destination on your visit to Mauritius, Eau Bleue Waterfall is waiting for you to explore this beauty. This waterfall is situated in Cluny village and comprises six waterfalls. The emerald water of this waterfall is considered one of the clearest in the country of Mauritius.
It is advised to take along a local guide if you want to visit this waterfall also don’t forget to pack food, drinks, a life jacket, and abseiling equipment while preparing for the location. The drive to Eau Bleue Waterfall takes about 45 minutes from the Port Louis area; however, if you are driving from Grand bay, it will take one hour to reach the destination.
Enjoy the ride, swim in the refreshing water, or watch the mesmerizing view in awe and appreciate the beauty of nature. Have fun.
Pamplemousses Botanical Garden
The original name of Pamplemousses Botanical Garden is Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanic Garden (SSR Botanic Garden) near Port Louis. It is one of the oldest botanical gardens spread over an area of around 37 hectares (91 acres). The botanical garden is famous for the giant-sized water lilies spread around the pond.
You will find 650 varieties of plants, including but not limited to Baobabs, the ineluctable Giant Water Lilies, the Palmier Bouteille, eighty-five types of palm trees, and many more. What you will get to see there is not only plants but also the thrilling view of wildlife and giant tortoises. This beautiful botanical garden is one of its kind and worth a visit.
The botanical garden is not only beautiful but also easily accessible. You can reach the destination by air and if you crave a romantic luxury cruise, you can also choose the water route.
La Vanille Crocodile Park
If you wish to observe and enjoy the wildlife even more closely, pay a visit to La Vanille Crocodile Park where you will see Nile Crocodiles, Tenrecs, iguanas, and eels and turtles from Madagascar and Seychelles. You can also see fossils of extinct animals, including the elephant bird of Madagascar.
This park was created in 1985 and is spread over 3.5 hectares. You must have heard about the Domino, the oldest and largest tortoise in the world. Well, La Vanille Crocodile Park is Domino’s home but Domino is not the only one you will meet at the park.
The park is also home to several other animals, including monkeys, bats, deer, geckos, wild boars, and carp. The collection doesn’t end here, you will also get to see beetles, butterflies, and other insects of all shapes and colors. Sounds fun, right? What are you waiting for? Pack your bags, Mauritius is waiting for you.
Street Arts in Mauritius
The beauty of Mauritius is not limited to waterfalls, botanical garden, and crocodile park only but you witness and enjoy the beauty all around even while roaming around the city. Thanks to Porlwi by Light, who started an art festival in 2015 to spread awareness aboutMauritius’se history and cultural heritage. A total of 60+ art pieces have been made all around the country.
Some of the art pieces are made on old buildings of Port Louis, while others are Bourban Street, China Town, and Caudan Waterfront. If you wish to enjoy the art to the fullest, Sundays are the best ways to visit, being less crowded. You can take as many pictures as you want or appreciate the murals by visiting each one of them.
You will be amazed by the vibrant colors of the murals and the unmatched skills of the artists who have painted these murals. If art is what you love the most, take time to find these pieces and appreciate your favorite artists’ work.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I drive a vehicle in Mauritius without having an IDP?
Yes, you can drive legally for a maximum period of four weeks without having an IDP. However, after four weeks of stay in Mauritius, an IDP is a must to drive within the country.
Does IDP allow me to ride a bike in Mauritius?
An IDP is translated version of your domestic driving license. Hence, if your license is valid for riding a bike in your own country, so does your IDP.
Can a holder of a learner license apply for IDP in Mauritius?
No, a learner license does not make you eligible to apply for an IDP. You must hold a valid driver’s license to apply for an IDP.
Is IDP a substitute for my driving license?
No, an IDP is not a substitute for your local driving license. Rather it is the translated version of your domestic license. Hence, IDP remains valid only during the validity period of your local license.
What are the peak hours in Mauritius?
You may encounter heavy traffic during peak hours i.e. 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM.
Is vehicle Insurance mandatory in Mauritius?
Yes. Insurance of vehicles is compulsory in the country. However, the level of cover and benefits is to be decided by the owner of the vehicle.
On which side of the road are vehicles driven in Mauritius?
Vehicles are driven on the left-hand side, and priority is given to vehicles coming from the right.
What is the drinking and driving rule in Mauritius?
If your BAC limit is more than 0.05%, you will be considered under influence of alcohol and shall not be allowed to drive in Mauritius.