I wonder there is any advantage of getting an international driver's license in regard to traveling specifically.

I have an experience of being stopped to get through the immigration, and in the inspection room, I was asked to submit in my driver's license. It was neither an international driver's license nor written in English, but since it included my photograph, I got liberated from the interrogation.

Another situation my driver's license rescued me was when I contracted a SIM card in Taipei. The staff asked me to submit in another ID card attached with my photo as well as my passport, and my driver's license worked there.

So I wonder however, that if there is any advantage to getting an international driver's license, except the use of driving (I never drive). I faced one situation that the international driver's license worked while the normal license didn't; it was when I tried to open a bank account in Citi Hong Kong, and I was declined as I didn't have the international license.

But IMHO it is less related to traveling. So is there any merit of getting it in regard to traveling specifically?

  • 8
    Just as a point of terminology, you don't switch to an international driver's license (or International Driving Permit as it's usually known). It's an additional document that serves as a translation of your license information. You still need to carry your valid foreign license; the IDP isn't supposed to be accepted for anything on its own. Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 23:53
  • Some hotels like to keep a piece of ID as a deposit. Leaving your IDP might be better than leaving the actual license or your passport.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 7:10
  • @ZachLipton Sorry my English was not clear enough. I understand it is an additional document, though. Thank you for the correction.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


Not really and answer but a data point: I've had an international licence for over 20 years and have visited about 30-40 different countries since then. I haven't used the international licence a single time. Granted, I also have two national licences and two passports.

  • At country number 56 (Taiwan), I was asked for an international driver's license for the first time! So, my experience mirrors yours, it's very rare indeed that the standard license is not enough.
    – Itai
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 14:53
  • I've had similar experiences, admittedly in far fewer countries. I've driven in about half a dozen European and roughly the same SE Asian countries over the last 20 or so years and never once asked to present my international driver's license. Everyone's always been happy with my passport or US driver's license.
    – delliottg
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 17:01

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