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  #1  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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International drivers license for Russia

Hi there,

So, long story short, me and my friend have begun a 6 month motorbike trip forgetting to get international driving licenses. Silly, stupid, I know. The story is we are Australian riding on GB registered bikes on GB licenses. Our question is, can we get into Russia without an international drivers license, or do we have to avoid non EU countries for the remainder of this trip? What is the significance of an international license these days?

Thanks and regards!

Dave
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  #2  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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I have entered Russia several times, and they usually, if not always, ask for a drivers license. I have an international licence, so give them that. If you don't have an international license, not sure what would happen. My guess is that generally they will not let you in, but not sure.

Two suggestions:

1) at least for the US, you can get an international drivers license via the mail. You could e-mail someone in Australia some pics, have them submit the application via mail, and then have them forward you the IDL once it arrives. I have done this many many times.

2) At the very least you should get a notarized Russian translation of your australian drivers license, that might work.
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  #3  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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Rookie error

Thanks for the reply! That's exactly what we figured. I did some research and you can get an international license via the mail from the UK also, its just not going to work for us this trip. What a rookie error, looks like Russia is off the itinerary
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  #4  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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Firstly - I assume we are talking about an IDP - International Driving Permit, the internationally recognised booklet with translations into 8 or so languages of information on your 'home' Licence.

At the various routine Road Police document checks I only produce my IDP, already open at the page in Russian. That has always satisfied them - probably more than 100 times over 7 years, including after a couple of stops for going a little bit too fast! Never have I been asked to produce my proper 'home' (UK) Licence that should be carried in support of the IDP.

Clearly an IDP is advisable, helpful and as above, very convenient - but is it compulsory? I don't know.
Maybe you can ask at a Russia Embassy/Consulate where ever you are at present.

Does your AUS licence look like many other country's licences?
If it is similar to the format of a RUS one and the Roads Police can see your name, date of birth, photo and validity dates, that could well be sufficient anyway.
I find that many dont know what they are looking at and are pleased just to see info repeated across all the documents, thereby linking them to you/your vehicle.

Compare your's with RUS licences, - there are currently several versions in use while they are undergoing changes in format to be done at the end of each licence's 10 year validity period -
russian driving licence - Google Search
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  #5  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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I agree with Tony P that you might get in with your just Autralian license, but then again you might not. Unless the document is in Russian, they really don't know if what you're showing them is a drivers license or a library card.

Even if they can actually read the English (as is probably the case), in my experience many Russian officials are not comfortable without a notarized Russian translation. I think that having that would improve your chances significantly, although chances are still significant that you'll get rejected.

I'm surprised that no one has weighed with with personal experience on this issue, hopefully someone will do so shortly.
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  #6  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
you might get in with your just Autralian license, but then again you might not.
He will get in OK - I have never been asked to produce a Driving Licence on the RUS side of road border crossings.

It is the regular documents checks where he may have difficulties - although, being a betting man and seeing things work here, I would risk it and be prepared to bluff my way out. But that is me and others may not be comfortable doing the same. There is also the 500Руб ($17) in the documents way out - but you dont want to be doing that too often!

Incidentally, Roads Police documents checks are a very regular fact of life here.
There is nothing sinister in being stopped for one.
I get stopped far more on a bike and in my UK registered car than in my RUS car. Again, I don't consider this sinister for 2 reasons -
- the guys are bored and anything different helps pass their day.
- realising I am from the 'west', where people are not used to the bribe system, it is likely to be an unproductive waste of their time (particularly once they realise I am not for frightening and stand up for what I think is right, albeit in very poor Russian mixed into a lot of English).

Initially they will try it on - I was once told my speed of 14kph over the limit would get a fine of US$5,000. Actually, under Article 12.9 p.1 of the 2009 Code of Administration for Traffic Rules Violations (of which I have both a Russian and English copy) the official penalty was "Warning or 100Руб" - about $4.
I left with a warning! He didn't want the paperwork hassel either when he could be searching for more willing victims.
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Old 22 Jun 2011
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I've regularly been asked for a drivers license when I enter Russia (although maybe not every time), although they don't really look at it very much and I don't know whether they would let me in without one.
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  #8  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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if you are GB registered bikes and UK drivers licences (GB dont do drivers licences - only vehicle registrations ... Drivers licences in britain are in the name of the UK, while vehicle registrations are in the name of GB) then I dont see why you couldnt get your IDP from the RAC in Bristol. The IDP has nothing to do with what passport you use. Its related to the driving licence you are using. If you want to get it real fast, talk to Paul Gowan, the RAC's IDP man, who will be at the Horizons meet this weekend

[edited RAC for AA]
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Last edited by colebatch; 22 Jun 2011 at 23:31.
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  #9  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
if you are GB registered bikes and UK drivers licences (GB dont do drivers licences - only vehicle registrations ... Drivers licences in britain are in the name of the UK, while vehicle registrations are in the name of GB) then I dont see why you couldnt get your IDP from the AA in Bristol. The IDP has nothing to do with what passport you use. Its related to the driving licence you are using. If you want to get it real fast, talk to Paul Gowan, the AA's IDP man, who will be at the Horizons meet this weekend
What Walter says is true...

Other than he's mixed up AA and RAC personnel and locations.

Paul Gowan works at RAC in Bristol. I presume they too can do IDPs but you can get the IDP from the AA in Basingstoke. I got mine there in 3 days.
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  #10  
Old 22 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by srace7 View Post
you can get the IDP from the AA in Basingstoke. I got mine there in 3 days.
You can get them instantly, 'over the counter' at bigger Post Offices in UK.

What I am not so sure about for our Aussi friend here is can the UK issue an IDP for a non UK Licence.
The IDP is issued under a the seal of "The Secretary of State for Transport" and they are confirming their License.
They really have no power or responsibility over breakaway colonies.
But worth trying if he is still in UK.
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  #11  
Old 23 Jun 2011
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Where did you guys get Aussie licence from ... he did say he has a "GB licence" ... which I assumed to mean a "UK licence"
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  #12  
Old 23 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Where did you guys get Aussie licence from ... he did say he has a "GB licence" ... which I assumed to mean a "UK licence"
Sorry - I missed this point. (Too much reading something else!)

Less of a problem. UK Post Offices are nearer, possibly still local, for the OP.

Or quickly DHL his Licence to a mate in UK to get an IDP and DHL it back to him. Two days and probably about GBP50-60 depending on where he is.
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  #13  
Old 13 Jul 2011
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Thanks for the replies everybody. The AA do have a system in place to get the permit overseas, just not the payment! They still needed a cheque or money order in pounds so it all got too hard overseas so we canned it. We thought about the DHL option as well, thanks for that Tony P, but again all got too hard. Thanks all.
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  #14  
Old 2 Aug 2011
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while an IDP is RECOMMENDED for eastern europe if you have a UK photocard driving licence there is no formal requirement to have one, your UK photocard licence is adequate
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