Driving International: Hong Kong Launches Online Service for International Driving Permits
Hong Kong’s New Online Service for IDP
In a move to simplify the application process and enhance convenience for its citizens, Hong Kong’s Transport Department has launched an online service for International Driving Permit (IDP) applications. Launched on September 26, the service allows citizens to apply for an IDP without the need to personally visit the licensing offices. The online service platform is available to users of “e-Convenience+” or eligible applicants with a valid personal digital certificate.
Application Process Simplified
Through the new online system, applicants can complete the entire application process via the Hong Kong government’s one-stop website. Once the application is successfully processed, the IDP is mailed to the applicant via registered mail. The Transport Department has stated that if the applicant’s documents and photos are complete, the IDP can generally be mailed within 10 working days of receiving the online application. However, citizens who plan to drive in areas outside Hong Kong are advised to allow sufficient time for the application process.
Traditional Application Methods Still Available
While the online service offers an easier and more convenient way to apply for an IDP, the traditional application methods are still available for those who prefer them. Citizens can still submit their applications personally at the licensing office, by mail, or use the drop box set up at each licensing office. To save waiting time, appointments can be made online or by phone for those who wish to apply at the licensing office counter.
Online and Traditional Permits: Valid but Different
The IDP processed online will have the information printed on a full sticker, making the layout slightly different from the traditional IDP. Nevertheless, both versions of the IDP are valid. They each come with the stamp of the Transport Department, confirming their authenticity and validity.
Requirements for Online Application
For citizens who wish to use the online service to apply for an IDP, certain requirements need to be met. Applicants must have a valid Hong Kong Identity Card, a full Hong Kong driving license that is still valid or has not expired for more than three years at the time of application, an iAM Smart account with a digital signing function or a valid personal digital certificate, a recent photograph, proof of the applicant’s present address issued no later than three months from the date of application, and a credit card or an FPS account.
Convenience and Efficiency: The Way Forward
By introducing the online service for IDP applications, Hong Kong’s Transport Department has taken a significant step towards improving the efficiency of its services and enhancing the convenience for its citizens. This move reflects the increasing trend of digitalization in government services worldwide, offering a more streamlined and user-friendly experience for citizens.
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