Driving in Iceland: Do I Need an International Driver's License?

So, you’ve planned your trip, booked a rental, and are looking forward to exploring everything Iceland has to offer. But is driving in Iceland using your license sufficient, or do you need an international driver’s license? Read on to find out all this and more.


Driving in another country can be tricky. Especially when it comes to differences in vehicles, weather you’re not used to, and, of course, driving on the “wrong” side of the road.


We get asked many questions about driving in Iceland daily. But you actually shouldn’t be giving these potential challenges another thought ‘till you sorted out numero uno. Is driving in Iceland with your license even legal? To answer this question, we need to take a look at the driver’s license requirements in Iceland.


Iceland international driving permit

Driver’s License Requirements in Iceland


Firstly, there is absolutely no way that you can organize an Iceland car rental without a driving license. It doesn’t matter how many rules of the road you can recite or tearfully tell the tragic story of the “driver’s license on the dresser” – no driver’s license = no car = no driving in Iceland.


And secondly, the good news: if you are still wondering “do I need an international driver’s license in Iceland?” you can stop your worrisome pacing because the short answer is no. Or at least the short answer to a short stay.


If you are coming from the UK, the EEA, or Japan, you can pretty much carry on with your country’s driver’s license ‘till the date of its expiry. If you are coming from any other country outside of the above-mentioned regions, your driver’s license will be valid for six months. After those six months, you are granted a grace period of one month to switch over to an Icelandic license.


If the plan is to stay for longer than six months, it’ll make things a lot easier to simply switch over to an Icelandic driver’s license as soon as possible. And, once again, if you’re from the UK, the EEA, or Japan you’re in luck because you don’t need any retesting done (theoretical or practical). For the rest… better hit the books.


Do I Need an International Driver’s License in Iceland?


There are a few countries we get Iceland international driving permit queries for the most, so we decided to address these individually:


Iceland car rental driving license

Can you drive in Iceland with a US license? Is Driving in Iceland with a US License Allowed?


Can Americans drive in Iceland? Well, a valid driver’s license from the US can be used for 6 months after you arrive in the country, whereafter the one-month grace period kicks in.


Can you drive in Iceland with a Hong Kong license? A valid driver’s license from China can be used for 6 months after you arrive in the country, whereafter the one-month grace period kicks in.


Can you drive in Iceland with an Indian license?


A valid driver’s license from India can be used for 6 months after you arrive in the country, whereafter the one-month grace period kicks in. For Indian drivers, driving in Iceland might be a strange experience, as you drive on the right side of the road on the island.


Can you drive in Iceland with a UK license?


The UK left the EEA in January 2020. That means that those from the UK no longer get the perks they used to enjoy as part of the EEA.


A UK driver’s license can now also only be used for 6 months after you arrive in the country, whereafter the one-month grace period kicks in. And as with the Indian drivers, driving in Iceland might be a strange experience as you drive on the right side of the road on the island.


All the Countries at a Glance


We have tabled the countries’ driver’s license validity below for quick reference.

Type of License

Validity of Driver’s License

US

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license


UK

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

Canadian

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

EEA

Valid ‘till the date of expiry

Australian

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

Malaysian

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

Chinese

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

Indian

Valid for 6 months with a 7th month grace period to get an Icelandic license

How to Get an International Driving Permit in Iceland


If for some strange reason you still want an Iceland international driving permit for driving around Iceland, it’s pretty simple to get one. Just keep in mind that it does not entirely replace your home country’s driver’s license, and you should keep both on you at all times.


You can apply online for your Iceland IDP, and it will cost about $20. Simply complete and submit the application form along with copies of your valid documents (passport, driver’s license, etc.) and a photo. You should receive your IDP in about 2 weeks, and it will remain valid for a year.


Driving in Iceland license

A Few Things to Keep in Mind


Driving in Iceland with a valid license from your home country is pretty easy. Just keep in mind that the ages for car rentals may differ from what you’re used to.


In Iceland, you are required to be at least 20 when renting a car and if you want to rent a 4x4 you’ll need to be 23. Also remember to research driving in Iceland, especially driving in Iceland during the winter months as the weather makes driving conditions quite challenging.

0 comments