Do You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga?
Do You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga?

Do You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga?

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Driving Licence for Tonga

Do you need an International Driving Permit to legally drive in Tonga? Well, the answer is complicated. First, you can only drive in Tonga if you either have a full valid driving licence from a visitor visa-exempt country or a Visitor’s Driving Licence. If you fall into that first category then you do not need to have an International Driving Permit. 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 Tongan or English language. Do you have a headache yet? 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?

You do not need an IDP if you have a full valid driving licence from one of the countries that also don’t require a visitor visa – we list those countries in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Tonga? If your driving licence is not from one of these countries, however, then you will need to apply for a Visitor’s Driving Licence to legally drive in 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.

Do You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com

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.

Do You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga?(c) tongapocketguide.com

What to Do with Your IDP in Tonga

If you plan to rent a car, and you had to manually apply for a Visitor Visa to come to Tonga, you will first need to obtain a Visitor’s Driving Licence. Some car rental companies require you 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 licencing 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?

More on Whether You Need an International Driving Permit for Tonga

That’s it for our guide on whether you need an international driving permit for Tonga. Be sure to bookmark our Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga for even more transport tips.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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