In which countries is the driver’s license valid?

Travelling is, without doubt, among the most enjoyable, fun and culturally rich activities. After all, who has never travelled or dreamed about visiting another country and get in touch with a new culture? However, when you decide to travel, you must be aware of some important details, such as knowing which countries accept the driver’s license.

A carteira de motorista é válida em quais países?
In which countries is the driver’s license valid?

When we arrive in another country, especially those that we don’t know well, we can’t afford being taken by surprise, once the laws and standards vary in each country.

With the driver’s license, it couldn’t be different, as there are very specific rules in regards to the Brazilian driver’s license (CNH). Many countries accept our license normally; others, however, also require the IDP – we will cover the IDP further in this article.

The countries that accept our driver’s license are those that meet the Principle of Reciprocity with Brazil, and countries that are part of the Vienna Convention on road traffic.

Therefore, in order to avoid doubts, see below a list with the countries where the Brazilian CNH is accepted without issues:

Americas

  • Canada;
  • Colombia;
  • Argentina;
  • Uruguay;
  • Chile;
  • Ecuador;
  • United States;
  • Guatemala;
  • Haiti;
  • Honduras;
  • Mexico;
  • Nicaragua;
  • Panama;
  • Dominican Republic.

Africa

  • Angola;
  • Argelia;
  • Cape Verde;
  • Ivory Coast;
  • Gabon;
  • Ghana;
  • Guinea-Bissau;
  • Libya;
  • Namibia;

Asia

  • Singapore;
  • South Korea;
  • Indonesia;

Europe (East, West, Southern and Northern)

  • Scotland;
  • Spain;
  • Germany;
  • Switzerland;
  • Sweden;
  • France;
  • Greece;
  • The Netherlands;
  • Portugal;
  • England;
  • Northern Ireland;
  • Wales;

Oceania

  • Australia;
  • New Zealand.

Important: despite these countries accepting the Brazilian CNH, it is important to note that the period when it can be used varies according to each nation. In Panama, for example, you may drive without issues for 90 days. When this period expires, the tourist must obtain a local driver’s license. However, in countries such as Cuba and Spain, this period may be up to 180 days.

What is the International Driving Permit (IDP)?

The International Driving Permit (IDP) is an identification document that is used when we travel to countries that do not accept the Brazilian CNH as a document to legally drive, as in Italy. 

However, even with most countries accepting only the CNH to allow driving, as Argentina and United States, for example, it is recommended to issue the IDP whenever you travel and have to drive a vehicle.

In which countries is the driver’s license valid?
In which countries is the driver’s license valid?

The goal is to avoid major issues with the local authorities as, in case of accident, the chances to request the IDP are high.

It means that, if you want to rent a vehicle to visit some of the countries that are part of the Vienna Convention or meet the Principle of Reciprocity with Brazil, you will have to present your IDP in order to avoid major issues, even if it is not mandatory.

Where can I request the IDP?

Currently, you may request your IDP at the Traffic Department (Detran) of your state or via internet, if this option is available.

The fees and processes for issuing the IDP vary according to the state. However, if you want to request you permit, most of the Traffic Departments will request an identity document with picture (preferably the RG), a valid driver’s license (CNH), recent proof of address; proof of payment of the service fee and passport (if required by the country of destination).

Driver’s license overseas: take the CNH and the IDP!

Now that you know that the CNH is accepted in more than 100 countries and that it is recommended to issue the IDP whenever you plan to drive overseas, it is easier to have a safe trip, with no problems and unforeseen events.

It won’t be an issue to know which countries accept the Brazilian driver’s license, right?

To read more articles like this, stay tuned on the Brazil Translations blog. See you next time!