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International Driving Authority vs AAA IDP: Making the Right Choice for Your International Driving Needs
April 06, 2023

International Driving Authority vs AAA IDP: Making the Right Choice for Your International Driving Needs

When planning to drive abroad, choosing the right provider for your international driving permit (IDP) is crucial. In this article, we will compare two popular options: the International Driving Authority (IDA) and AAA IDP (American Automobile Association International Driving Permit). We will discuss their features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.

International Driving Authority vs AAA IDP: A Comprehensive Comparison

MissionGeneral road and car travel assistance in the US. No focus on international driving documents. Overcoming of language barriers while driving abroad. 100% focus on international driving documents.
AvailabilityOnly US residentsNo citizenship or residence prejudice
Validity termOnly 1 year1, 2 and 3 years
Price for 1 year$20$69
Price for 2 yearNot available ($20 x 2 = $40)$75
Price for 3 yearsNot available ($20 x 3 = $60)$79
Application processing time~ 1 week in average20 minutes with fast processing option, less than 24 hours in general
Application optionIn person or by mailOnline
DeliveryUSPS and FedEx with no clear understanding how much should you payWorldwide, both courier and regular mail options with clear prices 
Number of languages in a document1029 in a booklet and 70 in digital
Mobile applicationsNot availableiOS and Android
Digital bookletNot availableYes, ready for print
Plastic ID cardNot availableYes
Reprint optionNot availableYes

AAA IDP: An Overview

AAA IDP is a well-known option among US citizens for obtaining an international driving document. However, it might not be the most suitable choice for non-US citizens or for US citizens who are already abroad. Application in this case should be submitted by mail only.

Features and Limitations of AAA IDP

AAA offers an application process for US citizens, with the option to apply in person or by mail. No online application is available. They only provide online resources to help you understand the requirements and application process for an IDP. Also, there are some limitations to using AAA IDP:

Language Coverage: AAA’s international driving permits come with a limited number of languages (10), which may not be sufficient for travelers driving in multiple countries.

Support for Non-US Citizens: Non-US citizens cannot obtain an AAA IDP, as the services are primarily tailored for US citizens.

Assistance for US Citizens Abroad: If you are a US citizen already abroad, AAA may not be able to help you obtain an IDP, as their services are mostly geared toward those within the United States. Application is possible by mail, but it will take an unpredictable turn-around time.

Limited validity period: United Nations Convention on Road Traffic allows to issue IDP document for a term up to 3 years. Then why AAA offers just a 1-year option? If you are a frequent traveler, you will need to update your IDP every year with AAA. What is the point here? Nobody knows. 

International Driving Authority: A Better Alternative

IDA is a superior choice for those who need an international driving document, regardless of their citizenship. IDA specializes in translating domestic driving licenses from any country into 70 languages (29 in a booklet and all 70 in a mobile app). Additionally, IDA’s international driving documents are in compliance with UN standards for document size, color, and format.

Why Choose IDA over AAA IDP?

IDA offers several advantages over AAA IDP, making it a better choice for most drivers:

Speed: IDA is known for its fast processing and delivery of international driving documents, ensuring you can hit the road as soon as possible. There is a 20-minutes processing option for an additional fee.

Validity period up to 3 years: With IDA you can get a 3-year document and spend your time on something more useful and pleasant than reapplying every year.

Language Coverage: With 70 languages available in IDA’s translation service, you can be confident that your driving document will be understood by foreign authorities.

Delivery: Unlike AAA, which may process your documents very slowly if you’re already abroad, IDA offers various international shipping options with 1 business day shipping out time, ensuring you receive your document wherever you are.

Service and Support: IDA’s exceptional customer service and support ensure your experience is seamless and hassle-free.

The only drawback of choosing IDA over AAA is the price, as IDA’s services may be slightly more expensive. However, the additional benefits and convenience offered by IDA make it a worthwhile investment for most drivers.

Understanding International Driving Permits

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a standardized translation of your domestic driving license. This document allows you to legally drive in foreign countries that recognize the IDP. Both AAA IDP and IDA’s international driving documents provide this essential translation, but IDA’s format is more convenient and modern, ensuring a hassle-free experience while driving abroad.

How to Apply for an IDA International Driving Permit

Applying for an International Driving Permit through IDA is a straightforward process. Follow these simple steps to obtain your IDP:

Visit the IDA website: Go to the International Driving Authority’s official website to access their application form.

Complete the application form: Fill out the necessary personal information and upload a copy of your domestic driving license, a passport-sized photo, and a photo of your signature.

Choose your desired plan: Select the plan that best suits your needs, considering factors such as validity, format, and additional services.

Make the payment: Pay for your chosen plan using one of the secure payment methods available on the website.

Wait for your IDP: IDA will process your application and ship your International Driving Permit to the address you provided. The delivery time will depend on your location and the shipping method you chose during the application process.

Final Thoughts

When deciding between the International Driving Authority and AAA IDP for your international driving permit needs, it’s essential to consider factors such as speed, language coverage, delivery options, and customer service. IDA offers a more comprehensive and convenient service, making it the preferred choice for most drivers, regardless of their nationality.

Don’t let your international driving experience be hindered by limited translation options or lack of support. Choose IDA for a smooth, hassle-free experience, and hit the road with confidence knowing that your driving document is in compliance with UN standards and recognized worldwide.


Question: What are some limitations of using AAA IDP for obtaining an international driving permit?

Answer: AAA IDP comes with limited language coverage, is not suitable for non-US citizens, and may be very slow in providing assistance for US citizens already abroad.

Question: What are the advantages of choosing IDA over AAA IDP?

Answer: IDA offers faster processing and delivery, wider language coverage, international shipping, and exceptional customer service and support.

Question: How many languages does IDA offer for translating domestic driving licenses?

Answer: IDA offers translation services into 70 languages, with 29 languages available in a booklet and all 70 in a mobile app.

Question: What is the main purpose of an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

Answer: An IDP is a standardized translation of your domestic driving license, allowing you to legally drive in foreign countries that recognize the IDP. In many countries an International Driving Permit (IDP) is a requirement. Fines for driving without an IDP can be substantial, so it’s important to check the requirements of the countries you plan to visit before your travel. Obtaining an IDP can provide peace of mind while traveling the world, even if you don’t plan to drive. With an IDP, you have a translated and universally recognized document that validates your driving credentials, making it easier to navigate different cultures and regulations.

Question: How can one apply for an International Driving Permit through IDA?

Answer: To apply for an IDP through IDA, complete the application form, choose the desired plan, make the payment, and wait for your IDP to be processed and shipped to your address.

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