Everything You Need To Know About Getting An International Drivers Permit

driving in the ukIf you’re traveling internationally, you may need to make sure that more than just your passport is up to date. Visitors to foreign nations may need to register for an International Driver’s Permit or IDP if they intend to operate a vehicle overseas.

We worked with Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International – a leading provider of travel, security and medical assistance, to get some tips for travelers.

What is an IDP? Why do I need one?
An international driving permit allows one to operate a vehicle in more than 150 countries worldwide. In many of these countries, a U.S. driver’s license is not recognized.

Who requires an IDP?
A list of countries where International Driver’s Permits are required/accepted is available here.

Where do I get an International Driver’s Permit?
The US Department of State recommends going to either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the National Auto Club (NAC) to obtain your IDP. Depending on wait times, you can usually have your IDP in hand within 30 minutes. If you are unable to go to a local office, AAA and NAC offer mail-in options.

How long is it good for?
Kelly notes that IDPs may not be issued more than six months in advance of desired usage date and are valid for one year. If you are already overseas, there is the option of mailing a completed application to the AAA/IDP address. It will take 4-6 weeks for return mail unless additional postage for express mail service is included with the application.

What do I need to provide?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, present two passport-size photographs and a valid US driver’s license. An IDP from AAA or NAC costs approximately $15 and can be paid by check, money order, or major credit card.


In the event that you get pulled over, many countries require drivers to show their home country license as well as an IDP. Also, rental car companies may or may not require an IDP or even ask for one.


[Image Credit: GothamNurse]