Other JETs on the forums said that applying for their International Driving Permit (IDP) was the easiest part of the entire JET process. After applying for mine last Tuesday, I have to agree with them!
For those unfamiliar with the IDP, it is a permit (in the form of a booklet) that, when used together with your valid driver’s licence, allows you to drive in certain countries without needing a driver’s licence from that country. In my case, if I carry both my IDP and my Canadian licence with me, I will be able to drive a car in Japan without having to get a Japanese licence. Yay!
Getting the IDP is an easy process; all you need to do is visit your local Automobile Association, either in person or online. Because I am an Atlantic Canadian, I visited the CAA Atlantic website and found an electronic version of the IDP Application Form. The form is straightforward, asking for your personal info, your current driver’s license info, and some other harmless questions (have you had an IDP before, when do you depart Canada, etc.). I printed the form off, filled it out, then drove to my nearest CAA where I waited approximately 10 minutes for my application to be processed and the IDP to be stamped and issued. Voila! Another bonus of the IDP is that it is relatively cheap – the CAA charges only $25.
Easy and fast and cheap?! Definitely the simplest part of the entire JET process.
One of the only downfalls is that the IDP is valid for only one year from date of issue. Mine was issued on July 16, 2013, so if I want to drive a car in Japan during the last three weeks of my placement, I will have to apply for a Japanese licence. Fortunately, getting a Japanese licence will be fairly painless for me because I am Canadian, but I’ll save that blog post for if/when I get my Japanese licence.
Only 13 days ’til Japan and 10 days ’til I leave home – eek!