These 34 countries let you drive with a South African licence

 ·4 May 2024

Your South African driver’s licence is valid for driving in 34 countries, including members of the Southern African Development Community, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.

The terms and conditions for using your local driver’s licence vary from country to country.

Some countries may allow you to use your licence for only a few months, while others may allow you to use it until it expires.

It is recommended to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before travelling outside of South Africa if you plan to drive in another country, although it may not always be mandatory.

The IDP will translate your driver’s licence into several languages, including the five official UN languages, which can be useful in countries where English is not the official language.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) validates your domestic license and serves as an alternative form of identification.

It is necessary if you plan to rent a car or get insurance in a foreign country. You can obtain an IDP online from the Automobile Association (AA) or in person from AA-accredited sales agents.

If you are planning to move to another continent and leave South Africa, you will need a driver’s licence confirmation letter, also known as a driver’s licence certificate.

This letter confirms that you have a valid driver’s licence in South Africa, which is essential for those who plan to drive permanently in another country.

With this confirmation, you can easily convert your South African driver’s licence into the corresponding licence of your destination country.

However, it is important to note that not all countries accept these confirmations. In such cases, you will need to apply for that specific country’s licence upon arrival or obtain an International Driver’s Licence.

According to document concierge company Apostil.co.za, the following table displays the countries that have reached agreements with South Africa concerning long-term visitors and immigrants driving on their roads, along with the specific regulations that apply to them.

Interestingly, more than 10 of the countries listed in this article are also among the 108 that permit South Africans to enter visa-free.

These include Botswana, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Panama, Singapore, Russia, Zambia, and more.

Other notable first-world countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, the UK, and the United States.

However, popular emigration hotspots for South Africans, including the UK, Australia, and the USA, still require a visa.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Additional terms and conditions may apply to your situation and to other countries that allow local licenses.

Prior to travelling, it is essential to research the specific traffic laws of the country you will be visiting to ensure you are compliant with local driving regulations and not driving illegally.

CountryAgreement
AndorraMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
AngolaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 1 month, after which an IDP is required
AustraliaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
BotswanaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
BulgariaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
CanadaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
CroatiaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 12 months
EstoniaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
EswatiniMay use SA driver’s licence freely
FinlandMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 24 months
FranceMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 12 months
GermanyMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
GreeceMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
HungaryMay use SA driver’s licence freely with a notarised copy of the licence
LesothoMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
LuxembourgMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
MauritiusMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 1 month, after which an IDP is required
MonacoMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 12 months
MontenegroMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
MozambiqueMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
NamibiaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
New ZealandMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 12 months
PanamaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
PolandMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
PortugalMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
RussiaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months accompanied by IDP
San MarinoMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months accompanied by IDP
SeychellesMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
SingaporeMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 12 months
SwedenMay use SA driver’s licence freely until expired
UKMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 6 months
United StatesMay use SA driver’s licence freely, but some states could require IDP
ZambiaMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months
ZimbabweMay use SA driver’s licence for up to 3 months

Read: 16 countries you can travel to where the rand is stronger in 2024

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