How to apply for international driving licence in Malaysia: for Malaysians and foreigners

Hannes Ausmees

Need to get an international driving licence in Malaysia so you can hire a car and get around when you travel abroad? Or maybe you’re looking for more information on the JPJ foreign driving licence conversion to Malaysian driving licence process - if you’re a foreigner moving to Malaysia to live, study or work, for example.

This guide is for you. We’ll cover how each scenario works, how to get an international driving permit in Malaysia, and more. And to help you save money when you’re outside of your home country, we’ll also introduce Wise as a smart way to save on currency conversion and international spending.


What is an international driving permit?

An international driving licence¹, also called an international driving permit (IDP) is an official document which shows you have a competent driving licence in your home country. This then allows you to drive overseas without taking another driving test.

You might see 2 different types of IDP being referred to - the 1949 format and the 1968 format. This describes the dates of the international treaty on issuing and honouring IDPs. 1949 format IDPs are usually issued for 1 year only, while 1968 format documents can last for up to 3 years, as long as your original country’s licence is still valid for that time.

An IDP is an additional document - it doesn’t replace your original driving licence. It’s intended to allow you to drive when overseas for a short period. However, if you’re moving for the long term the chances are that you’ll need to convert your home driving licence to a licence issued by the country you’ve moved to.

This guide walks through 2 different options which may apply in different cases:

  • How to apply for an international driving licence - which may be handy if you have a Malaysian licence and need to travel overseas
  • How to convert a foreign driving licence to a Malaysian driving licence - which could be necessary if you’re a foreigner living in Malaysia for any significant length of time

Malaysia international driving licence country list

Before you travel, you’ll need to check if the country you’re headed to will accept an international driving licence, and if so, which version. The good news is that there’s a full list - with a search function - over on the international driving licence desktop site. Take a look here to see what paperwork you’ll need to drive in the country you’re headed to¹.

How to apply for an international driving licence in Malaysia

If you’re travelling overseas and intend to drive you might need an international driving licence. Whether or not this is necessary depends on where you’re headed.

Some countries, particularly within the ASEAN region, will allow you to use your Malaysian licence without an IDP. However, there are also destinations where an IDP is essential - both to drive legally and hire a car. There’s detail on how to check whether your destination requires an IDP coming up in just a moment.

International driving permits can be obtained for 1 year, at a JPJ² (Road Transport Department) office, or a branch of the Malaysian Automobile Association³.

To apply for an IDP in Malaysia, you will need:⁴

  1. Driving licence with more than 1-year validity.
  2. Photocopy of the driving licence (Both sides)
  3. Original and photocopy of Identity Card (Both sides), or passport if you’re a foreigner in Malaysia
  4. Passport size photographs
  5. Complete Form JPJ L1⁵ (Get online or at JPJ office)
  6. Payment of RM150⁶

How to convert a foreign driving licence to a Malaysian driving licence

If you’re moving to Malaysia for a long time, you’ll probably be required to convert your existing driving licence to a Malaysian licence within a set period - often 90 days. However, the process can vary somewhat as some countries have bilateral agreements with Malaysia which mean that the terms of using or converting your licence are different - you may qualify for an automatic conversion, for example.

Because conditions, requirements and processes for converting your licence may change it’s well worth contacting JPJ directly to confirm if you’re required to switch your licence. Take this step in good time, so you’re not in a hurry to beat any deadlines.

The exact process for foreign driving licence conversion in Malaysia will depend a lot on which country originally issued your licence. You’ll be expected to attend a JPJ office in person with your supporting documents, which are likely to include:

  1. Driving licence with more than 1-year validity - English translation and certification may be required, depending on the issuing country
  2. Original and photocopy of passport and residence documents
  3. Passport size photographs
  4. Completed Form JPJ L1 (Get online or at JPJ office)
  5. Payment - this can vary based on the type of conversion you’re able to arrange, based on the country which issued your licence in the first place

Double check the exact requirements based on where your licence was originally issued, as some countries have additional requirements, such as additional verification or permission from a local embassy.

Planning to travel overseas? See how Wise can help you save on international spending

Now you’ve got your international driving permit - or your new Malaysian driving licence if you’re a foreigner moving here to live, work or study - you need smart ways to manage your international spending.

Meet Wise. Open a Wise account online or in app, from Malaysia or almost any other country in the world, to hold 40+ currencies, spend with a linked Wise card in 170+ countries, and get local bank details to receive payments from 30+ countries with ease. Wise always uses the Google exchange rate, and low, transparent fees, which can help you cut your costs.


If you’re a Malaysian taking a trip abroad, you’ll be able to add money to Wise in MYR and convert to the currency you need in your Wise account for easy spending. Or just let the card’s smart auto convert feature do it for you, with the same low Wise fees every time.

And if you’re a foreigner in Malaysia to live, work or study you can use Wise to pay and get paid conveniently, with overseas transfers to 80+ countries, and your Wise card for international spending. Easy.

Pricing/fees: Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information

So there you have it. All you need to get started with applying for your international driving licence in Malaysia, so you can get around easily on your next trip. And if you’re a foreigner moving to Malaysia and looking for ways to convert your home country driving licence to a Malaysian one, we’ve got you covered too.

Once you’ve got all your driving paperwork prepared, don’t forget to check out Wise, for great ways to save for anyone who lives an international lifestyle.

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  1. International driving permit
  2. JPJ
  3. Malaysian Automobile Association
  4. JPJ - application for IDP
  5. Form JPJ L1
  6. JPJ fees

Sources checked on 16/02/2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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