International Drivers Permit?

AAA has something called an "international drivers permit"  its different than a Saudi drivers license, but if you get one, then Saudi Arabia lets you drive.  The IDP (international drivers permit) is based on some kind of treaty that 80 countries agreed to.  There seem to be many other ways to get one, besides AAA.

If I were in America, it would be very easy to get one, I just need to go  to a AAA office.  But there are no AAA offices in Jeddah. 

Does anyone know of some place in Jeddah where I can get one?  Thanks.

Is there one in Riyadh?

No.  AAA is only in America

Can obtain an international licence from the UK also.

Yes I understand that.  AAA stands for American Automobile association.  It is a business in America.  In America, they are ones who give out IDPs.

Outside of America, different businesses give out IDPs.  I started this thread to ask if anyone knew a business in Jeddah that gives out IDPs.  I am looking for another business that does the same thing, in Jeddah.

An international driving permit (IDP) is not a driving license, it is just a translation of the local driver's license, and based on the treaty (Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968) you referred to, you can drive using it, but actually, you are driving using your local license, accompanied by the translation, which is called as the IDP.  So, you have to understand that it is not a stand-alone document.  The IDP in my hand right now even says "Issued according to Saudi Arabian Driving License No. so and so Valid Till so and so".

When I travelled in the past few summers to the UK, Cyprus, and Mauritius, I rented cars there using the IDP which I got from Jeddah.  If I had been stopped in any of those countries there by the police, I would have showed them the IDP, but all the IDP is, is a translation of my Saudi license into English, and so it says I am allowed to drive in my home country, and by extension of the Convention, allowed to drive in the country I am visiting.  The IDP is valid for one year only for categories of vehicles indicated in the license, and is valid in all 165 countries listed in the IDP.  So, the convention was agreed upon to make things easy for travelers around the world.  Imagine if every tourist or businessperson was required to get a local license before driving in a country they are visiting for a short time!  So the convention basically says "To make it easy for everybody, yes, we will let you drive in a country you are visiting, but only based on your local home license, and to prove that you have a valid license in your home country, you have to get the IDP."

Sorry if you knew all that, but I just wanted to state all that because I have encountered many people over the years who think the IDP is a driving license and that anybody can get it from any country.  You can get it only if you have a valid driving license in your country of residence, and as far as I know, you have to get it from your country of residence.  So for example, when I traveled to Cyprus last year, I could not have just landed there and tried to get an IDP there, because to get get an IDP there, I would need to show a local, i.e., Cypriot license.  If I had presented them with my Saudi license, they would have said "Sorry, we don't recognize this document and we have no way of knowing if it is real or not."  Which mean, had I not got the IDP from Jeddah and traveled with it, I would not have been able to drive there.

So now, you are saying you want to get an IDP in Jeddah, based on your US license?  As far as I know, that will not be possible.  The IDP is given by the local automobile association (not really a 'business') in a given country.  As you said, in the US it is the AAA, and here, it is the Saudi version, called as the Saudi Automobile and Touring Association (SATA).  If you asked them to issue you an IDP based on your US license, they will give you the answer I gave in quotes in the previous paragraph.  But, I hope I am wrong!  Try it out.

As for where, I don't even know where SATA is located, neither do most people.  Google can tell you, however, everybody here who gets an IDP before traveling gets it from any travel agency.  They provide this service, by taking your documents and then handing them over to SATA who issue the IDP and give it back to the travel agency.  The one I use, Caravan Travel, opposite the Saudi Airlines office inside Heraa Mall, charges 200.  I am sure others charge the same.  I have no idea how much is the actual IDP, and how much the travel agency charges for their service.  If you can find a SATA office, go for it.  You need to take a copy of your iqama, copy of Saudi driver's license, and 2 pictures.  In your case, you don't have a Saudi driver's license, so take your US license.  By the way, if you are going to be here for any reasonable amount of time, why not get the Saudi license?

Thanks very much Trapeezius, that was very helpful.

Yes, I already knew that stuff about what the IDP is and isn't, but thanks anyways.

Whats really helpful is this "Caravan Travel, opposite the Saudi Airlines office inside Heraa Mall, charges 2" and the SATA.  I will call them and check if they can help me.  I suspect that I can only get an IDP from America, but its worth checkin on other places.  This is the information I was looking for when I started this thread,  its very helpful.  Thanks again.

To answer your question, the reason I can't get a Saudi License is because I don't have an iqama.  My work situation is weird, they give me a business visa instead of an iqama.  I can get a IDP from AAA without needing an iqama, so I am going for the IDP.

You are welcome.  I thought you knew, but I wasn't sure, so I decided to write the essay out anyway, especially to have as a resource in case anybody asks in the future on here.

Ah, so you are on the business visa, as I suspected.  You see, the IDP exists exactly for people in situations such as you are in, and for tourists... so why did you not get an IDP before coming here?  And is it possible for you to courier your US driving license (or email a scanned copy) to your friends/relatives back home and for them to get the IDP for you, or do you have to be present in person at an AAA office?  If it is possible, I would say do it, as that might be your only solution.

Instead of calling Caravan Travel (google for number), go visit them.  Try to see Abe, a Filipino who works there that I have dealt with for years.  He is knowledgeable and helpful.  Or at least ask for him if you call.  His name is pronounced "Abbie".

Good luck!

When I accepted this job, they promised me an iqama, but when I got here they gave me a business visa instead.  So I did not know I wouldn't have an iqama until I got here.

I can get the IDP mailed to me from AAA in the US, but according to their website it can take up to 6 weeks.  So I wanted to see if there is a way to get one in Jeddah, which would be faster.

If you are on business visa you can rent a car and drive on your US or EU or any other licence which is in English.
Of course, if you are not a female.

Which Witch :

If you are on business visa you can rent a car and drive on your US or EU or any other licence which is in English.
Of course, if you are not a female.

But is that really legal?  I think not, because that's the domain of the IDP, and well, if you don't have that, that's your fault.  If it is legal to drive using another country's license, what purpose does the IDP serve.

Having said that, my 'Murrcan friend rented a car in Hail using just his US license.  The guy working in the local rental company wasn't even interested in looking at his license, and only rented it to him because he was American.  And Hail is a tiny town with barely any cars on the road, so seems like the rental car employee was not worried about any accidents or anything.  I bet if you tried to rent a car in a big city using your foreign license, they wouldn't allow it.  That's a liability for them, in case of an accident.

Let's WanderMan to try rent a car with his US licence and post outcome here.

Update:  I went to visit travel agents here in Jeddah and they said what we expected.

I can't get an IDP from a business in Jeddah, unless I have an iqama or a saudi driver's license.

I had to order an IDP from AAA (in America) by mail.  They say it should arrive within 6 weeks.

It seems that anyone who wants an IDP should get one from their home country before they leave, thats the easiest way.

OK Guys,

You can easily Get an IDP or Internationa Drivers License (same thing) from a number of travel agents here including Zahid Travel, Al Fursan Travel and most other large national travel agencies.

I have visitors coming from all over the world and when they get here they have problems renting cars etc so I get them one. All it requires is a copy of your passport, your country's driving license,a photo or two and a fee of anywhere between 60-100 US Dollars.

You can get one in Riyadh, Jeddah or Dammam and in other cities all over Saudi.




Many travel agencies in Saudi will make an International Drivers License for you. Tayyar sure does that.
Good luck.

So you are on a visitor visa? If you have Iqama, it is extremely easy to get a Saudi driver's license if you have a few hours to spare in the early morning(better to beat the human traffic by being an early bird). I have Korean driver's license, so I had to first go to Korean council to get it translated to English but they have English translators on site so you can just go direct to the license issuing place(forgot the official name) and get your license.

They do require driving test but it just involves driving a car for 10 meters or so and they let you pass. haha. If you know how to drive a manual, even better as many people were lined up waiting for an automatic car but there were only a couple people in the line for manual car.

But if you are on visitor visa, your only choice is IDP. Make sure you check the car rental company's insurance policies because I've heard of some cases of people being denied of insurance coverage(without being told they would be in the first place, of course...) due to not having a local license.

Good luck!

emeraldsaregreen :

Can obtain an international licence from the UK also.

An International driving license obtained from an agent or office on submitting/ providing evidence of a driving license of that particular country.. For Ex. you can obtain an International driving license in Saudi Arabia by showing your Saudi license.. But you cannot show your License of any other country an obtain an International driving license in Saudi Arabia..

If you want to drive in Saudi Arabia on an International driving license, It had to be issued from any other country except Saudi Arabia..

I have an international driving license, My friend having 2 cars and he is giving one for my usage. is it legal to use my friend's car under his name and insurance?  I am on working visit business Visa,

New topic

Questions and answers about transports

Ask your question
Road-trip to Medina for Eid?
By thekasher123
Driving with international license
By parimel2002
Reflective vehicle tape help
By deanb1982
Motorbikes installment in Jeddah?
By sharif_

Moving to Jeddah

Find tips from professionals about moving to Jeddah

Travel insurance in Jeddah

Enjoy a stress-free travel across Jeddah

Flights to Jeddah

Find the best prices for your flight tickets to Jeddah