The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that provides important information from your driver’s license in eleven different languages, including English. This document came into existence by virtue of a treaty signed in 1949 by the United States and other foreign countries. As an official document, the IDP is recognized in over 150 countries today. Carried in conjunction with a regular drivers license, the IDP can help break down language barriers when traveling in non-English speaking countries. In addition, the IDP provides an additional source of identification. The $20 charge for an IDP is a small price to pay for such peace of mind.
There are some countries that do not recognize a drivers license from the United States, but officially recognize an IDP (e.g. Hungary). There are other countries that honor a United States drivers license, but require a local language translation (e.g. Spain). The IDP can satisfy these types of situations. Keep in mind, however, that while a certain country’s government may not require an IDP, car rental companies located in that country, such as Hertz, may require an IDP to rent a car. Purchasing an IDP prior to departure can save a lot of potential hassles.
NOTE: If you are living permanently in a foreign country, even though you may still hold a U.S. state issued driver's license, you must abide by local driver's licensing laws. Many countries require that you obtain a local license once you take up employment and/or residency.
The IDP does not hold any powers of its own apart from your drivers license, and therefore, you do not have a separate driving record with an IDP. The IDP is valid only when carried in conjunction with and acts as a translation of a drivers license. If you are traveling in a foreign country and were to be stopped by a law enforcement officer, your U.S. drivers license and IDP should be presented to the officer. If a citation is issued to you, it will be reflected on the driving record that is with your drivers license.
The United Nations provided official notification to the U.S. State Department indicating that the treaty which applies to Hong Kong at present will continue to apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the name given to the territory by China. Such notification should not be misconstrued to mean that China now recognizes IDPs, as the People’s Republic of China has never become a party to the treaty.
No, even though the IDP/IADP is valid for one year you must adhere to all local laws. For example, in many countries if you take up residence or employment you need to obtain a local license.
An IDP must be issued in the same country as the driver’s license of the traveler. Therefore, if someone from the United Kingdom has a U.K. driver’s license, their IDP must also be issued in the United Kingdom.
The IDP must be issued in the same country as the driver’s license. In the case of a driver’s license being issued in the United States, the IDP must also be issued in the United States. Contact your nearest AAA office to obtain an IDP.
Since their driver’s license was issued by a U.S. possession, their IDP would also be issued in the United States. Contact a AAA office in the United States, and the IDP can be issued and mailed.
Scanned photographs are not acceptable. Please read U.S. Passport Photo Requirements for guidelines. Polaroid type photographs are acceptable. Photographs can be either color or black and white. Photocopies are not acceptable.
Each state has its own provisions for extending the validity of state driving licenses for active duty military. Though valid in a home state, an expired U.S. license held by active duty military may not be valid or acceptable in a foreign country per that country’s driving requirements. See DMV.org for state information on renewals, keeping in mind that an IDP is only a translation of the license, not a license to drive. Military applicants must understand the conditions under which an IDP is valid if insisting upon issuance of a permit against an expired U.S. license that may be considered valid in their home state until discharged from active duty.
NOTE: If a state DMV allows renewal online or by mail for active duty military personnel stationed out of state, applicants should renew their license prior to issuance of an IDP. Some states will issue a DL236 card to be presented with an expired license to extend validity.
The International Driving Permit is valid for South America, EXCEPT Brazil and Uruguay. The Inter-American Driving Permit (IADP) must be issued for those two countries. Please visit your nearest AAA Store to process an application for an Inter-American Driving Permit. This permit is currently unavailable for processing through the mail.
While a temporary license is a valid license you should wait until you receive your permanent state license before traveling. Authorities abroad probably will not accept a temporary license.
You need to complete a brief application form (available online and at your AAA Store), provide 2 passport-sized photographs with your signature on the back of them, a photocopy of the front and back of your valid U.S. issued driver’s license, and an application fee. Visit your nearest AAA Store to process your application. If you prefer, you may place an order online and submit your materials through mail for processing
NOTE: If you are currently overseas, please contact us to obtain a quote for processing and international delivery.
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