The international driver’s license, more formally known as the international driving permit (IDP), is your ticket to exploring the roads of almost every country in the world. Travel tours are great, but the best way to explore a country is by yourself, preferably with a map in hand and at the wheel of a rented car.
The IDP is a powerful tool that will translate your local driving license into an internationally recognized permit, which is a huge perk for travelers looking to take a drive in foreign countries. The IDP is regulated by the United Nations, and is valid in the countries that are part of international motor traffic conventions—which is most countries.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting your hands on the Philippine International Driving Permit or PIDP.
Where can you get it?
Only one organization in the country can issue an IDP: Automobile Association Philippines (AAP). AAP offices are located in the following locations: Quezon City, Makati, Alabang, Lipa, Pampanga, Cebu, and Davao.
What are the requirements?
You will need:
1. Original and photocopy of your valid Philippine Driver’s License
2. Two 2"x2" colored ID pictures
3. Foreign nationals and dual citizens must present their passport and a photocopy of the page showing the date of their last arrival. Meanwhile, permanent residents must present their passport and Alien Certificate Registration ID.
4. If a representative will apply for the PIDP for you, a letter of authorization and a valid ID is needed.
What is the process?
It’s a straightforward process, but the amount of time it takes up depends on which office you visit. The AAP says that the Quzon City branch has the fastest processing time of about one hour. The Makati, Alabang, Pampanga, and Lipa offices will take two to three days to process, while the Cebu and Davao offices will take four to five days.
How much will it cost?
That’s the hard part. The current standing processing fee is P3500 in addition to a 12 percent VAT. That totals to P3920.
Where can you use it?
The PIDP is valid in almost all the contracting countries of the 1949 and 1968 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic. The list of all the countries where you can drive is on the back of the PIDP. In total, there are more than 150 countries where the PIDP is recognized.
How long is it valid?
The PIDP is valid for only one year after the permit is issued. But if your license expires less than a year after you got your PIDP, the PIDP will expire at the same time as your license.
How can you renew it?
If you want to renew your PIDP before it expires, you can do it up to one month before the expiration date. You need to bring the following to an AAP office: AAP annual membership and PIDP fee of P3920 (the same as the initial application).
If you are abroad and want to renew your license in the Philippines, you can have a representative renew it for you. They should bring a letter of authorization, valid ID, AAP annual membership, and the PIDP fee.
If your driver’s license has already expired and you plan to renew your PIDP, you can secure a temporary driver’s license from the LTO and present it to AAP, alongside the official receipt of payment.
How do you use it?
The PIDP doesn’t work on its own. You still need to pair it with a valid driver’s license from your home country.
Now the real question: Is it worth it?
The cost of the international driver’s license is definitely high, and it may not be worth it depending on your situation. If you’re a frequent traveler and prefer driving around foreign roads instead of commuting, then the PIDP is certainly handy, especially if you have more than one country on your bucket list.
If you’re planning to live abroad for a long time, the PIDP will be helpful for your first few months in your new country. But it might be better to apply for a driving license in that country rather than renewing the pricey international driver’s license every year.
*This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.