International Driver’s Permit

International Driver's Permit


Some people find it more convenient to drive for themselves rather than letting someone do it for them even when they are in a foreign land. However, a US state-issued driver’s license does not warrant a person is allowed to drive in that foreign country.

180 nations are signatories to the International Driving Permit or IDP that was set by the United Nations Convention on Road Safety wherein tourists who wish to drive on their own in their country must apply for an IDP. The requirements for an IDP are standard in all of the countries.

Validity and Eligibility

  • Must be 18 years old or higher
  • Must have a US state-issued driver’s license that will not expire in the next 6 months. An suspended or expired US driver’s license is not accepted.
  • An IDP is valid for 1 year and re-application is required if it is needed again after its expiry.

Advantages of an IDP

  • Recognized by most countries – having an IDP makes other countries understand that you are qualified and legal to drive.
  • Printed in other languages – IDPs can be printed in English, Chinese, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian and Spanish which makes it more “readable” and understandable by locals who are not very familiar with the English language.
  • Required to be able to rent a car – most rent-a-car companies in other countries require foreigners to present a valid IDP before they lend a vehicle
  • Required by a lot of insurance policies – most travel insurances cover accidents on the road when driven by foreigners who have a valid IDP

Application for IDP

The American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club issues IDP in the US. You need to present the following:

  • International Driver’s Permit application signed and completed
  • Two passport photos
  • Front as well as back photocopy of valid US driver’s license
  • International Driver’s Permit fee – $15.00


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