The International Driving Permit, accepted
in over 150 countries outside the United States, is a legal identification
document that translates United States driver license information
into 10 foreign languages. The permit is valid for up to one
year from the date of issue and must be accompanied by a valid United
States driver license at all times.
The International Driving Permit is issued
in accordance with the United Nations Convention in International
Road Traffic (1949 Geneva), which encompassed more than 100 countries.
In April 1952, the U.S. Department of State officially authorized
AAA to issue the International Driving Permit as a service to the
AAA was selected for this authorization because
it is a not-for-profit organization with member clubs in all
parts of the country, giving wide local coverage for information
and service. Equally important, AAA maintains a close relationship
with motoring associations in all other countries that have likewise
been authorized by their respective governments to provide this
service for international motorists.
Regardless of legal requirements, AAA
recommends that all international travelers carry an International
Driving Permit when traveling in countries where a language other
than English is spoken.
In countries where an International Driving
Permit is required by law, there is no guarantee that holders will
be asked to disclose it. And, in countries where it is not
required by law, holders may benefit from disclosing this additional
form of identification. Thus the permit serves as an inexpensive
form of insurance in the sense that it provides international travelers
with backup identification.
|When U.S. driver license holders
are traveling in international destinations and asked to
show proof of driving eligibility, the permit can prevent time
delays, fines, or bail charges.
|When U.S. driver license holders
traveling in international destinations are asked to show an
official form of identification, the permit can help overcome
Issued through the U.S. State Department, the International
Driving Permit for travelers who hold a United States driver license
is only available at AAA
offices. All AAA club offices must offer the permit for
sale to members and non-members alike, at the standard fee of $15.
Travelers with a Canadian driver license must purchase a separate
permit at CAA offices.
- Applicant must be at least 18
years of age.
- Applicant must hold a current
U.S. state, territorial, or U.S. Department of State driver's
license which is not under revocation or suspension and which
is valid at the time the permit is issued. (State side license
must remain valid for permit to be valid.)
- The application must be completed
in its entirety showing the date on which the application is made
and be signed by the applicant in the same manner as his or her
signature appears on the supporting home state or territorial
- Applicant must furnish two recent
passport type photographs (2" X 2") with the applicant's signature
on the back.
- A fee of $15 must be collected
and retained by the issuing AAA club.
The permit is issued for
a one-year period. It is valid for one year from effective date
provided the state license is still valid throughout that period.
- If the applicant's state license
expires before the one-year expiration date, the applicant should
be aware that the permit is only valid for the length of time
that the domestic driver's license is valid, but the permit will
be issued for a one-year period based on the intention to have
the state license renewed at the appropriate time.
- The permit cannot be issued on
the basis of a U.S. Government License which is limited to the
operation of government-owned vehicles only.
- The permit cannot be renewed on
the strength of a previously issued permit. Each applicant must
reapply for a new permit.
- The permit is not valid for driving
in the United States or its territories.
- The permit is not valid by itself
for driving and must be carried with the applicant's regular driver
1. Will I definitely need to have
an International Driving Permit?
There is no guarantee that anyone
will ask you for it. But, if you are asked to demonstrate
proof of driving eligibility, the permit can save you considerable
time, trouble and money.
2. If I do not use my International
Driving Permit, can I get a refund?
As with insurance, there is no refund
for non-use. However, the permit is valid for up to one year
from the date of issue, so you may be able to use it on a future
3. Suppose I do not want to
spend the extra $15, what could happen?
If you are asked to show proof of driving
eligibility, the potential fines or bond charges could be costly,
and may be required in local currency. The $15 permit charge
is a small amount to pay for the security a permit provides through
4. I'm a cautious driver.
Isn't my U.S. driver license really enough?
You may be asked to disclose
your proof of driving eligibility if you rent a car or pass through
a routine highway patrol checkpoint. Further, because driving
practices vary by country, you could unknowingly break a law
or become involved in a traffic crash. Regardless of the
reason you need to communicate with authorities, the permit can help
you get on your way more quickly.
5. Suppose I don't drive while
However you travel, the permit
is an invaluable official form of identification in countries where
a language other than English is spoken. When you need to communicate
with authorities, the permit's language translations can help
minimize confusion and delays.
6. If I'm not sure, can I purchase
the International Driving permit later?
International Driving Permits are
issued through the U.S. Department of State ONLY at AAA
offices, during regular business hours. Permits are available
while you wait if you apply in person with the necessary documentation
and fee. If applying by mail, allow at least two weeks
for processing and delivery.