Should You Get Your International Driver’s Permit?

Do I Need International Drivers Permit
If you want to drive in a foreign country, then get your IDP.
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The International Driver's Permit (IDP)

Short answer: Yes, you should get your International Driver’s Permit (IPA). Even if you don’t plan on traveling extensively around the world, for $20 it doesn’t hurt to get. The only two agencies you can get an IDP from is: American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

Both processes are super quick and easy and I’ll walk you through both of them, don’t worry!

What is an International Driver’s Permit?

The International Driver’s Permit (IDP), sometimes incorrectly called International Driver’s License, is a legal document that accompanies your standard driver’s license, allowing you to drive a vehicle in any country that recognizes the permit. 

In my experience, an IDP has been required to rent a car in many of the countries I have been to. And rightfully so, as you need a valid driver’s license to rent a car in the States. The same rules apply overseas as well. 

For the IDP to be valid, it must be paired with a current, legal driver’s license. So, if you live in the United States, you need to have a valid driver’s license in order to get the IDP, as well as to use the IDP when you are actually overseas driving. 

The cool thing with an IDP, is that it is recognized as a valid form of ID in over 150 countries. It contains your name, photo, and driver’s information in 10 different languages, so you’ll never have to worry.

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How Do You Get an International Driver's Permit?

There are only two agencies in the United States that can issue a VALID International Driver’s Permit. Those two agencies are the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). Any other agency or company telling you they can get you one is a scam, and it will not work.

AAA Process. The AAA process is any easy one with only four steps to take care of.

  1. Download and complete an application from their site.
  2. Attach two original passport pictures.
  3. Ensure you have a valid US driver’s license.
  4. Pay the $20 fee.

You bring all of those four things to your nearest AAA branch. If you do not have an AAA branch around you, you can go the traditional mail route. Just package up those four items, and mail it to the nearest branch. For the driver’s license, provide a photocopy of both sides, and for the passport pictures, sign the back of each of them.

AATA Process. The AATA process is almost identical, aside from the fact that there is no option to go in in person. You have to do it through mail. Either way:

  1. Fill out an application from their website.
  2. Attach two passport sized photographs, signature not required.
  3. Photocopy of both sides of your valid US driver’s license.
  4. A check or money order for the application fee. 

Once you have all of these items gathered, you mail them to the address provided on the website, and you’ll be squared away!

International Driver's Permit

What Countries Require an International Driver’s Permit?

Albania
Algeria
Andorra
Argentina
Armenia
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Barbados
Belarus
Belgium
Benin
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Botswana
Brazil
Bulgaria
Burkina Faso
Cambodia
Canada
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chile
Congo
Cote d’Ivoire
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
Eswatini 
Fiji
Finland
France
French Polynesia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guam
Guatemala
Guayana
Haiti
Hungary
Iceland
India
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kazakhstan
Kenya
Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan
Laos
Latvia
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Lichtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macao (Macau)
Madagascar
Malawi
Malaysia (Sabah)
Mali
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Monaco
Mongolia
Montenegro
Morocco
Namibia
Netherlands
New Zealand
Niger
Nigeria
North Macedonia
Norway
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Paraguay
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Romania
Russian Federation
Rwanda
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain 
Sri Lanka
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
Sweden
Switzerland
Syria
Tajikistan
Thailand
Togo
Trinidad & Tobago
Tunisia
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Uganda
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United States
Uruguay
Uzbekistan
Vatican City
Venezuela
Vietnam
Zimbabwe
How to Get International Drivers Permit

In Conclusion

If you want to have all of your bases covered, and not break any international laws, then drop the $20 on an International Driver’s Permit. It’s pretty cool to say you have one, and it makes renting a car so much easier.

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About Troy

About Troy

Troy started his travel journey at 19 years old when he moved to Germany. Over the course of the following two years, he visited a total of 18 countries around Europe and the Middle East. He strives to see more of the world with each passing day.

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Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.