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10 Apr. 2023

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Vienna and Geneva Conventions: in which countries your national and international driving license is valid

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Vienna and Geneva Conventions: in which countries your national and international driving license is valid

National or international driver's license - both of these documents or one of them may be required when traveling abroad with your car. Depending on whether the country has adopted the Geneva or Vienna Convention, the requirements for the documents that the driver must provide differ

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Thousands of Ukrainians are still abroad. Most of them left Ukraine in their own cars, so they need to understand in which countries they can use their driver's license issued at home. In addition, foreigners planning to travel by car to Ukraine should also know what is required to drive a car in its territory.


As you know, depending on whether a country has adopted the Geneva or Vienna Convention, the requirements for documents to be provided by the driver differ. Let's take a closer look.


National and international driving license. What is the difference?


First, you need to understand the difference between these types of license:


International Driving Permit is a document required by drivers in certain countries. In short, it is a translation of a national document into the language of the country where you plan to drive. In fact, most European countries do not require such a certificate.

However, we will tell you where it is mandatory to have an international driving license and what document regulates their use.

It should be noted that such a document is not valid without a national certificate. In Ukraine, you can get an international driving license at the territorial service centers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the basis of a national document.


The national license is issued to all Ukrainians after they successfully pass the exams. Currently, most countries allow the use of a national document.


Vienna Convention on Road Traffic


The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, adopted in 1968, regulates the legality of national driving licenses. The member states of the convention recognize each other's national driving licenses. That is, citizens of these countries do not need to have international driving licenses, although sometimes the driver may be asked to provide them to rent a car.


A total of 74 countries have ratified the convention, including Ukraine. Ukrainians can drive a vehicle in the EU, the UK, Armenia, Israel, Kenya, Chile, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and other countries without any problems. 


Importantly, the rule also applies in the opposite direction. That is, citizens of the countries listed in the Vienna Convention can drive freely in Ukraine. No additional documents or permits are required.


Is every license recognized abroad?


In order for a document to be covered by the Vienna Convention, it must contain the following information:


• Surname, name and patronymic;

• date and place of birth;

• place of residence;

• the issuing authority, date and place of issue;

• document number and expiration date;

• signature and stamp of the issuing authority;

• signature and photograph of the owner;

• vehicle category, along with the expiration date.


It should be added that since 2011, these data have been automatically included in driver's licenses. In addition to the information described above, the driver's license contains the driver's blood type and consent to be a donor. Some of the information on the license is written in English and French, so Ukrainians can easily use their document.


Drivers with an old-style license (in the form of a booklet) must exchange the document for a modern one in order to drive abroad.


Geneva Convention


This document defines the list of countries that require an international driver's license. The list includes the United States of America, China, Australia and New Zealand, the Vatican, Egypt, Cyprus, and others. 


Ukraine is not among the signatory countries, so foreigners do not need to have an international driver's license to drive in our country. 


Foreign drivers in Ukraine


Even during the war, foreigners come to our country: tourists, diplomats, journalists, and politicians. All of them can use a national driver's license, as the Vienna Convention provides for this. Ukraine does not require foreign citizens to have an international driver's license, but it does not hurt to have one.


Cars with foreign license plates must follow a certain procedure to enter Ukraine without hindrance. For more details on the rules of entry for Ukrainians and foreigners, please follow the link.




We recommend purchasing it for a safe and comfortable trip to Ukraine: 


Visit Ukraine Insurance - safe travel in Ukraine (insurance covering military risks);

Visit Ukraine Tickets - book bus and train tickets to/from Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Tours - the largest online database of tours to Ukraine for every taste;

Visit Ukraine Hotels - book hotels for a comfortable stay in Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Merch - choose patriotic clothing and accessories with worldwide delivery.

Cooperation - cooperation and advertising integrations with Visit Ukraine and Visit World projects.




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