Driving Licence for Tonga
Your driving licence from overseas nor an International Driving Permit (IDP) will allow you to legally drive in Tonga. Visitors to Tonga require a Visitor’s Driving Licence in order to legally drive in the country. This can only be obtained in Tonga. However, to apply for the Visitor’s Driving Licence, you will need your full valid driving licence, as well as an IDP only if your licence is not in the English language. In this guide, we’ll go into more detail on what you need your International Driving Permit in Tonga for.
For more driving tips, check out How to Drive in Tonga.
Why Do You Need an IDP for Tonga?
If you can only drive in Tonga with a Visitor’s Driving Licence, then why do you need an IDP for Tonga?
In order to apply for a Visitor’s Driving Licence in Tonga, you need to present both your full valid driving licence from overseas (i.e. a driving licence that is not a provisional or a learner’s licence) and your IDP. Note you only need to present your IDP if your driving licence is not in English. If your driving licence is in English, then you can skip to our advice offered in How to Get a Tonga Visitor’s Driving Licence.
How to Apply for an International Driving Permit
You need to apply for an IDP before you leave the country of which your driving licence is issued. You cannot apply for an IDP for an overseas driving licence in Tonga.
How you apply for your IDP varies between countries. While in some countries you can only apply in person at a local transport authority or government, in others, you can simply apply online or by post.
The best way to find out how to apply for an International Driving Permit is to contact your country’s transport authority.
What You Need to Apply for an IDP
In most cases, the following is required to apply for an International Driving Permit:
- A photocopy of both sides of your driving licence
- A recent passport-style photograph
- A completed application form
- Some countries may require a copy of your national identity card
- Some countries may require a fee
Be aware that your application could take up to a month to process so be sure to start the IDP application process as soon as possible! Typically, IDPs are valid for three years since the issue date.
What to Do with Your IDP in Tonga
If you plan to rent a car in Tonga, you will first need to obtain a Visitor’s Driving Licence. Some car rental companies require to see your Visitor’s Driving Licence on pick-up, while others will not check. Either way, it is illegal to drive in Tonga without one. In order to apply for a Visitor’s Driving Licence, you will need to present your driving licence and your IDP to a licence officer at either the Ministry of Infrastructure in Nuku’alofa or at the Police Station in Neiafu.
For the complete Visitor’s Driving License (Temporary) application guide, see How to Get a Tonga Visitor’s Driving License. For more information on what type of driving licence you need to present to get your Visitor’s Driving Licence, see Can You Drive in Tonga With an Overseas Licence?