KOCHI: Driving a private vehicle in a foreign country is still an elusive dream for very many Indian nationals while abroad. On account of the technicalities involved in getting an international driving licence, an overwhelming number of Indians going abroad depend on taxis and other services to move around.
However, the International Driving Permit (IDP) provides a viable alternative. It allows the permit holder to drive a private vehicle in any country or jurisdiction which recognises IDP. The explains the rising demand for IDPs.
According to the Motor Vehicles Department(MVD), demand for IDP has witnessed a spike, especially in the last five years.
While earlier, celebrities and businessmen were its main takers, students and overseas travellers have now started queuing up before the Regional Transport Officer concerned, the issuing authority for IDP.
Around 3,000 driving licence holders had applied for the International Driving Permit in the last four years, MVD data show.
“Yes, the IDP is now a big hit among licence holders embarking on visits abroad. After celebrities and businessmen earlier, IDP’s takers now include students and tourists as well. On average, we get nearly 100 applications each month for the IDP and the demand seems to be going up all the time,” said Jojy P Jose, Ernakulam RTO.
“Under the Ernakulam RTO itself, 685 licence holders applied for IDP in 2016. It was 670 in 2017 and 795 in 2018. This year (upto June 30) the department has already issued 552 IDPs,” he said.
The demand for IDP soared after the Centre inked a pact with the Gulf countries. “Earlier the IDP was not recognised in West Asia. But the IDPs got legal validity in the Gulf region following the agreement signed between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Since there are several thousand Malayalees visiting the GCC countries, demand for IDPs increased. Moreover, some countries are giving extra preference to the IDP holders while issuing their respective licence. This too contributed to the soaring demand,” said B J Antony, former Ernakulam RTO.
To get an IDP, which has a one-year validity, an application on Form 4A should be submitted to the RTO concerned along with driving licence, three passport-size photographs, two passport copies, visa and air ticket and the receipt for payment of Rs 1,200 fees, which includes a service charge of Rs 200.
“If we have an IDP there is no need to spend a fortune on taxi services in foreign countries. We can use motorcycle and cars, available at cheap rates in foreign countries, if we have IDP,” said Aluva-based fitness trainer Raphael Nirmal Gilbert, who used IDP while on a visit to the Indonesian island of Bali in June.
Advantages of Int’l Driving Permit
Certain countries will not allow you to rent a car unless you have the IDP
It certifies you to drive a vehicle in a foreign country.
No additional driving tests.
The IDP is accepted in over 150 countries which are signatories to the agreement.