Moving down my pre-departure checklist I picked up my new international driving permit (IDP) today, and a friend asked what it is.
If you’re unfamiliar with international driving permits, it is illegal to drive without a valid license in most countries, particularly those that do not recognize a U.S. drivers license at all. An IDP a translation of your U.S. driver’s license that allows you to legally drive in 150 other countries. Most places will be satisfied with your U.S. license and rental contract, but I see no point in rolling the dice considering six of the countries I’ll be visiting this year and eight I’m touring in 2022 on the list. I won’t be driving in every one of them, but why risk it for those I know I will.
You can be fined in some places if you do not have one. Additionally, your car can be impounded, and you can be held up by authorities until they grow tired.
AATA IDL requires you to download and mail in an application form with the photos and copies of everything, but you can walk in to your local AAA office and you’ll leave with your IDL in hand.
The IDL has to be renewed annually and must be presented along with your driver’s license to be valid. It’s only good for vehicles in the same class in which your U.S. drivers license is issued.