Traveling the world is on many people’s to-do list. If you’re planning on driving overseas any time soon, you might want to consider getting an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you hit the road. Also called an “international driving permit” or “international permit”, an international driving permit is easier to obtain than you might think.
What is an International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Permit allows you to drive a car in another country and tells authorities that you are legally allowed to drive in your home country. This means that to get one, you must have a valid driver’s license issued by your state. IDPs are also recognized by many major car rental companies around the world.
According to UpgradedPoints, “IDPs can be issued to anyone 18 or older who has had a valid driver’s license for 6 months or more. You must also be a permanent resident of the United States or a US territory. It is also important to remember that you will want to apply for an IDP before leaving for your trip, so advance planning is necessary.
How do I get an international driver’s license in the United States?
Keep in mind that in the United States, international driver’s licenses are only issued by two companies: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).
If you’re not a AAA member, you don’t have to worry. AAA issues international driver’s licenses to the public. You can apply for an IDP by mail or at any full-service AAA location in person. Here is everything you will need:
- A completed request. You can stop by any AAA branch or download and print one from the website.
- Two passport photos with your signature on the back
- A check or money order for the $20 application fee, plus tax
- A valid driver’s license from your home state or US territory
If you plan to apply through the primary route, be sure to send your application, fees, and a copy (front and back) of your driver’s license to any full-service AAA location. Be sure to allow 10-15 days for delivery.
Does an IDP cover all countries?
No, an International Driving Permit does not cover all countries, so be sure to do some research before planning your trip. However, this form of identification is valid in more than 180 countries. The best part? It will translate your credentials into 10 different languages.
Keep in mind that US driver’s licenses are considered valid by Canada and Mexico for visitors on short-term tourist trips, so you won’t need an IDP.
Is getting an international driving license worth it?
If you’re over 18 and want more peace of mind when driving abroad, an International Driving Permit is worth it. Plus, it’s a quick and easy process. You should always check the driving requirements and laws of the countries in which you will be driving. This way you will know what is required if the local authorities stop you.
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