International Driving Permits

Maybe you’re not planning to drive, but if you are planning a trip overseas, take the time beforehand to get an International Driving Permit. They’re inexpensive, easy to obtain through AAA, and they’re honored as identification in more than 150 countries. The permit contains your name, photo and driver information translated into 10 languages.

Why carry an IDP? Some countries don’t recognize driver’s licenses from the United States as identification but do accept an IDP. The government may not require that you carry one, but without one you may not be able to rent a car. Having an IDP can save a lot of potential hassles.

Keep in mind, AAA is an authorized provider of International Driving Permits in the United States. You can obtain an IDP while you wait at any AAA branch. Just provide the following:

  • A completed IDP application. Pick one up at your AAA branch or download and print one.
  • Two original passport-size photos with your signature on the back. (They’re available at any AAA Travel branch, $8 to members, $15 to non-members.)
  • A $20 application fee (no cash if applying by mail).
  • A current driver's license from your home state or U.S. territory.

To apply by mail, send your completed application, fee and a photocopy of your driver’s license to any AAA branch. Allow 10 days for delivery. If you’re currently overseas, send them to:

Attn: Mailstop #28
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746

A few more important facts:

  • You must be at least 18 to apply for an IDP.
  • IDPs are valid for one year and are not renewable. An IDP is valid only when accompanied by your U.S.-issued driver’s license.

Want to see what it’s like to drive in Japan?

The Japan Automobile Federation, one of AAA’s sister organizations, has put together a series of practice scenarios on how to avoid potentially dangerous situations on Japan’s streets. The series, called “Risk Prediction,” looks at some of the unique challenges of driving in Japanese cities, such as blind corners, two-way bicycle traffic, and the novelty of driving on the left. Learn what to look for while driving in Japan.


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