Driving grants you the freedom to go wherever you want, and an international driving permit in Ireland will enable you to freely drive around the country. While you do not necessarily need a permit to drive as a foreigner in Ireland, it is beneficial to obtain one anyway. Carrying an international drivers license in Ireland can help you feel more immersed in the culture and like a true Irish resident.

The process of acquiring an international drivers license in the USA is simple compared to that of a state drivers license process. However, you must first have a valid U.S. driver’s license to be permitted to drive in a foreign country. Also, it is important to be mindful of foreign driving laws and road rules.

Since Ireland is a European country, you must be acquaint yourself with the other side of the road and different speed measurements. Keep reading the guide below to learn about what you need to do to obtain an international driving license for Ireland.

What is an Irish International Driving Permit?

It is imperative to understand what an Irish international driving permit is if you are planning on driving around Ireland during your visit. For those asking “what is IDP?” it is a form of identification that allows you to drive in foreign countries. Essentially, it only translates your drivers license into 10 other languages, so you must have your valid US state driving license first.

This permit is accepted in 174 countries and contains your name, photo and driving information. Some of these international driving permit countries in Europe include Iceland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Russia and Belarus. Some countries do not require that you have one to drive, but many recommend it. Moreover, in certain countries, it is illegal to drive without one.

When is an international drivers license necessary in Ireland?

If you are traveling to Ireland for an extended period of time, it is essential to determine if you need an international drivers license or an Irish drivers license. Obtaining an Irish license is a lengthy process which includes living in Ireland for at least 12 months prior to applying. Fortunately, the international driving permit is valid for 12 months. After its expiration, you may qualify to apply for an Irish drivers license.

Travelers ask “Do i need an international driver’s license to drive in Ireland?” The answer is no, you do not need an IDP to drive in Ireland as a foreigner. Your U.S. driver’s license will suffice for 12 months. These rules differ from driving in the USA with a foreign license. In most US states, you can drive with a foreign license for three months, not 12, before being required to apply for a state license. However, with an IDP you can drive for much longer in the US before needing a valid US license.

How do I get an Irish International Driving Permit?

There are several ways to obtain an Irish international driving permit. For those wondering how to get an international driver’s license, the process is simple. First, you will need to complete an international drivers license application. As part of the application, you will need to submit the following:

  • Two original passport photos
  • Your U.S. driver’s license
  • A form of payment

The AAA international drivers license fee is significantly cheaper than that of a U.S. driver’s license. You must make certain that your current state driving license is up to date. It takes up to 10 business days to receive your license once your application has been processed.

You may obtain an IDP at most six months prior to your visit to Ireland and it will be valid for 12 months. With this permit, you are considered a tourist. If you plan to stay for more than 12 months, you will have to apply for an Irish license to continue driving.

How long do International Driving Permits last in Ireland?

International driving permits in Ireland are valid for 12 months of use. In fact, your U.S. state-approved driving license may also be used for 12 months. After that period you will either have to renew your IDP or begin the process of acquiring an Irish driving license.

Where can I get an Ireland International Driving Permit?

Many prospective applicants wonder where to get international drivers license for Ireland. You cannot go to your local drivers license office, such as the DMV, to apply for one. There are only two private entities in the United States that are authorized to issue an IDP. These are the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). This is why the international driving license is also often called the AAA international drivers license.

Drivers cannot obtain an international drivers license online. This is because you must supply two hard copies of photos. However, if you are unable to apply in person, you may send in your application and necessary materials in the mail.

Applicants who are already abroad cannot apply for an AAA international drivers license with a foreign office. They must send in their documents and application by mail to a US AAA or AATA. To be eligible to do this, however, your drivers license cannot be within six months of expiring, because International Driving Permits are awarded in conjunction with valid US driver’s licenses, not in place of them.

Tips for Avoiding International Drivers License Fraud

As previously mentioned, there are only two private U.S. associations permitted to distribute an international drivers license. However, there are other unauthorized private companies issuing fake IDPs. They can be found online or in person and are usually much more expensive than real international driving permits.

These fraudulent services typically seek out immigrants and non-native speakers claiming that the IDPs that they issue allows the individual to drive in the U.S. legally or use the fake permit as a valid ID. In fact, non-citizens and citizens alike can face severe legal consequences for using fake international drivers licenses in place of valid IDs.  

Driving Rules in Ireland

While an AAA international driving permit will you allow you to drive in Ireland, it is up to you to follow the Irish rules of the road. In Ireland, cars are driven on the left side of the road instead of the right. Speed limits signs and designation are posted in kilometers per hour (km/h) rather than miles per hour (mph).

While most cars display both measurements, it is essential that you learn to recognize the speed in Ireland while you are driving with an international drivers license as you do with American speed signs. Also, most of Ireland is not highly developed. It is primarily rural farmland with narrow roads with the occasional road crossing cow or tractor. Therefore, you must drive much slower to navigate these areas of the road.

In general, you only need to be 18 years of age to obtain an international driving permit. However, be mindful that you must be at least 30 years of age and not older than 79 years of age to rent a car in Ireland. There are restrictions if you are younger or older than these age limits.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.