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I have an Australian driving license and want to apply for an International driving License for my trip to Sri Lanka. How does this work, and is my Indian license valid in Sri Lanka

Is my Australian Driving License valid in Sri Lanka and how do I apply for my International Driving License for Sri Lanka? (Updated Nov, 2022)

(Updated on May 2023)

If you are planning to drive around in your own glorified lawnmower, tuktuk, car or even scooter during your holidays in Sri Lanka with a bunch of tinnies, it is important to know that your Australian driving license is not valid in Sri Lanka. For you to drive your car, scooter or tuktuk in Sri Lanka you need a Sri Lankan Driving Recognition Permit. This can be applied either with your international driver’s license, also known as an International Drivers Permit (IDP) or with your “Regular Drivers Licence” with B/C endorsement (depending on your state where B/C is representing the car).

What you need to apply for International Driving Permit:

  1. You can only apply for your International Driving Permit via the AAA or Australian Automobile Association. If you are in a rush, you can book an appointment with the State and Territory Motoring Club near you. Fill out the application form, bring a passport photo and don’t forget to bring your license.
  2. If you are not in a rush, you can easily apply for your IDP online. Make sure to upload a passport photograph and good photos of the front and back of your license.
Example of an Australian IDP.

Regardless of the process, your International Driving Permit will be posted to you on the address you provide and will cost about AU $42, excluding postage fees.

Carrying your International Driver Permit, you are only one small step away from obtaining your Sri Lankan driving license. If you wish to organize it yourself, make your way down to the Automobile Association of Ceylon (also known as the AAC) office in either Colombo or Kandy.

You need the following:

  1. LKR 7662.50 LKR (around AU $38, keep in mind that the exchange rates fluctuate!).
  2. International Driving Permit (IDP).
  3. Your passport (hard copy), driving license (hard copy) and your visa, just in case!
  4. A pinch of patience for the Sri Lankan system. Although this is generally a relatively fast-moving process, during peak hours you might have to wait some time for your license to be ready. Don’t worry, the office is air conditioned!   

If you wish to not spend valuable time in a government office while you could also be spending that time sipping a fresh coconut on a beach, or if you are not planning to go to Colombo or Kandy, you can also let us arrange your Sri Lankan license and/or your IDP. Make a booking with us on our website and we’ll organize your Sri Lankan license for you upon arrival!

For more information on and the details of arranging an International Driving Permit in Australia, visit this website. And for a little bit of help navigating the Sri Lankan licensing institutes, check this link!


13 Comments

  • Posted June 17, 2019 2:46 pm
    by Rantoanison

    hi

    we are currenlty in India (Bengaluru) and schedule to go in Sri lanka this Thursday.
    we are hopping to rent a tuk tuk or car but we don’t have our internatial driver licence.
    we have french driver licence
    is there any possibility from here to obtain it for this Thursday ?

    • Posted June 17, 2019 2:59 pm
      by Wietse Sennema

      Hey there! Yes, no worries. We can get you a Sri Lankan Recognition Permit with your normal country licence as well 🙂 Just make a booking through our website http://www.tuktukrental.com – you will receive the licence form in the confirmation email, just upload the documents and everything is ready on arrival!

  • Posted September 30, 2019 1:19 am
    by Toto

    Hi guys,
    same for renting a Tuk-Tuk in India with a french driving license ans no international driver license?
    Thanks.

    • Posted October 6, 2019 7:06 pm
      by Wietse Sennema

      Hey Toto, for India you need to have an International Drivers Licence!

  • Posted January 15, 2023 5:42 am
    by Rajendran (Raj) Karthigeyan

    Once I get the IDP from (AAA) Which is valid for one year and then I need to get the SriLankan license from AAC. How long the SriLankan license is valid?

    • Posted January 15, 2023 8:52 am
      by Wietse Sennema

      When you get it with an IDP, the Sri Lankan Permit is valid as long as the IDP is valid and maximum one year.

  • Posted January 15, 2023 5:46 am
    by Raj

    How long the SriLankan license valid from AAC after obtaining the IDP

    • Posted January 15, 2023 8:52 am
      by Wietse Sennema

      When you get it with an IDP, the Sri Lankan Permit is valid as long as the IDP is valid and maximum one year.

  • Posted March 27, 2023 5:51 am
    by Jason Warland

    The reason that you are required to endorse your IDP at Automobile Association of Ceylon is only because they want to take US$25 from you. That’s the only reason. They just look at your IDP and give you a piece of paper. That’s it. I’ve driven in many countries with my IDP without having to get it endorsed. What’s so different about Sri Lanka?? They have some of the worse drivers in the world with very high accident rate. Sri Lanka should learn to take money from foreigners in a more meaningful and productive ways rather than coming up with lazy ideas to take the hard-earned money. This is very disappointing.

    • Posted March 28, 2023 2:29 pm
      by Wietse Sennema

      It also means the insurance covers your accidents without the rental agency lying about who drove. If a tourist drives a tuktuk (or any other vehicle in Sri Lanka, for that matter) and gets into an accident, the insurance will pay zero without a valid Sri Lankan permit.

      I understand your point, though. It does not make sense as Sri Lanka is a signatory to the treaty. We have had many discussions with the Automobile Association of Ceylon and the Department of Motor Traffic – this is just how it is now.

  • Posted May 21, 2023 3:19 pm
    by Hardy

    Hello, is there an maximum age restriction for applying for a Sri Lankan License, or the rental of a TukTuk?

    • Posted May 22, 2023 10:56 am
      by Raveen Liyanage

      Greetings! As long as you have a valid National(your country) licence or International lincence you can apply for the Sri Lankan recognition driving permit. Cheers, Raveen

    • Posted May 22, 2023 12:56 pm
      by Wietse Sennema

      Not at all! As long as you have a valid car licence, we can get you permit to drive a tuktuk in Sri Lanka. We’ve had people in their 70s drive tuktuks with us at tuktukrental.com (and even join the Tuktuk Tournament!).

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