How to Get an International Driving Permit

by Lucas D
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If you also possess a current state-issued driver’s license, you are able to operate a car in another country with an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Additionally, it is accepted as legal identification in more than 175 nations and by the majority of world-renowned automobile rental agencies.

If you’re planning to drive while traveling abroad, make sure to plan ahead. Depending on whether you’re going through walk-in processing or applying via mail, getting an International Driver’s Permit (sometimes incorrectly called an international driver’s license) can take anywhere from a day to a few weeks. These documents are only issued by the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance in the United States (AATA).

Places to Find One

The State Department advises against buying an International Driver Permit (IDP) from any other sources because they are all wholly illegal to acquire, carry, or sell. In the United States, IDPs are exclusively given by the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Anyone over the age of 18 with a valid driver’s license for at least six months is eligible to receive an IDP. They normally last for a year or until your current state driving license expires, whichever comes first. It’s crucial to research an IDP and be aware of the requirements prior to your travel.

Once you’ve decided on a provider, go to the website of either AAA or NAATA, print out the International Driving Permit Application, fill out all necessary fields, and submit it. Both AAA and AATA are excellent resources for these documents.

You can submit the application when you’ve finished it by mail or in person at a local AAA office; you’ll also need two original passport-sized pictures, a signed copy of your current U.S. driver’s license, and a check for the application fee.

Advice for Obtaining and Utilizing Your Permit

IDPs can be processed at AAA offices while you’re there, but if you send in the application, processing typically takes 10 to 15 business days. However, for a surcharge, expedited options might be available to acquire your license in just one or two working days.

A computer and printer, a filled out application, a copy of your current U.S. driver’s license, two passport images, and payment by check, money order, or credit card are required to complete the application process. If you’re submitting an application in person, don’t forget to include these.

When driving abroad, make sure to always have your current United States driver’s license with you as your IDP is void without this added documentation of your driving eligibility. IDPs only translate nationally recognized licenses; they do not permit foreign driving without a government-issued license.

When sending your application to AAA or AATA, you should also make sure to include the correct fees (the IDP cost, as well as any shipping and handling fees), pictures, and photocopies of your license because lacking any of these necessary papers will cause your application to be refused.

In order to know what will be necessary in the event that you are stopped by local authorities while on vacation, you should also research the driving regulations and legislation for the nations in which you will be driving.

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