National Automobile Club, Peace of Mind, Mile after Mile, since 1924
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) Pertaining
to the International Driving Permit (IDP):

1. What is an International Driving Permit?

International Driving Permits are a recognizable form of identification which can help you communicate with foreign authorities. The IDP provides an official translation of your U.S. driver’s license into 9 foreign languages and is acknowledged as valid identification in 174 countries around the world. IDPs are not a replacement for your U.S. license, but should be used as a supplement to it. Experienced travelers always carry the International Driving Permit while traveling outside the USA.

2. Are International Driving Permits mandatory?

Although many foreign countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses, most countries require and recognize a valid International Driving Permit. While the IDP is not valid within the United States, one is needed for travel of more than 50 miles into Canada or 300 miles into Mexico. Whether driving your own car, a rental, or someone else’s vehicle (with permission) abroad it pays to have the peace of mind an IDP provides.

3. Who is eligible for an International Driving Permit?

Issuance of International Driving Permits are restricted to persons 18 years and older who hold a valid U.S. license. Your U.S. license must be valid for at least 6 months past the issuance of the IDP.

4. How do I get an International Driving Permit?

Simply print the International Driving Permit Application, complete the application entirely, enclose two (2) original passport size photos and a signed clear photocopy of the front and back of your U.S. driving license, include IDP fee payment of $15.00 along with applicable shipping & handling fees, and mail everything together to: The National Automobile Club, 373 Vintage Park Dr., Suite E, Foster City, CA 94404.

5. How long is an International Driving Permit valid?

The International Driving Permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance. A new IDP must be applied for each year. The permit is only valid when used in conjunction with a valid U.S. drivers license.

6. How much does an International Driving Permit cost?

The International Driving Permit fee is $15.00. Payment for the IDP (as well as applicable shipping & handling fees) must be received along with the completed application and required supporting documents. Payment may be made by check, money order, or major credit card.

Incomplete or illegible applications, or insufficient payment, may result in processing delays.

7. What are the shipping and handling costs?

Please refer to the application.

For expedited service, select the appropriate shipping and handling option.

Please note that the domestic and international courier shipping option is the only option that includes a signature upon delivery and tracking. All other options do not include delivery signature or tracking; and delivery timeframes may vary.

8. How can I pay?

Payment may be made by check, money order, or major credit card (i.e. Visa, Mastercard, or American Express). Payment for the IDP fee and desired shipping & handling must be made together and received along with the completed International Driving Permit application and supporting documents.

9. Can I apply for an International Driving Permit from outside the U.S.?

Yes you may. As long as your U.S. driving license is valid for at least 6 months beyond the requested issuance date of the International Driving Permit. U.S. Government and military personnel may apply as long as you have a valid U.S. driver’s license with the corresponding extension documents of your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

10. What are the benefits of carrying an IDP abroad?

The IDP provides an official translation of your U.S. driver’s license into 9 foreign languages and is acknowledged as valid identification in 174 countries around the world. International Driving Permits are also a recognizable form of identification which help you communicate with foreign authorities (especially in non-English speaking countries) and get you on your way more quickly. Major car rental companies require that renters have a valid International Driving Permit.

11. Can someone from a foreign country visiting the U.S. purchase an IDP?

International Driving Permits must be issued in the same country as the drivers license of the traveler. For example; if someone from Italy has an Italian drivers license, their IDP must also be issued in Italy.

12. What happens if I receive a citation against my International Driving Permit?

If you are traveling in a foreign country and are stopped by a law enforcement officer, you should present both your U.S. drivers license and IDP. If a citation is issued to you, it will reflect on the driving record of your driver’s license, not the IDP. While the various states Departments of Motor Vehicles access a national database for traffic citations within the United States, they do not have an international database. Any traffic violation penalties incurred in a foreign country would apply to the country in which you received the citation.

13. Can I apply for an International Driving Permit via the internet?

No. Due to the requirements that hard copy supporting documents (i.e. original photos and signed copy of driver’s license) and payment be included in the complete submission, only applications received by mail (or in person at 373 Vintage Park Dr., Suite E, Foster City, CA 94404) will be accepted.

14. Is the International Driving Permit good in all countries?

The IDP is not recognized in all countries (download PDF of participating countries). For example, the Inter-American Driving Permit is required in Brazil, Uruguay and Trinidad & Tobago (and is available through AAA only).

For up to date driving requirements, it is recommended that required permits are confirmed with the destination country.

 
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