People with a valid U.S. driver’s license may apply for an international driving permit (IDP) for renting a car and driving overseas. According to the U.S. State Department, more than 150 countries honor an IDP as an official translation of a U.S. driver’s license. While the IDP doesn’t replace a driver’s license, many car rental companies overseas require an IDP to rent a car, even if the country doesn’t recognize the document. An IDP has a fixed term for use (six months), so frequent and long-term travelers must apply for an IDP on a regular basis.
Make sure to obtain an international driving permit for road trips abroad.
Items you will need
- 2 passport-sized photos
- Current driver’s license
- Optional: photocopy of driver’s license, check, envelope, postage stamp
- Processing International Driving Permits takes approximately four to six weeks and the permit is valid for six months from the date of issuance. If applying by mail and you want expedited processing, add the cost for express mail service (U.S. Postal Service rates) with your fee.
- Check with the AAA office or National Automobile Association for special considerations for your destination country because some countries require a Special Registration Fee, International Driving Permit and U.S. driver’s license upon arrival.
- According to AAA, the International Driving Permit is not valid in the same country as the traveler’s driver’s license. For example, a traveler with a New York State driver’s license cannot use an International Driving Permit in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- driving 4 image by Andrzej Borowicz from Fotolia.com