Forget complicated paperwork, here are countries where you can show up and drive!
veryone from Hollywood to Bollywood to BuzzFeed has convinced you that an international driving holiday is an absolute must-do. Take it from us: pulling it off is a lot easier than you think. Here’s a list of roadtrip-friendly countries, where all you need is your Indian driving licence to take the wheel.
United States of America (Drives on the right)
The rules: You can drive in the USA against your Indian driving licence for a year, as long as the license valid and in English. If, for any reason, it is not, you need to carry an International Driving Permit (more on that below). You also need to have a copy of the I-94 form, which shows the date you entered the US.
Indicative fuel cost: US$3.50 a gallon (approximately Rs56.11 per litre).
Great Britain (Drives on the left)
Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), allows foreign visitors to drive on their home country’s license for a year. However, you are only permitted to drive the class of vehicle (small motor vehicle, motorcycle etc) which your license permits.
Indicative fuel cost: GBP5.96 a UK gallon (approximately Rs131.49 per litre).
Australia (Drives on the left)
New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory all let you drive against a valid Indian license. The Northern Territory does too, but with a caveat: you can drive for three months only. Do note that across Australia, you may only drive the vehicle that your Indian license allows you to drive.
Indicative fuel cost: AUD1.50 per litre (approximately Rs82.91 per litre).
Germany (Drives on the right)
Indian visitors can drive in Germany for up to six months against a valid Indian driving license. Though an International Driving Permit is not required by law, it is best to keep it handy as the document contains translations and might help local authorities inspect your papers better. If you don’t want to get an IDP, you can obtain a translation of your Indian driving license from any German diplomatic mission.
Indicative fuel cost: EUR1.59 per litre (approximately Rs133.16 per litre).
France (Drives on the right)
France allows Indian drivers to drive for a year against a valid Indian license, as long as they also carry a French translation with them.
Indicative fuel cost: EUR1.50 per litre (approximately Rs125.62 per litre).
New Zealand (Drives on the left)
LOTR fans rejoice! Driving through the picturesque country is easy for Indian drivers. However, you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car, and you can only drive the kind of vehicle your home license allows you to drive. If, by chance, your license is not entirely in English, you need an official translation approved by the New Zealand Transport Agency or an approved translator. Lastly, this privilege lasts for a year, which should give you enough time to drive up and down the country a dozen times.
Indicative fuel cost: NZD2.23 per litre (approximately Rs115.57 per litre).
Switzerland (Drives on the right)
Everyone’s favourite alpine country with its turquoise lakes and snow-capped mountains allows Indian visitors to drive for up to one year on a valid Indian driving license. Simple!
Indicative fuel cost: CHF1.74 per litre (approximately Rs119.76 per litre).
South Africa (Drives on the left)
Want to zip down South Africa’s famous Garden Route? Make sure your Indian driving license is valid, is entirely in English and it has your photo and signature. Some vehicle hire companies have been known to ask for an IDP when hiring a car, so call ahead and make sure that’s not the case, or you’ll need to get your hands on an IDP before arriving.
Indicative fuel cost: ZAR14.22 per litre (approximately Rs79.56 per litre).
Norway (Drives on the right)
The land of stunning fjords and the midnight sun allows Indian nationals to drive its roads for three months after entering the country—as long as their license is valid.
Indicative fuel cost: NOK17.26 per litre (approximately Rs174.20 per litre).
While Germany and South Africa don’t insist on an IDP, it is advisable to carry one. So how do you get your International Driving Permit?
- You need to hold a valid driving license and a valid passport.
- Fill out and submit form CMV 4-A and medical form CMV1 and CMV1A, with attested copies of your passport and Indian driving license. This can be done at any regional transport office (RTO).
- You will also have to submit three-to-five passport-sized photographs.
- You must show a valid visa for the country in which you wish to drive.
As always, carry extra copies of everything (attested and non-attested) and do not forget to carry your originals as well—the authorities will tally them against the copies. Finally, keep in mind that an International Driving Permit costs Rs500 and is only valid for one year. Though it usually takes between two and seven days for you to get your International Driving Permit, be warned—it could even take up to 30 working days! So plan ahead.
The last word: some of these rules may change over time. While planning your trip, always check with the local transport authorities of the country you are visiting. And goes without saying, always follow the rules.