How to Get an International Driver’s License in Australia

How to Get an International Driver's License in Australia

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Whether you were born in Australia and are looking to travel overseas or you come from someplace else but want to drive here in the country, getting an international driver’s license is simple as long as you complete the application and have the right documents.

Once you get your international driver’s license, you can then drive freely both outside or inside of Australia (depending on your reasons for getting the permit).

So, with that in mind, this guide on getting an international driver’s license in Australia walks you through the process of applying for your permit, so you can get behind the wheel legally while in the country or abroad.

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Good to Know

An international driver’s license is technically called an International Driving Permit (IDP) and is recognized by the United Nations as an official document that lets you drive in 174 countries.

Your international driver’s license is only valid for 12 months from the date that it was issued.

Also, whenever you use your international driver’s license, whether your an Australian abroad or a foreigner living in the country, you must have your Australian or home country driver’s license with you at all times.

Keep in mind that some car insurance policies may not cover you while driving on an international driver’s license.

Lastly, you can call the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) at 1300-053-052 (select option 1) to find out how to get coverage while on an international driver’s license.

Which License Can You Drive with in Australia?

We’ll get into how to apply for an international driver’s license in a minute, but first, let’s look at which licenses you can legally drive with while in Australia.

Australian Driver’s License

A valid Australian driver’s license lets you drive anywhere in Australia.

New Zealand Driver’s License

Anyone who has a valid driver’s license from New Zealand can legally drive in Australia without an international driver’s license for up to three months.

After that time, New Zealanders must apply for a local license.

Moreover, each Australian state is different from the next, so it’s a good idea to contact the state(s) you’ll be driving in for up-to-date rules and regulations.

Here’s a list of state agencies and their websites:

International Driver’s License

An international driver’s license lets you drive in Australia only if you’re carrying your home country driver’s license with you as well.

For Australian’s who want to drive abroad, you must get an international driver’s license and carry your Australian license with you at all times.

Can You Use Your Home Country License to Drive in Australia?

Technically, you can drive in Australia with your home country license if you’re a temporary visitor. The time length for “temporary” can vary with each state.

For instance, Queensland may have different time lengths than New South Wales, and so on. So, A good rule of thumb to follow is this: If you plan to stay in Australia for more than three months, get an international driver’s license or apply for a local license.

Lastly, if you’re coming from a country that issues driver’s licenses in a language other than English, you must have a notarized English translation of the license and carry it with you at all times. Or, you can just get an international driver’s license while in your home country.

Let’s now jump into the process of getting an international driver’s license in Australia.

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Applying for an International Driver’s License

The section below will show you the documents and steps you need to take to apply for an international driver’s license inside Australia, or as an Australian living abroad.

Inside Australia

You have two options when applying for a license in the country:

  • apply in person
  • apply online

Let’s dive in a little bit deeper.

In Person

Go to any Australian Automobile Association (AAA) office to apply for an international driver’s license over the counter. A list of office locations is listed on NSW.gov.au.

Here’s the list of documents you must bring with you:

  • application from AAA
  • your contact details
  • a photocopy of both sides of your Australian driver’s license
  • a recent passport-size photo (taken no longer than 6 months ago)
  • AUS$45 payment

If applying at an AAA office in person isn’t doable, you can also apply online.

Online

If you want to apply online, you can visit mynrmaidp.com.au and fill out the form.

The only difference from applying in person is that you’ll have to scan you Australian driver’s license and passport-sized photo.

Other than that, the process is the same.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your International Driver’s License?

In most cases, you can get your international driver’s license in minutes if you apply in person.

However, if you apply online, you’ll have to wait at least five business days for the application to process and for the license to be mailed out.

Outside of Australia

If you’re an Australian living outside of the country and want to apply for an international driver’s license, it is possible as long as you have a license from that country.

The requirements most likely vary between countries, however, applying with your license, passport, and two passport-size photos — plus the application fee — will usually do the job.

Now, on to You

Applying for an international driver’s license in Australia takes minutes if you do it in person. If you prefer to apply online, you’ll have to wait no longer than a week for it to be mailed to you.

After that, you can drive in any of the 174 countries throughout the world that accept an international driver’s license.

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John Wolcott is the global editor for ExpatDen. He's a New Jersey native who now lives in Bangkok with his wife and two daughters.

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