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Compliments of AAA Auto Club South - International Driving Permit

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General Information

 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 general public. 

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 language barriers.

 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.


Purchasing Requirements

  1. Applicant must be at least 18 years of age.

  2. 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.)

  3. 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 license.

  4. Applicant must furnish two recent passport type photographs (2" X 2") with the applicant's signature on the back.

  5. A fee of $15 must be collected and retained by the issuing AAA club.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. The permit cannot be renewed on the strength of a previously issued permit. Each applicant must reapply for a new permit.

  10. The permit is not valid for driving in the United States or its territories.

  11. The permit is not valid by itself for driving and must be carried with the applicant's regular driver license.


Frequently Asked Questions

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 trip.

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 identification.

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 I'm overseas?

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. 

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