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 does an IDP work in Mozambique?
Mozambique requires you to carry your IDP for driving on their roads. In any case, an IDP is beneficial as it will also serve as a piece of identification information in foreign countries for you to book rental cars or properties.
If you are from Tripartite Transport & Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP) beneficiaries, you don’t need any additional documents other than your license for driving in Mozambique. You can also carry your passport and driving license without an IDP for around 90 days. However, you may face trouble because of language issues. It is a common occurrence that the traffic police officer may not recognize the language of your document at checkpoints which may require you to spend extra time until appropriate translations are done. This can be quickly settled if you carry an IDP as it has translations in the most recognized languages and is an internally and legally recognized document.
How do you apply for an IDP in Mozambique?
You can apply for an International Driving Permit through our website.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
The United Nations have authorized many agencies worldwide to allocate and recognize a valid International Driving Permit. The government agency which has agreed to this must follow the UN Road Traffic Convention guidelines. There have been three such conventions – Paris (1926), Geneva (1949), and Vienna (1968). Many countries have agreed to be a part of either of these conventions and consider IDP as an identification document and a driver’s license. Before planning to visit any country, you can look up their policies related to this on our website.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Mozambique
Functionality as an ID
IDP is a document that translates your essential information into widely spoken languages. When asked, you can keep these important documents safe and only show IDP, as it already has all the information needed. Thus, you can ensure the safety of your sensitive documents in foreign countries.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Although you can drive with your passport and national driver’s license for 90 days before getting a local license in Mozambique, the official authorities may not understand the language of your documents. If you have an IDP, it will already have translations in multiple languages. Presenting your IDP in these instances ensures you are handing over a comprehensible document to the officials for them to note down your details during regular checking quickly. Your IDP can provide information and contact details for faster help in emergencies like an accident.
Car rental companies
The IDP has been approved by the UN and is recognized worldwide. Service providers like car rental companies will be aware of this document and save you any hassle when requiring their service. They may refuse to serve you without this document or ask for an additional copy or fee.
Laws requiring an IDP
Mozambique is a beneficiary of the Tripartite Transport & Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP). That means all the countries have agreed to have common road transport policies, laws, regulations, standards, and systems for practical cooperation and communication between counties participating in the Tripartite. The IDP is a valid proof of identity and will facilitate driving in Mozambique for one year. During this period, you are not required to apply for any driving license in Mozambique. If you are not found with an IDP, you may be fined excessively from $15 – $78 and face some prison time.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Mozambique
Short-term visitors vs. residents
If you plan on visiting Mozambique for a short term, you can drive legally using an International Driving Permit. However, if you plan on staying for an extended period, you may want to convert your original national driving permit to the local driver’s license (in Portuguese) in Mozambique.
How long can you drive with a foreign license?
You can legally drive your vehicle for up to 90 days with a foreign license and passport alongside your IDP.
When should I get a Driver’s License in Mozambique?
Getting a driver’s license will be both tedious and expensive in Mozambique, especially when a foreign driver is involved. The IDP can be acquired following a straightforward process, valid for up to three years. But there is no provision to renew it for foreign drivers. In this scenario, applying for a new license would be advised. The wise option here would be to go for a license translation based on your previous license. You can request an official translation of your national driving license to a local driving permit in Mozambique. After that, you can get another copy of your driving permit when you return to your country. By obtaining a provincial license to drive your vehicle, you will avoid tussling with bureaucracy and long hauls at the traffic stop.
How to get a driver’s license in Mozambique?
There are two ways to go about this for a foreign driver. Either you can convert your existing permit into a Mozambican license or apply online (start the regular application) to book an appointment for a driving test.
If you go with the first option, you must surrender your overseas driver’s license in replacement for your new one. You can any time redeem another copy once you return home.
However, if that is going to be an issue for you, you may want to consider the second option. The only drawback with the second option is that the test is only in Portuguese. You will have to figure out how to get through the test, which needs a 60% score. The application process involves submitting the model 19 form, proof of address, a copy of your passport, police clearance certificate, updated photo, and a fee of around $120. You will receive your driver’s license in Mozambique once you have completed the documents and passed the test.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Mozambique
Renewing your International Driving Permit
To renew your IDP, you can do so hassle-free from our website.
Renewing your Original Driver’s License
Before six months of the expiry of your driver’s license, you can apply for it to be renewed. This can be done online or, in some instances, may require you to return to your original country to undergo an eye test.
Car Rental in Mozambique
Requirements for car rental
In Mozambique, the minimum age for driving is 17, but the minimum age to rent is 23. Car rental companies will charge you an extra fee if you are below 25. You will need a valid driving license (IDP is preferred), a passport, and a credit card to book a car at almost all car rentals there.
Deposit and costs for car rental
Usually, you can get out of paying a deposit for renting the car by agreeing to full-to-full conditions (accepting the vehicle with a full tank and returning with a full tank). However, in general, a 10% deposit is charged in Mozambique. A variety of renting options are available according to the budget – economy cars are available at around $40. The fuel charges are about $1.1 for diesel and $1.2 for unleaded. The renting cost remains almost the same all around the year. The prices are kept low due to healthy competition in Mozambique. The cheapest car hire company is Europcar, and they offer Volkswagen Polo Vivo for as little as $286 per week.
Generally, every country will ask you to get third-party insurance while renting a car. In Mozambique, the same rule applies, even if you have insurance while bringing your vehicle into the country. Ensure that these charges are included while renting the car – the third-party insurance. Failure to have the same will get your vehicle seized, and you will have to pay a $10 fine. The third-party insurance will ensure that the other party is paid for in case of accidents. You may also want to take liability and medical insurance additionally.
Driving and Safety in Mozambique
Driving regulations and code
Generally, renting a car in a foreign country is advised to get accustomed to the local driving rules and regulations via the rental company, road transport agency, or driving schools. In Mozambique, the enforcement of traffic laws is not adequate. Vehicles drive on the left side of the road. There are very few road signs and traffic lights installed. Using a seat belt is compulsory for the driver and all passengers. Children under 12 must be secured in a child restraint, while enforcement of this particular rule is poor. Also, checkpoints are ubiquitous, and not having the necessary documents may get you fined excessively.
Speed limits to follow
You must be alert about the speed of your vehicle as both fixed and mobile speed cameras are installed and operated in Mozambique. The maximum speed limit on urban roads is 60 km/hr (37 mph), on rural roads, it is 120 km/hr (74 mph), and on motorways, there is no maximum speed limit.
Drinking and driving
You must avoid drinking at all costs if you are driving in Mozambique. The alcohol limit is 60mg per 100ml of blood – which means you will be crossing this limit even after one drink. Despite this limit, drunk driving accidents happen, and the laws are more stringent than ever. Not only will you pay fines in the range of $100, but you may also face jail time.
Roads are primarily unpaved in Mozambique and are poorly lit. The surface of the streets connecting important capitals is good. The EN4 toll road linking Maputo to South Africa is highly maintained. In 2019, a hurricane hit Mozambique, with the streets seriously affected (repair works are still ongoing). Deep potholes are a factor to consider and are a threat to driving. Livestock often wanders on the road and lays in the middle at night for warmth. Pedestrians’ infrastructure is not to par, and the drivers usually ignore them.
Driving tips in Mozambique
It is illegal to drive on beaches
Military police in camouflage uniforms and customs officials in blue trousers and light blue shirts are allowed to search your vehicle at their discretion
Police may carry out random breath tests for alcohol usage
Pedestrians’ infrastructure is underdeveloped (pedestrians and vehicle accidents are highly common. Avoid going out for walks at night on isolated roads or in well-known tourist areas)
A road trip outside the city or night travel is considered risky
Public transportation is often regarded as unsafe, so driving vehicles in and around cities is recommended
In case of any emergency, contact the nearest police station (the police phone number is 119. Be sure to obey police signals to avoid paying fines, which will often be hefty)
Top 3 destinations to visit in Mozambique
Mozambique Island and Fort Sao Sebastian
Most islands in Africa need an overladen ferry or expensive airfare to reach. Not Ilha de Mocambique. It is connected to the mainland via a 3.8 km (around 2.4 miles) bridge called the Mozambique Island Bridge. The Portuguese influence is all over the place, and you will find the remnants of their occupation from the 16th century. The island is filled with narrow streets, and a promenade runs along the coast. Fort Sao Sebastian should not be missed on this island. It stands in its original structure and is one of the oldest landmarks in the southern part of Africa. You can also visit the ancient Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte.
Maputo is Mozambique’s capital and one of the most developed cities there. It has a European ambiance with modern architecture. You can visit the municipal market to see the variety of spices and vegetables the place offers. Another strange place to visit is the Maputo Train Station. It is a significant landmark as it is an outstanding piece of architecture designed by A. Eiffel, the inspiration for the Eiffel tower. Another good place to see would be the Natural History Museum. You will find the rich culture of Mozambique through many art galleries, museums, and similar essential landmarks.
Vamizi Island is located in the Qurimbas Archipelago and has white-sanded beaches. Although the flight to this island is a little on the costlier side and requires some transportation effort, the efforts will be worth the travel. It is one of the best fishing spots in East Africa, with a guaranteed catch of various fish species. Apart from fishing, you can enjoy stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, dinghy, and dhow sailing. With some prior notice, kite sailing can also be made available there. Vamizhi island also has different see-food cuisines to relish. Although the prices are slightly high, the entire experience will outweigh the monetary value.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Am I required to have an IDP in Mozambique?
We highly recommend having an IDP when traveling to Mozambique, as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can you drive with a foreign license in Mozambique?
You can drive for 90 days with a foreign license in Mozambique. Please check with your embassy before arriving to make sure.
Is there any online portal to apply for IDP in Mozambique?
You can apply for an IDP through our website. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for any queries.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Mozambique?
Your IDP will be valid for one year.
Is there any portal to check traffic status in Mozambique?
You can visit https://www.viamichelin.com/web/Traffic/Traffic_info-Mozambique to get live traffic updates and plan your trips.
On which side do you drive in Mozambique?
People drive on the left side of the road in Mozambique.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Mozambique?
If your license is not printed in English and you don’t plan to stay for long, you can get IDP. An IDP has a translation of your essential information in multiple languages.