International Drivers license, is it worth getting?

May 19, 2021
79
9
8
Santo Domingo
I have a French license which I am told I can drive with in the DR, but only for 3 months. Thereafter I need a local license - which I am happy to apply for - but have been warned this may take a while as "other" permits (Cedula and such perhaps??) need to be received first. Thus my question, is an Interanational Drivers license recognised? I can obtain one prior to arriving, but rather pointless if its not accepted (to drive with after the 3 months). Thanks
 
Jan 9, 2004
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I have a French license which I am told I can drive with in the DR, but only for 3 months. Thereafter I need a local license - which I am happy to apply for - but have been warned this may take a while as "other" permits (Cedula and such perhaps??) need to be received first. Thus my question, is an Interanational Drivers license recognised? I can obtain one prior to arriving, but rather pointless if its not accepted (to drive with after the 3 months). Thanks
This question comes up from time to time on the board.

First, there is no such thing as an International Drivers license per se, there is a document called an International Drivers Permit.

Second, it is NOT a substitute license, but merely a translation of your existing license from your home country into the language of the country you will be driving in (DR), and as such conveys no special status with regard to driving in the DR beyond the time period when your existing out of country license becomes invalid (30 days? 90 days?) according to DR law.

Third, it has been hyped by those selling them..................................but save your money and don not bother.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 
May 19, 2021
79
9
8
Santo Domingo
Yes, you are correct ... I should have stuck with the more formal name being a permit and not license, sorry to have used colloquial language here - I just figured it would be understood. I fully understand WHAT an IDP is, and I have had several of them as some countries only permit them and not the national license you hold... strange but true. For example, if you arrive in South Africa with an American driver's license and want to rent a car you will not be permitted to drive it off the lot unless you have an IDP that goes with said US license. Hence my earlier question. But I get your point that I may not be permitted to drive after the 3 months... Do you know how they check how long you've been in the country? Must you carry your passport with your driver's license so they can cross-reference entry stamps?
 

cavok

Silver
Jun 16, 2014
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I don't think any of the police here even know what an IDP is and I've never heard of anyone ever being asked for one.
 
Jan 9, 2004
9,726
946
113
Yes, you are correct ... I should have stuck with the more formal name being a permit and not license, sorry to have used colloquial language here - I just figured it would be understood. I fully understand WHAT an IDP is, and I have had several of them as some countries only permit them and not the national license you hold... strange but true. For example, if you arrive in South Africa with an American driver's license and want to rent a car you will not be permitted to drive it off the lot unless you have an IDP that goes with said US license. Hence my earlier question. But I get your point that I may not be permitted to drive after the 3 months... Do you know how they check how long you've been in the country? Must you carry your passport with your driver's license so they can cross-reference entry stamps?
Stopped many times with my US license (copy). The only thing they were ever looking for was a propina...............

I have always subscribed to the "never carry your originals with you" in the DR......be that a passport or drivers license................always a copy.

One day I will post the funniest driving experience I ever had in the DR involving the policia nacional and a library card.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 
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May 19, 2021
79
9
8
Santo Domingo
Stopped many times with my US license (copy). The only thing they were ever looking for was a propina...............

I have always subscribed to the "never carry your originals with you" in the DR......be that a passport or drivers license................always a copy.

One day I will post the funniest driving experience I ever had in the DR involving the policia nacional and a library card.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
So technically the Traffic officer will not know if you've been in the country for 6 weeks or 6 months if he is not shown the entry stamp. Lets hope the paperwork gods are well behaved and I get on the right side of the law quickly .... which I know will not save me for one minute from the propina.
 
Jan 9, 2004
9,726
946
113
So technically the Traffic officer will not know if you've been in the country for 6 weeks or 6 months if he is not shown the entry stamp. Lets hope the paperwork gods are well behaved and I get on the right side of the law quickly .... which I know will not save me for one minute from the propina.
I carry a copy of my license and only a copy of the first page of my passport.

Not once in 25 years of driving and being stopped for DWG (Driving While Gringo) did anyone ever ask when I entered the DR.

Good fortune to you.


Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

Seamonkey

Bronze
Oct 6, 2009
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You won't have any problems when getting stopped by the police. If you let your license expire after the 3 months you might run into problems with the insurance company if you get into an accident, especially if you kill somebody. Then, you'll be better off to leave the country ASAP. The insurance company will dig into how long you've been here and your insurance will be void since you are illegal.
 
Jan 9, 2004
9,726
946
113
You won't have any problems when getting stopped by the police. If you let your license expire after the 3 months you might run into problems with the insurance company if you get into an accident, especially if you kill somebody. Then, you'll be better off to leave the country ASAP. The insurance company will dig into how long you've been here and your insurance will be void since you are illegal.
Good point regarding the insurance company. Until you get residency and a DR license, you are in kind of a state of limbo after the three months. You would think the DR would have thought of this and created a work around, i.e. a pending application for residency expands the time frame..........as long as the out of country license is still valid.

Respectfully,
Playacaribe2
 

LTDan

Member
Apr 29, 2021
89
65
18
SDQ
I know plenty of expats who don't have a cedula or a "so-called" International driver's license, many own cars and drive at their leisure
 
May 19, 2021
79
9
8
Santo Domingo
You won't have any problems when getting stopped by the police. If you let your license expire after the 3 months you might run into problems with the insurance company if you get into an accident, especially if you kill somebody. Then, you'll be better off to leave the country ASAP. The insurance company will dig into how long you've been here and your insurance will be void since you are illegal.
Yip its what I figured ... and with a company car I will not chance it. So will definitely be getting the DR license as soon as I possibly can
 
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OldSkool

Banned
Aug 31, 2021
152
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Barahona
Could someone please post a verifiable example of gringo being refused an insurance payout for an accident because they had overstayed and theoretically their license was no longer valid?
 

windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
37,084
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You won't have any problems when getting stopped by the police. If you let your license expire after the 3 months you might run into problems with the insurance company if you get into an accident, especially if you kill somebody. Then, you'll be better off to leave the country ASAP. The insurance company will dig into how long you've been here and your insurance will be void since you are illegal.
Correct. A
 

windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
37,084
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I know plenty of expats who don't have a cedula or a "so-called" International driver's license, many own cars and drive at their leisure
Of course you do, so do I.

And while a tourist card is valid for 30 days, a foreign driver's license is legally valid for 90 days. Different laws with different government agencies that are not "coordinated" well. As others have pointed out, nobody cares unless and until there is a problem. Like a major injury or death accident and then the crap can hit the fan.
 

drstock

Silver
Oct 29, 2010
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Cabarete
Before I got my Dominican Residency and licence I used to carry a copy of the picture page of my passport and my UK licence. Once or twice I was asked to show my entry stamp to prove how long I had been here. I always acted surprised that I needed this and with a "propina" was allowed on my way. I do feel much better now that I am legal with a DR licence though. I was actually on my way back home from getting it when I was stopped by the police and could proudly show them my real, legal DR licence!
 

Big

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2019
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What is an International Drivers license? Is there such a thing?
 

windeguy

Platinum
Jul 10, 2004
37,084
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What is an International Drivers license? Is there such a thing?

What's the difference between international driving permit and international driver's license? Many people have seen sales pitches for "international driver's licenses" that claim these licenses can do all kinds of things such as act as a driver's license, act as a means of identification, or hide your identity. None of this is true. International driver's licenses do not exist. There are only international driving permits (IDPs). In the United States, IDPs are only issued by two organizations (AAA and AATA). An IDP is a permit, not an ID card or a driver's license, and it won't even be recognized if you don't also hold a valid driver's license. (Source: https://driving-tests.org/beginner-drivers/international-drivers-license/)

Allegedly "accepted" by the DR:

 
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