The Brazilian driver’s license is valid in which countries?
Find out where this document is accepted and what you should do if you are in a country that does not recognize the validity of the Brazilian driver’s license
Many people wonder if the Brazilian driver’s license can be used in other countries as an official document. Some people said they were able to use the document, while others had their right to drive prohibited.
In fact, you need to consider that each country is free to set their own rules. Additionally, companies renting vehicles to Brazilians abroad also have the right to make certain requirements.
For this reason, obtaining information before traveling is key to avoid any setback. However, in many countries the document is accepted without major problems. In this article, we will talk about the countries that accept it and what to do where it is not accepted.
Passport: your personal document abroad
First of all, it is important that you know once you are abroad, your Brazilian passport becomes your main document. Unlike what happens within the Brazilian territory, even if your Brazilian driver’s license is accepted, it is not valid as an identity document.
For this reason, keep in mind that even if you are in a country that accepts your driver’s license, in practice, you will be committing an illegal act if you are driving without your passport. Be aware of this formality.
Countries that accept the Brazilian driver’s license
Brazil is one of the signatories to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. This means that, in the locations below, the Brazilian driver’s license can be accepted for driving vehicles for a maximum period of up to 180 days.
After that period, if you want to continue driving abroad, you will need to obtain a specific license according to the rules of the country in question. However, that already makes life easier for travelers and exchange students.
The list of signatory countries to the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic includes, among others, the following nations:
Anguilla (Great Britain)
Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (Colombia)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ceuta and Melilla (Spain)
Gibraltar (Colony of Great Britain)
French Guiana (France)
Islands of Great Britain (Pitcairn, Cayman, Malvinas and Virgins)
Australia Islands (Cocos, Cook and Norfolk)
Finland (Aland) Islands
British Crown Islands (Channel)
Colombian Islands (Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands)
French Islands (Wallis and Futuna)
Montserrat (Great Britain)
Niue (New Zealand)
New Caledonia (France)
New Sparta (Venezuela)
French Polynesia (France)
United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales)
Central African Republic
Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (France)
Saint Helena (Great Britain)
Sao Tome and Principe
Southern and Antarctic Lands (British Colony)
British Territory in the Indian Ocean (British Colony)
Turks and Caicos Islands (British Colony)
International Driving Permit (IDP)
Although the Brazilian driver’s license is considered to be a valid document in the signatory countries to the Vienna Convention, in practice, some companies may establish stricter rules for vehicle rental.
Some locations may require submission of an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is a document issued by your state’s DETRAN and is valid for three years (or until the driver’s license expiration date, whichever comes first).
The IDP is an international version of the Brazilian driver’s license written in the German, Arabic, Spanish, French and Russian languages. It is a document with the same value as a driver’s license, but it may be required by some companies as a condition for renting vehicles.
In most cases, you just have to submit your driver’s license to be able to drive. However, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises, we recommend that you apply for an IDP with your state’s DETRAN.
Countries not signatory to the Vienna Convention
Most countries are signatories to the Vienna Convention, but maybe your country of destination is not listed. In this case, we recommend that you check the requirements on a case-by-case basis, because maybe there are stricter rules applicable to Brazilians who want to drive legally in a given country.
In China, for example, Brazilians are not allowed to drive not even with a Brazilian driver’s license or an IDP. The country has strict traffic laws that are different from Brazilian ones. Those wishing to drive there need to undergo a Chinese exam to get permission to drive a vehicle.
Fortunately, this is not the case for the main destination countries Brazilian travelers and exchange students choose to go. In most cases, your Brazilian driver’s license – submitted together with your passport – will be enough to enable you to drive legally abroad. The IDP is recommended as a precaution, but it is not mandatory.
To avoid problems, check the rules of your destination country before you go, including with the companies where you will rent a vehicle. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and you will be able to use an additional means of transport while abroad.