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. driver's license. Your U.S. driver's license must be valid for at least 6 months past the issuance of the IDP.

We do not issue IDPs for those that carry a foreign driver's license. Please contact the foreign agency that issued your foreign driver's license for more information on how to obtain an IDP.

You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to apply.

You do not have to be a member of the National Automobile Club to apply.

4. How do I get an International Driving Permit?

Simply print the International Driving Permit Application, , complete and sign the application, enclose two (2) original color passport photos, a signed clear photocopy of the front and back of your U.S. driver's license, and payment. Mail everything together to:

The National Automobile Club
Attn: IDP
373 Vintage Park Drive, Suite E
Foster City, CA 94404

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

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. driver's license.

6. How much does an International Driving Permit cost?

The International Driving Permit fee is $15.00, plus shipping and handling. 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 credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).

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 and instructions.

Normal processing time is 10 to 15 business days (excluding the shipping time to and from the National Automobile Club located in Foster City, California).

For expedited processing, please select Priority or Express/Courier shipping and handling method on your application. These processing times do not take into account the significant delay caused by submitting incorrect and/or incomplete documents.

Please note that the domestic express and international courier shipping options are the only options that include a signature upon delivery, with tracking. Domestic and international priority mail includes tracking only. Domestic and international 1st class mail does not have tracking (or signature). We are not responsible for items lost in the mail.

8. How can I pay?

Payment may be made by check, money order, or credit card (we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover). 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. driver's license is valid for at least 6 months beyond the 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 driver's license of the traveler. For example; if someone from Italy has an Italian driver's license, their IDP must also be issued in Italy. We do not issue IDPs for those that carry a foreign driver's license. Please contact the foreign agency that issued your foreign driver's license for more information on how to obtain an IDP.

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. driver's 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, because two original color passport photos are required to be submitted with the application and other required documents. We do not print nor take photographs in-house. Only applications received by mail (or in person at 373 Vintage Park Drive, 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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