International driver’s licence 101

International driver’s licence 101

What is an international driver’s licence exactly?

It’s a multi-language version of your Canadian driver’s license to make it easier to read by local authorities in other countries.

It entitles you to drive for one year in a foreign country without having to pass any tests.

It indicates the classes of vehicle you are allowed to drive and any health conditions you may have, like needing eyeglasses or contacts.


It does not replace…

  • Your passport, which is the official document you must use to visit foreign countries
  • Your Canadian driver’s licence, which you must keep with the international driver’s licence

When do you need one?

Your Canadian driver’s licence is valid in the United States and Mexico, so you don’t need to get an international driver’s licence there.

For other countries, you should always refer to the Travel Advice and Advisories website to check if an international driver’s licence is needed where you will be travelling.

International driver’s licences are granted to persons aged 18 years and over with a valid driver’s licence issued by their province of residence.

Where do you get one?

The CAA is the only agency authorized to issue an international driver’s licence, however you don’t have to be a CAA member to apply.

You can go directly to a CAA office or apply by mail.

You will need:

  • A valid driver’s licence
  • 2 identical passport-format photos (colour or black and white), which you must sign

The cost is under $30.

Before you leave

Each country has its own traffic laws and an international driver’s licence, so read up on its road safety rules and regulations, and check your car insurance… to avoid any problematic situations!