International Driving Permit Sweden
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.
In comparison, 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 Sweden?
You can drive in Sweden indefinitely with a foreign driver’s license, subject to a few restrictions. If your driving license is not in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English, German, or French, you must have an international driver’s permit in Swedish. While most Swedish officials can process your driver’s license in most of those languages in Stockholm, they may struggle to do so in more rural towns and villages. It is recommended to carry an IDP when traveling unless your driver’s license is in Swedish. You may also use your international driver’s permit as an official identification document in Sweden.
How do you apply for an IDP in Sweden?
You can apply for your IDP on our website.
How long does it take to get an IDP?
You can get your digital international driver’s permit in as little as 20 minutes if you go for the Express Order option on our website. If you go for the standard option, you will get your digital IDP in your email box within 2 hours. The official printed IDP will take 2 to 30 working days to reach you. The speed of delivery will depend on which delivery option you choose and the location of your chosen address.
United Nations Agreements on Road Traffic
There have been three International Motor Traffic Conventions, during which many countries were contracted to honor international driver’s permits. The conventions were held in Paris in 1926, Geneva in 1949, and Vienna in 1968. Countries contracted to either of the first two conventions honor IDPs for one year, and countries contacted to the third convention honor IDPs for three years. The United Nations has authorized institutions in each country to issue international driving permits.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Sweden
Functionality as an ID
One major worry travelers have is that they might lose their passport or national ID. An international driver’s permit is an excellent alternative as a legal identification document. You can keep all your important documents locked away and use an IDP for all official purposes. This is especially helpful if your identification documents are in a language that is not internationally recognized.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
Several countries, just like Sweden, will allow you to drive on their roads with just your foreign driver’s license. They do this for ideological reasons and to promote tourism. However, when you move away from the more cosmopolitan centers, law enforcement authorities are ill-equipped to process licenses in languages other than their native or internationally recognized language. You are well-advised to take an international driving permit with you so that a police officer can quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way during traffic stops.
Car rental companies
Most car rental agencies in foreign countries are not well-equipped to decipher information on a foreign driving license unless it is in their native tongue or an internationally recognized language. Even if the country you travel to doesn’t require an international driver’s permit to drive on their roads, it can help when renting a vehicle. Carry an IDP when renting a car to reduce unnecessary delays and save precious vacation time.
Laws requiring an IDP
Sweden is contracted to the Geneva (1949) and Vienna (1968) International Conventions on Motor Traffic. However, it is pretty liberal in its traffic policies. You must only carry an international driver’s permit if your license is not in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English, German, or French. Your IDP can have either a one-year or three-year duration. You can keep renewing your IDP and driving license to drive indefinitely in Sweden without converting your driver’s license to a Swedish one.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Sweden
Short-term visitors vs. residents
You are allowed a maximum visit visa of 90 days in Sweden, and you can extend it if you haven’t lived in the Schengen area during the past 180 days at the end of your 3-month period. Like in most western European countries, you are considered a tax resident if you live consecutively in Sweden for six months. You will be eligible for a social security scheme at this point. You should have had a legal resident status for five years and prove that you can support your family before being granted Long Term Resident status. If you are from a Nordic country (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland), you should register in the population register if you plan on living in Sweden for more than a year.
How long can I drive with a foreign driving license?
With some exceptions, you are allowed to drive on Swedish roads with a foreign driver’s license indefinitely. If you have a driver’s license from the European Economic Area (EEA) (which includes the European Union (EU)), you can drive in Sweden even after registering as living in Sweden. If you are from any other country, you may only drive in Sweden for one year after registering as living in Sweden, after which you should convert your license to a Swedish one. You should have a valid driver’s license from your country of origin. If you need an international driver’s permit, it must be unexpired.
When should I get a Swedish Driver’s License?
There are only a few reasons you may want to convert your driver’s license to a Swedish one. Suppose your driver’s license is in a language that is not processed quickly by Swedish traffic police. In that case, you may convert your license to save time on traffic stops and routine administrative procedures. If your driver’s license is in a language not sanctioned by Swedish authorities and you need an international driver’s permit to drive, you may save time and money if you plan to live in Sweden long-term. The same goes for if you have a driving license that needs to be renewed often in your home country, or the procedure for driving license renewal is cumbersome. Sweden is a rare country where you might want to hang onto your original driver’s license.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Sweden
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your IDP on our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
Some holidaymakers face the problem of renewing their driving licenses while on vacation. You need to contact the government department that initially issued your driving license in the original country to do so. Most countries will have an online portal to facilitate the process for expatriates. Unfortunately, some countries require vision and medical tests before driving license renewal, and you will have to return to the land of origin in this case. Ensure you keep enough time for the renewal process as unforeseen contingencies may occur.
Car Rental in Sweden
Requirements for car rental
You should be 18 to rent a car in Sweden, though some rental agencies may require you to be 20 and have two years of experience. Some companies have a surcharge for drivers under 25. You should have a valid driver’s license issued in the Latin alphabet. If your driver’s license uses another alphabet, you should have an international driver’s permit. You should also have a form of identification such as your passport, national ID, or IDP. Almost all car rental companies need a credit card in the driver’s name for billing.
Deposit and costs for car rental
When renting a vehicle in Sweden, you can expect your car rental deposit to be around $600 to $3,000. This amount will be blocked off if you use a credit card until the rental vehicle is returned. If you are using a debit card, there is an additional deposit of $300 required. Swedish daily rates are high as most car rental companies don’t operate in all Swedish towns. You also need newer, more reliable vehicles as the road conditions can be snowy or icy. You can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a day’s rental. A four-door sedan will roughly cost you $450. Luxury vehicles cost significantly more and expect to pay daily for add-ons such as GPS.
Like most countries, you must have third-party insurance to drive in Sweden. Third-party insurance covers damage to people, property, and animals due to your fault and does not cover damage incurred by yourself, your vehicle, or any goods you carry. The Swedish government also recommends you get total or partial theft and fire insurance. If you have not driven in Swedish road conditions, we recommend you take out Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to cover liability in an accident partially.
Sweden has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. However, there are a myriad of circumstances that may pop up, making you wish you had travel insurance. Please take note of the following points when selecting travel insurance for Sweden.
- The travel insurance package should cover hospital stays and medical procedures.
- It should cover emergency dental surgy.
- It should cover losses that have occurred due to canceled or lost deposits.
- It should cover any losses incurred due to lost or damaged baggage.
- It should cover excess charges not covered by your rental car insurance.
- It should cover the cost of a funeral in an extreme eventuality.
Driving and Safety in Sweden
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
You can get a free abridged version of the highway code on https://korkortonline.se/en/theory/ in English. Suppose you are looking for a basic overview of the driving guidelines. You can get it on that case https://trafikverket.ineko.se/Files/sv-SE/10449/RelatedFiles/100500_welcome_to_the_roads_of_sweden_utg3_201211.pdf. You can register for an adaptive theory test in English with an interpreter using https://bransch.trafikverket.se/en/startpage/driving-licence/obtaining-a-swedish-driving-licence/adapted-theory-tests/. If you want a full driver’s handbook in English, you can get one in significant bookstores in Stockholm. You will be given an updated driver’s handbook if you register for a driving course in Sweden’s primary driving schools.
Overtaking on Swedish roads
As you drive on the right side of the road in Sweden, you are expected to only overtake on the left side. However, there are some exceptions. You may overtake on the right side if there is a road constriction or if there are signs denoting that it is okay. You should check your mirrors and ensure enough space in front of the vehicle before overtaking. There may be signs on the road restricting overtaking due to poor visibility or a dangerous road segment.
Turning and right of way on Swedish roads
Motorists going on a major road have priority over motorists coming into the roadway from a minor road. In a junction between two similarly sized roads, the traffic moving forward and turning right have the right of way. Motorists turning left must wait until there is a sufficient gap in the oncoming traffic.
When approaching an intersection without signs denoting otherwise, you should slow down until you can come to an abrupt stop. You should give way to the motorists already on the roundabout when approaching a roundabout. You should match the traffic speed when merging with the roundabout traffic.
Speed limits on Swedish roads
Swedish speed limits vary from 30 km/h (19 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph). There are no set national speed limits for different zones, so you should pay attention to road signage. School and high pedestrian traffic zones have a speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph). Built-up areas often have speed limits of 50 km/h (31 mph). Roads outside built-up areas have speed limits ranging from 70 km/h (44 mph) to 100 km/h (63 mph). Two-lane roads outside built-up areas often have a speed limit of 100 km/h (19 mph), including rural roads in the north of Sweden. Motorways have a speed limit of 110 km/h (69 mph) to 120 km/h (75 mph). The highest speed limit of 120 km/h (75 mph) is reserved for the newest and best-maintained motorways in the South.
Tips for driving in Sweden
- Swedes drive on the right side of the road.
- You should be 18 to drive on Swedish roads.
- Dipped headlights are mandatory all-year round at all times of the day.
- Riders of motorcycles and mopeds are required to wear helmets.
- The driver and passengers of vehicles need to wear seatbelts unless seatbelts are not available.
- Ensure you have antifreeze in the windscreen fluid.
- Carry a shovel to clear snow when driving in the winter.
- Horns should be used only when an audible warning is required to prevent an accident.
- Even minor traffic offenses carry a fine of $394.
- Children under 135cm need to wear child seats and child restraints.
- Children under 140cm are only allowed when the front passenger airbag is turned off.
- Snow tires must be used from December to March.
- You can contact the Swedish Transport Administration at +46 771 24 24 24.
Drinking and driving
On Swedish roads, you can only drive with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.02%. This translates to an allowable limit of 0.1 mg per liter of air in your breath. Anything over that limit will result in imprisonment for up to 6 months. If you have over 0.5 mg per liter of breath, it is considered a severe impairment to driving. It is regarded as a gross violation if you have 1 mg per liter of air in your breath. The court will determine the fines and prison sentences meted out to violators. It should be noted that Sweden considers drunk driving a severe crime, and lengthy prison sentences are not uncommon.
Top 3 Places to Visit in Sweden
Stockholm is a one-of-a-kind city that spreads across 14 islands. It is the largest city in Scandanavia and serves as Sweden’s political and commercial capital. This city is home to the Nobel Prizes and was established in the 13th century. It is a city that is not as expensive as some other Nordic cities and offers free admission to 15 museums. You should see the Vasa Museum dedicated to a 17th-century warship, considered one of the best preserved wooden ships from that era. You should also visit the Swedish History, Modern Art, and Medieval museums on your trip. Other places of note are Skokloster Castle, the Royal Armoury, and Stockholm’s impressive City Hall.
The islands of this sprawling city are connected by bridges of various ages, adding beauty to the scenery. The city has numerous lush, green parks and neighboring forests that add to its charm. Stockholm has a blend of historical (medieval) and modern architecture that is interesting and pleasing to the eye. Most of the medieval architecture is present near the center of the city. You can explore the royal palace, picturesque bridges, canals, cobblestoned streets, and streets lined with cafes and shops. On your trip, you should also enjoy Stockholm’s Gröna Lund theme park, the Stockholm Zoo, and the Skansen Open-Air Museum.
Gotland is Sweden’s largest island. While the Baltic Sea surrounds it, its primary industry is not fishing. The top industries are agriculture, information technology, and tourism. The island is situated in the country’s South and receives more sunlight throughout the year. This reason has made Gotland the most popular tourist destination in Sweden. Tourists come here primarily to get their yearly dose of Vitamin D if they aren’t in the mood to migrate further South.
The only city in Gotland is Visby, and it still has a well-preserved wall from the Medieval era and has managed to preserve most of its historical buildings throughout the latter four centuries. You can explore more than 100 medieval churches and countless prehistoric sites on this unique island.
On the opposite end of Sweden, you come to the Swedish Lapland. This area is known for its almost year-round snowfall while enjoying sunshine around the clock during the summer. The winder darkness is almost mystical and is an experience you should enjoy at least once in a lifetime. You can observe the Northern Lights during the winter, even during most daytime hours. The Swedish Lapland is situated above the arctic circle and is home to Arctic flora and fauna. It is inhabited by the hardy Sami people who mastered living in the barren tundra and endless arctic forests thousands of years ago.
If you are a wilderness adventure seeker, you should experience Lapland’s raw wilderness by driving the 359 km (223 miles) Wilderness Way. You can start from the canoeing center at Stromsund and end the trip at Vilhelmina. You can see some traditional wooden huts still used by a few thrill-seekers and indigenous people at Fatmomakke. The traditional occupation for the Sami people in Jokkmokk is still reindeer herding, and you can buy reindeer hides here during the winter.
Am I required to have an IDP in Sweden?
While some countries will accept a foreign license for a while, many will require you to have an IDP.
Can I drive a vehicle with a foreign license in Sweden?
You may drive indefinitely if your license is from the EU or EEA. If your country is a signatory to the Geneva or Vienna conventions, the time limits are as determined during the respective convention. You may drive for up to 3 years with an international driver’s license and a valid foreign driver’s license.
Can I use my EU driver’s license in Sweden?
You may use your EU driver’s license indefinitely in Sweden. You can only drive for two years with an EU license after registering in Sweden, after which period you should exchange it for a Swedish one.
How long will my IDP be valid in Sweden?
Sweden was contracted to the Geneva and Vienna Motor Traffic Conventions in 1949 and 1968, so you may use your IDP for one year.
How long will transferring my license to a Swedish one take?
You can exchange your license for a Swedish one within eight weeks.
On which side of the road do you drive in Sweden?
In Sweden, vehicles drive on the right side of the road.
Do you need a foreign license printed in English to drive in Sweden?
No, but it is recommended that you have an IDP if your driving license is not in English.