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 Saint Kitts and Nevis?
St Kitts and Nevis (or the federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis) accept the International Driving Permit to drive vehicles on their roads. If you possess a valid IDP, there is no need to apply for a local license for a year from the date of issue. However, it is always good to check with your embassy for updated guidelines before planning on driving in visiting countries. An IDP, however, is not only for driving permission but also can serve as a valid form of ID. It has driver information, which can be used for renting cars and apartments.
For almost 90 days, you can drive without needing an IDP in St Kitts and Nevis. In such cases, carrying your passport and driving license from your home country is mandatory. However, there is always a chance that your documents may not be readable due to language barriers, and you may either have to hustle or pay charges to get away from such sticky situations.
On the other hand, if you carry a valid IDP, you can sail through the checkpoints as it is legally acceptable and has multiple translations of your essential information. Because of this, holding an International Driving Permit is always advised if you want to drive a motor vehicle in a foreign country.
How do you apply for an IDP in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
You can apply for an IDP through our website. Our website is a legitimate portal where you can use IDP for any country which recognizes it. You must submit a copy of your national driving license, necessary details, and an updated photo, and you will receive your IDP (for prices, see our pricing page). Once we verify your documents, you will be an official holder of an IDP.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
United Nations has approved many agencies to allocate valid IDPs. Any government agency that agrees to do so has to follow the UN Road Traffic Convention guidelines. There are three conventions related to this – Paris (1926), Geneva (1949), and Vienna (1968). Many countries have already agreed to be a part of these conventions. They recognize and allow IDP as both identification proof and driver’s license. You can find all these details on our website for various counties. As far as St Kitts and Nevis are concerned, they don’t follow any road traffic convention. However, the country accepts IDP as a valid document. You may want to get it through our website before visiting the country.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Functionality as an ID
In a foreign country, you must keep your vital documents safe – your passport and driver’s license. Having an IDP can serve as your identification instead of these documents. You can use IDP and keep your passport and driver’s license safe whenever required. It already has your information in multiple languages, which makes it perfect to use overseas.
Quicker traffic authority stops
In St Kitts and Nevis, you can use a valid driver’s license from your home country for about 90 days after arrival. However, it may be in a language the traffic department may not understand even though you may carry your passport and other documents; your time at the checkpoints may be drastically increased because of this verification process. The confusion may lead to an unnecessary situation, which can be avoided by getting an IDP as it has all your information translated into widely spoken languages and is a valid document approved by the UN so that it will be recognized by the officer validating your identification. In this case, they can quickly note your details and contact you better in any emergency.
Car rental companies
An IDP is a valid driver’s license that can be used anywhere in the world (apart from the country of issue). Car rental companies worldwide will therefore know and accept this document and will not deny giving you a car if you meet all the other criteria (can’t charge you any extra money for missing documents). If you don’t have an IDP, they may either deny service, ask for additional information, or charge you more. You may want to avoid such a situation and not hamper the minimal time in such a unique country.
Laws requiring an IDP
Although St Kitts and Nevis have not formally adopted any UN road traffic conventions, they recognize and require an IDP for driving around the country. They have an agreement with the US for traffic rules and regulations. The US has agreed to the Geneva convention, and the IDP is mandatory and valid for a year. St Kitts and Nevis also require a local driver’s permit, which costs XCD 62.50 (US $24) for three months or XCD 125.00 (US $45) for one year. You can get that through their traffic department or car rental agency. Without an IDP, you can drive around the place only for around 90 days. Don’t forget that an IDP also serves as ID proof for renting a car and a place to stay.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Short-term visitors vs. residents
For a short visit to St Kitts and Nevis, you can drive a motor vehicle using an IDP. You will also have to get a local permit from the inland revenue department or the car rental agency. It will cost you $62.50 XCD (US $24) for three months or $125.00 XCD (US $45) for one year. The IDP should be valid only for a year, as per the Geneva convention. Therefore, if you plan to stay for a long time, you may want to get St Kitts and Nevis’s local driver’s license.
How long can you drive with a foreign license?
With a foreign license, you can drive in St Kitts and Nevis for up to 90 days, provided you carry a valid passport and driver’s permit from your respective home countries. Therefore, if you plan on staying for more than 90 days, you must get an IDP. It will be valid for a year in St Kitts and Nevis, which can be used for identification, renting a car, and renting a place to say.
When should I get a Driver’s License in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
You might want to consider getting a local driver’s license if you plan to stay for a long-term basis.
How to get a driver’s license in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Firstly, you must be above 17 years of age and proof. Using a passport, birth certificate, or social security card, you can obtain a learner’s permit from the inland revenue department. This permit will expire by the end of the year. The cost of the Learner Authority for one year is USD 24. On the 1st day of July, the fees are reduced to USD 12. Later, upon passing the driving test and submitting the necessary documents, you get your driver’s license.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
There is no provision for the renewal of IDP. It is a one-time document for Saint Kitts and Nevis. If you plan on staying for more than a year, you better get a local driving license.
Renewing your Original Driver’s License
Your license expiry date in St Kitts and Nevis is always the same as the date on your birth certificate. The renewal window is 30 days before the license is declared expired by the inland revenue department. The permit will be renewed for three years for a fee of USD 70. The overseas drivers will have to renew using an online portal as indicated on their website.
Renting a car in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Requirements for car rental
In Saint Kitts and Nevis, the minimum age to drive is 17, but to rent a car, you must be at least 25. Some car renting agencies may charge you extra if you are younger than 25. You must have a valid driving license or an IDP and buy the temporary license as prescribed additional agency depending on the car rental agency, but it is not mandatory. Hence, please be aware of the protocol and essential documents before renting the car and avoid scams. The local permit should cost you no more than $62.50 XCD (US $24) for three months or $125.00 XCD (US $45) for one year.
Deposit and costs for car rental
Typically, you can skip paying a deposit for renting the car by refueling the tank to full-to-full conditions (receiving the vehicle with a full tank and giving it back with a full tank). Generally, a 10% deposit is levied on these islands. Various renting options are available according to the budget – economy cars are available at around $45/day (average price of $57/day on other vehicles). The gas will be available at $0.98/liter. The gas stations are small but scattered around the islands.
Usually, when you rent cars in other countries, you are asked to get third-party insurance. Saint Kitts and Nevis also have similar rules, and this package comes with rental packages on the islands. This insurance will protect you from any damage to the other party in case of accidents. It is also recommended to get liability and medical insurance additionally. If caught without insurance, the motor vehicle will be seized, and you will pay a hefty penalty.
Driving and Safety in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Driving regulations and code
Before hitting the roads in Saint Kitts and Nevis, you should understand the rules and regulations for driving from the inland revenue department, car rentals, or driving schools nearby. People in Saint Kitts and Nevis drive on the left side of the road and overtake from the right. Wearing a seat belt is mandatory and drunk driving is illegal. Horns are often used as greeting and not as warnings on these islands. Also, if you have a child below 12 or weighing less than 40 pounds, they should wear the seat belt or be restrained in a removable seat. You can request the car rental agency for a removable seat for your child.
Speed limits to follow
Please keep in mind that St Kitts and Nevis are small islands. Therefore, the speed limits here are much lower than in larger countries. The national maximum speed limit is 63 km/h (40 mph). The speed limit for urban areas is 31 km/h (20 mph), while the maximum speed limit is 63 km/h (40 mph) in rural areas. The rural areas here indicate outside of built-up areas.
Drinking and driving
Drinking and driving is a punishable offense in the federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis. You can face up to a year in jail and a hefty fine. The permissible limit is the same as the US, 0.08% or 80mg per 100ml of blood.
Road conditions have considerably improved in the federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis in the past decade. The road is now reasonably well paved. However, some streets are still narrow and poorly marked. Drivers often stop or park on the side or sometimes stop in the middle of the road to visit other drivers. However, driving around the island is easy—a major road circle around the island, starting at Basseterre, cutting down to the southern peninsula.
Driving tips in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Booking a car at least one day before your trip will get you a below-average price. Also, economical cars are way cheaper than other category cars.
Rental cars are not allowed on the car ferry. Tourists driving cars are not allowed to take their vehicles through the ferry.
Check with the car rental agency if they offer the car exchange service on either island for smoother traveling throughout St Kitts and Nevis.
The roads are poorly lit, so avoid traveling at night, especially drunk driving.
Top 3 destinations to visit in Saint Kitts and Nevis (or the federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis)
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park (Northern St Kitts)
It is a UNESCO world heritage (since 1999) site constructed by the British in 1690. It has a massive hilltop compound with citadels, bastions, and barracks that will leave a lasting impression. You will be shown a documentary here about the history of the island and the construction of the fortress. You will have to pay $10 for adults and $5 for children, with an additional $10 for the audio guide. You can then visit the polygonal Fort George, stand on the gun deck, and see the vast sea; imagine the cannon being fired. There are exhibits a floor below, where you can see the pieces from the history. You can hire a cab to go further on the 0.75-mile-long road that goes to the fortress. You can also visit the Wingfield Estate in the Northern Kitts.
Botanical Gardens (Nevis)
Nevis’s botanical gardens host a diverse tropical plant kingdom with a backdrop of Mt Nevis. It is very close to Charlestown and all the major resorts around Nevis. The place contains tropical flowers, shrubs, orchid terraces, dolphin fountains, and water lily ponds. They originally are owned by Montpelier Estates. The origins of the tropical plants contained there span the globe. The Flamboyant or Poinciana (Delonix regia) is the country’s national flower, accompanied by over 100 species of palms.
Oualie Beach (Nevis)
Oualie beach (pronounced as wah-lee) is known to be soft and less rocky compared to some other shorelines on this island. The water at this beach is primarily calm and warm. It is located in Nevis, north of Pinney’s. It is easy to reach from St. Kitts. You can walk to the shore as water taxis can pull directly next to the dock. Only two companies represent Ouali’s shore for rental kiosks for water sports. You can enjoy the free-flowing margaritas as long as you want with the free chairs and hammocks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Am I required to have an IDP in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
Almost every country requires you to carry an IDP apart from your national driver’s license. There may be temporary measures to drive without IDP for a few weeks. But having IDP gives you the benefits of a driver’s license and a valid ID for renting a car and a place to stay.
Can you drive with a foreign license in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
You can drive for 90 days with a foreign license in Saint Kitts and Nevis. You require a valid national driver’s license and passport.
Is there any online portal to apply for IDP in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
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 Saint Kitts and Nevis?
One year from the date of issue.
What is the temporary license in Saint Kitts and Nevis? Do I need it if I have an IDP?
The temporary license is a must for all visitors wishing to drive a rental/own car around the islands. You must have it even if you have an IDP. The local permit should cost you no more than $62.50 XCD (US $24) for three months or $125.00 XCD (US $45) for one year.
On which side do you drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
Cars are driven on the left side of the road; the overtaking is done from the right side. Pedestrians walk on the left side of the road.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis?
You can get an IDP if your license is not in English and you don’t plan to stay for long. It contains a translation of your essential information in multiple languages.