How to Apply for an International Driver's License

Two Parts:Obtaining an International Driving PermitUnderstanding the Requirements and Conditions

If you are going abroad and plan to drive while you are there, you will need to take steps to ensure that you are complying with the local laws and regulations, and you have all the necessary permits to drive there. In most cases a US driving license won't be recognized abroad. To counter this you can apply for an International Driving Permit, which, when presented together with your US license, will allow you to drive in most countries. Any reference to an International Driving License, is actually referring to this permit.[1]

Part 1
Obtaining an International Driving Permit

  1. Image titled Apply for an International Driver's License Step 1
    Gather the information and paperwork you need. Before you apply for the permit, you need to gather together all of the paperwork that you need. To apply you need your full US driving license - unless, you don't live in American then, well, work it out, two passport photos, as well as a check covering the cost of the application. The cost of the application should not be more than $20.
    • The two associations authorised by the US Department of State to process International Driving Permits are the American Automobile Association, and the National Auto Club.[2]
    • If another company is offering to process your claim, it will most likely be more expensive so go directly to one of the officially authorised associations.
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    Apply by mail. You can apply for an International Driving Permit through the post. Print out a copy of the application form from the website of the American Automobile Association or the National Auto Club and fill in all of your details. You will need to provide all of your address details as well as your driving license details.[3]
    • To apply by post you will need to include a signed photocopy of both sides of your driving license, along with a check for the required amount.
    • You will also need to send the two passport photographs with the completed application form.[4]
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    Apply in person. If you prefer, you can apply for the permit in person. The requirements are the same, you just have to go into the local office of one of the two issuing associations and present them with your license, the fee, as well as the two passport photographs required for the permit.[5]
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    Keep your US license and international permit together. Once your application has been processed, it is just a matter of waiting for it to arrive. It's best to submit the application well in advance of your trip abroad. If you have left it late, it is possible to pay extra for a priority service.[6] Once you have received the permit, you should keep it with your US driver's license at all times.
    • The International Driving Permit does is not valid for driving in the US so don't think you only need to carry the international permit around with you at home.[7]

Part 2
Understanding the Requirements and Conditions

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    Discover when you need an International Driving Permit. If you are planning on driving while you are abroad you need to determine if an International Driving Permit is required well before you intend to travel. Many countries will require you to have this permit to drive there. The application process is relatively straight-forward so if you are in any doubt, be sure you get yourself a permit.
    • You can access a list of countries which accept the permit online.
    • Look on the website of the US Embassy of the country you want to drive in if you are uncertain.
    • If you plan to rent a car, contact rental firms in advance to check the requirements.
    • The permit essentially demonstrates that you are a licensed driver and translates this information into ten languages.
    • Your national driving license might appear alien and indecipherable to a police officer abroad, so having this permit can help with communication.[8]
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    Be over 18 years old with a full US license. In order to be eligible to apply for an International Driving Permit, you need to have a full US driving license, and be at least 18 years of age. You will need to present your license when you apply for the International Driving Permit, so be sure you have it to hand before you go any further.[9]
    • Your US driving license must be valid six months before the date on which the International Driving Permit is issued.[10]
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    Ensure you have necessary insurance to drive abroad. If you are planning on driving abroad you should be certain that you have taken care of any insurance you might require. If you are planning on hiring a car, the insurance costs will be included in the rental agreement. If you are taking your own car, be sure to check you are covered to drive abroad as part of your policy. Most often, you will not be.
    • If your auto insurance policy does cover you to drive abroad, you may still need to buy more cover to reach the minimum level required by your destination country.[11]
    • If you are uncertain, call up your insurance agency to check your policy and get any extra cover that might be required.
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    Check the specific rules for your destination. Before you travel it is always a good idea to look up the local rules and regulations for the road. You should seek to gain a good understanding of laws and driving practices before you get behind the wheel in another country. For example, some countries have on-the-spot fines for drivers caught not wearing a seatbelt or using a cell phone.[12]
    • Some countries may have toll roads, or require permits to use certain roads so check this before you go.
    • If you are going to be driving on the left-hand side for the first time, try practising on a quieter stretch of road before heading into a big city.
    • Tourism offices, car rental firms, and government embassy's or consulates are good places to look for information on local driving laws.[13]

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Categories: Legal Documents for Driving