Python – How to convert local time string to UTC

datetimelocaltimepythonutc

How do I convert a datetime string in local time to a string in UTC time?

I'm sure I've done this before, but can't find it and SO will hopefully help me (and others) do that in future.

Clarification: For example, if I have 2008-09-17 14:02:00 in my local timezone (+10), I'd like to generate a string with the equivalent UTC time: 2008-09-17 04:02:00.

Also, from http://lucumr.pocoo.org/2011/7/15/eppur-si-muove/, note that in general this isn't possible as with DST and other issues there is no unique conversion from local time to UTC time.

Best Solution

First, parse the string into a naive datetime object. This is an instance of datetime.datetime with no attached timezone information. See its documentation.

Use the pytz module, which comes with a full list of time zones + UTC. Figure out what the local timezone is, construct a timezone object from it, and manipulate and attach it to the naive datetime.

Finally, use datetime.astimezone() method to convert the datetime to UTC.

Source code, using local timezone "America/Los_Angeles", for the string "2001-2-3 10:11:12":

from datetime import datetime   
import pytz

local = pytz.timezone("America/Los_Angeles")
naive = datetime.strptime("2001-2-3 10:11:12", "%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
local_dt = local.localize(naive, is_dst=None)
utc_dt = local_dt.astimezone(pytz.utc)

From there, you can use the strftime() method to format the UTC datetime as needed:

utc_dt.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")