What is Necessary to Get an International Driver’s Permit

Do you have a trip coming up soon and you will drive while in the foreign country? Then you should apply for an International Driver’s Permit or IDP. The document, IDP, allows you to operate a motor vehicle in a foreign country that accepts it along with a current valid driver’s license. Click here to see if the country you will visit agrees with an IDP. Before you apply for an IDP, make sure you meet all the criteria below:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • You have a valid state-issued driver’s license with at least six months validity

Once you met them, you can apply for an IDP.

Applying for an IDP

American Automobile Association

The American Automobile Association or AAA is one of two places to apply for an International Driver’s Permit. To apply, complete the AAA IDP Application by downloading a PDF version here and then print the file. Provide your personal and license information and on the form. Obtain two color passport-size photos to submit with the application. You can visit an AAA office nearby to submit the documents and pay the cost personally.

If you prefer to mail in your documents, include a copy of the front and back of your driver’s license, complete the form, gather your photos, and a check or money order. Package all the papers and mail it into the nearest AAA office or location. Include a separate envelope with enough postage for your IDP to be sent to your address. Make sure you use the address you wish to receive your document. The cost of the IDP at AAA is $20.00.

American Automobile Touring Alliance

The American Automobile Touring Alliance or AATA is the second option you have to apply for an International Driver’s Permit. There is no other institution you can obtain an IDP. Before applying, download and complete the AATA IDP Application form. You can get a copy here. You must also have two recent passport-size photos, not older than six months. Also, have your valid state-issued driver’s license and money order, check, or a major credit card when you apply.

Like AAA, you can mail in your documents to an AATA office or nearby location. You must submit all the necessary documents including a copy of your driver’s license. The photocopy of the driver’s license must be the front and back. If your application is incomplete, you will delay the process and may not get your IDP in time for your trip. The price of the IDP at any AATA location is $20.00.

Using Your IDP

Now that you have your International Driver’s Permit, you can use it to drive in a foreign country that accepts it and your driver’s license. Remember, your IDP is not valid by itself. You must have your driver’s license along with the IDP when you are driving abroad. The IDP is not a valid ID like the driver’s license, so don’t assume it is just because it has a photo. Your IDP comes with benefits when you are traveling. Here are some benefits you can enjoy when going abroad with an IDP:

  • The IDP will be in the language of the country you will visit. It will provide the authorities with the necessary information in case you need you to get stopped or in an accident.
  • You can use it to rent a car. Many rental agencies will not rent vehicles without an IDP even if you have a valid driver’s license.
  • With an IDP, you can get insurance for the vehicle you will rent. You may have coverage in the U.S., but it is not transferable in another country.
  • The IDP is an instantly recognizable and provides proof you are allowed to drive. Not everyone above 18 years can drive or have a driver’s license.

Should a Foreign Visitor Obtain an IDP?

It is advice that anyone visiting the U.S. obtain an IDP from the country they received their license; especially, if English is not the first or official language of the country. Remember, an IDP is provided in the language of the country you will visit. So, it will be given in English to be read by anyone in the states. Many states do not require a foreigner who will drive in the U.S. to get an IDP. Nevertheless, it is best to have it so that communication can become a bit easier.