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How to get an International Driver's License?

If you are an American and are thinking about renting a car abroad, remember that most countries require an International Driver's License. Don't worry, there is no need to take complicated exams to obtain this document and the process of obtaining it is quite simple. However, there are a number of aspects to consider to make your journey as smooth and comfortable as possible.

In this guide, we will cover the important steps of planning and preparing for a road trip around the world so that you feel confident and prepared for any situation. Let's get started on this exciting journey!

What is an International Driver's License?

An International Driving Permit (or International Driver's License) is an internationally recognized document that confirms your right to drive a car or other vehicle. It is not a substitute for a national driver's license, but a supplement to it. It allows you to translate your driver's license information into different languages and ensures that your driving qualifications are understood in other countries.

It is important to note that an IDP does not give you a new license or privileges abroad. It only confirms your existing driving privileges. However, the rules and restrictions that apply to drivers in the country you are in remain in effect.

  • UN Standard International Driving Permit
  • Electronic International Driving License
International Driving License (IDL)
What is IDP?
Your domestic driving license translation to any language is an International Driving Permit (IDP). The IDP is made in compliance with United Nations Conventions on road traffic standards for document size, color, format, etc.

Driving with an International License or Permit

Where is an International Driver's License needed and to whom?

An International Driving Permit is required and can be useful in the following cases:

  1. 1. Traveling abroad: If you plan to rent a car or drive your own vehicle in another country, in most cases you will need an IDP. This is additional proof of your driving skills in another language, which can be helpful when dealing with local authorities or police.
  2. 2. Rent a car: In some countries and car rental companies, an IDP may be a requirement for foreign drivers. This is because such documents make it easier to verify a driver's license.
  3. 3. Additional identification: A driver's license can also be useful as an additional identification document in cases where a national driver's license is not accepted.
  4. 4. Language barrier: The IDP contains translations of driver's license information into multiple languages, making it easier to communicate and interact with local authorities in case of language barriers.
  5. 5. Insurance and legal issues: In some cases, an International Driver's License can help with insurance and legal issues related to traffic accidents abroad.

However, the need for an IDP may vary from country to country and organization to organization, so it is recommended to check the requirements in the country you intend to travel to. It is important to note that not all countries require an IDP, and in some cases a national driver's license is sufficient. To help you navigate through this, we have prepared a list of countries where International Driver's Licenses are recognized.

How do I get an International Driver's License?

The first step is to check the requirements for obtaining an IDP in your country. Usually you need to have a valid national driver's license for this document.

If you have a valid US driver's license you will need to fill out an AAA application, 2 passport photos, pay the fee and come to the AAA office with these documents, or mail them (the waiting time will be much longer, but there is an express delivery service for an additional fee) along with a photocopy of your driver's license.

If you have a valid Canadian driver's license, the CAA issues the IDP, and the procedure for obtaining one also starts with filling out the application for a Canadian IDP.

For other countries, the scheme is similar but may vary slightly, so it is always best to check with local authorities or automobile associations for up-to-date information.

How do you get an International Driver's License if you are already abroad?

If you're wondering about this question, you need an International Driver's License now and urgently. Luckily for you, there are two options:

  • You can get your International Driver's License translated and issued online with us. We issue International Driver's Licenses in accordance with UN requirements and translate them into dozens of languages. Our International Driving License is valid from 1 to 3 years. An electronic version of the document is available for emergencies. Check with your rental company if this option is suitable or if you need to wait for the original document to be delivered. We have helped many in such cases, see our reviews on Trustpilot.
  • You can mail the completed AAA application to their address(es) and wait 5-7 weeks for a return response. Once the application is processed, expect up to 10 business days for delivery of the IDP to the address provided.

You get:

Translation booklet and mobile application

Translation booklet and mobile application

Where your driver license is translated into 70 languages (29 in a booklet and all 70 in a mobile app).
Your plastic ID card

Your plastic ID card

With residence address and date of birth
Traveling anywhere

Traveling anywhere

You may take or rent a car and drive it using the IDP and your domestic driving permit.
Professional interpreters

Professional interpreters

Translate your driving license and express all the information from your application and other obtained information, according to all the national language peculiarities and foreign official requirements.

Frequently asked questions:

  1. How do I apply for an International Driver's License?

    You need a valid driver's license, fill out the application form, passport photo and a photocopy of your license, pay for the International Driver's License and delivery (if you order delivery).

  2. How long do I have to wait to receive my driver's license?

    Depends on how you apply. At AAA, the receipt time is from a few days, to a few weeks if you apply by mail. If you are applying from abroad, the term will be from a month to two in most cases. By obtaining your IDP from us you will reduce the wait for processing to 24 hours and delivery from the method you choose.

  3. How long is an International Driver's License valid?

    Standard International Driver's License from AAA and CAA is valid for 1 year. When you get an International Driver's License with us, you choose your own validity period - from 1 to 3 years.

  4. What about a motorcycle driver's license?

    International Driving License contains information about the right to drive vehicles of certain categories. If you have the right to drive a motorcycle, simply indicate that you would like to have it marked on your driver's license. Take your International Driving Permit and your national license when driving a motorcycle abroad.

Subscribe and get full instructions about the obtaining and using of International Driving License, as well as advice for drivers abroad