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Everything you ever wanted to know about... applying for an IDP (International Driving Permit)

Here's what an IDP looks like (International Driving Permit)

With March 29th looming and the announcement from the DVLA that drivers will now likely require an IDP (International Driving Permit) when driving across Europe we were curious to discover how this would impact drivers so decided to head on down to our local post office to apply for one.

Armed with a photo card driving licence, 1 x passport size photo, £5.50 in cash and a fictitious trip planned through France and Spain we approached the counter ready to apply for an IDP.

Immediately upon asking for an IDP it was evident the post office customer assistant (and the entire team) were eager to help having not yet had a request. After providing the dates of travel and the countries we would be driving through the post office team enthusiastically began to look in their IDP pamphlet to ascertain which International Driving Permit we would need.

Surprisingly due to the fact we would be travelling to both France and Spain it became apparent we would in fact require 2 different permits (a 1968 permit for France and a 1949 for Spain).

This realisation meant that we were in fact now light of the application requirements and needed an additional passport size photo and another £5.50. Fortunately, the post office had a cash machine and a working passport photo booth, so we withdrew £20 and paid £6 to obtain another dodgy looking passport picture and ensured we had another £5.50 to hand over to the customer assistant for the second IDP application.

After 10 minutes we reproached the counter and were now ready to progress our application for our International Driving Permits.

It soon became apparent through application that the process wasn’t utilising the latest technology to obtain a permit but in fact required the customer assistant to transcribe by hand the details from our licence to the relevant 12-page paper permits through use of a pen and a stamp.

The customer assistant carefully began completing requirements which appeared to include the following:

  • Post office branch number the application was processed at

  • Date of application / valid until date

  • Driving licence number

  • Personal Details

  • Photo ID (confirmed by an official stamp)

  • Last name

  • First names

  • Place of birth

  • Date of birth

  • Address

  • Signature

  • Class of vehicles entitled to drive (denoted on driving licence - confirmed by stamp)

  • Any disqualifications

Whilst the requirements the customer assistant had to complete on each permit were the same each permit differed in terms of layout and also appeared to have different valid until dates:

  • IDP 1968 = 3 years (France)

  • IDP 1949 = only valid for 1 year (Spain)

After 10 minutes processing both applications were now complete, the post office staff had completed their 1st IDP’s, we both had a entertaining time seeing how modern technology had advanced and we left with the appropriate International Driving Permits to travel on our fictitious journey through France and Spain.

For those wondering what a post digital world might look like, here’s our IDP’s >

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