Globe-trotting is an experience in itself but being able to set off on your own path in a cool car can really define the trip. This process can also be a little daunting thinking of all the differences you may experience when navigating the roads in a country foreign to you. We have come up with a step by step guide on what permits you need and how to obtain them when traveling outside your home country with ease.
International Driving Permit ( IDP)
An International Driving Permit or IDP is a permit which allows a driver to legally drive in 150 countries all around the world. An IDP is sometimes called an international driver’s license, the terms are interchangeable but the proper term is international driving permit. You must have a valid driver’s license from your home country in order to obtain an IDP. The IDP acts as a translation of your license to another country. Most places outside of the US require any visitors who plan on driving to obtain an IDP before travel.
An IDP is valid for 1 year after it is issued and cannot be renewed. You must apply for a new IDP every time your permit expires.
Where to Get an International Driving Permit
AAA Driving Permit
|If you visit one of the hundred of AAA Locations throughout North America the agents can make you an IDP in minutes.|
Alternatively you can mail your application to:
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746
Attn: Mail Stop #28
Pay the additional for any shipping fees based on the urgency of your IDP needs.
|AAA locations that offer IDP services|
|An IDP can be made in a same visit session at a AAA location. |
Mail in applications can take 2-4 weeks depending on which mail service you choose.
|Countries that acknowledge AAA IDP|
|The 150 countries that aknowledge the IDP are the countries who attended the 1949 United Nations Convention on Road Traffic. Check the list here.|
Valid State Driver’s License
2 Regulation Passport Photos, AAA can also do this in office
The National Automobile Club (AATA) Driving Permit
|Shipping costs are dependent on the person applying for the permit. If you don’t need your IDP in a rush regular US Postal Service will work. The National Automobile Club also excepts FedEx and UPS.|
|AATA has one physical office in San Jose, CA. Unfortunately this office does not take appointments and you cannot walk-in to obtain an IDP in the same day.|
|An IDP can be made in a same visit session at a AAA location.Mail in applications can take 2-4 weeks depending on which mail service you choose.|
|Countries that acknowledge AATA IDP|
|The 150 countries that acknowledge the IDP are the countries who attended the 1949 United Nations Convention on Road Traffic. Check the list here.|
Valid State Driver’s License
2 Regulation Passport Photos
Payment for IDP and Shipping
Can You Apply For an IDP Overseas?
Yes, AAA will allow a driver to submit for an IDP overseas, but it can take up to 6 weeks to receive it. If you find yourself needing an IDP overseas, AAA is a great company that can help get it to you as fast as possible.
Traffic Infractions in Other Countries
If you are cited for any traffic violations the driver must present both their driver’s license and their IDP. The violation will not attach to the US driver’s license nor the IDP. All citations must be paid to the country it was received in. If the driver is involved in a more serious violation such as an accident, the driver may lose their IDP in that specific country.
Do I Need Car Insurance Overseas?
It is highly recommended to purchase the insurance offered to a driver at the rental car location. Your personal car insurance most likely will not cover you overseas. Checking with your agent is encouraged but the chances of you being covered in another country other than Canada is pretty slim.
Your Ready to Roll!
Renting a car in a foreign country doesn’t have to feel daunting if you have gathered the necessities. Driving overseas can be incredibly liberating and an experience of a lifetime. Do your diligence to have a plan and get your international driving permit, rent your car in advance, plan your route, and get ready to cruise the country.
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