How to apply for an IDP and an IADP

Requirements

To apply for an International Driving Permit or an Inter-American Driving Permit, you must be at least age 18, and you will need to present two passport-size photographs signed on the back and your valid U.S. State driver's license which is not under revocation or suspension and which is valid at the time the permit is issued, regardless of expiration. The cost of an International Driving Permit for U.S. license holders is currently $15.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How will I benefit by carrying an International Driving Permit on my next overseas trip?
The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that provides important information from your driverís license in eleven different languages, including English.  This document came into existence by virtue of a treaty signed in 1949 by the United Nations and other foreign countries.  As an official document, the IDP is recognized in over 150 countries today.  Carried in conjunction with a valid U.S. driverís license, the IDP can help break down language barriers when traveling in non-English speaking countries.  In addition, the IDP provides an additional source of identification.  The $15 charge for an IDP is a small price to pay for such peace of mind. 

I am traveling to South America, so which permit should I request?
The International Driving Permit is valid for South America, EXCEPT Brazil and Uruguay. The Inter-American Driving Permit (IADP) must be issued for those two countries. 

Am I required to have an IDP in foreign countries?
There are some countries that do not recognize a driverís license from the United States, but officially recognize an IDP (e.g. Hungary).  There are other countries that honor a valid United States driverís license, but require a local language translation (e.g. Spain, Italy and Germany).  The IDP can satisfy these types of situations.  Keep in mind, however, that while a certain countryís government may not require an IDP, car rental companies located in that country, such as Hertz, may require an IDP to rent a car.  Purchasing an IDP prior to departure can save a lot of potential hassles, and it may be helpful as identification. 

What happens if I am stopped and given a citation against my IDP?
The IDP does not hold any powers of its own apart from your valid U.S. driverís license, and therefore, you do not have a separate driving permit with an IDP.  The IDP is valid only when carried in conjunction with and acts as a translation of a valid U.S. driverís license.  If you are traveling in a foreign country and were to be stopped by a law enforcement officer, your U.S. driverís license and IDP should be presented to the officer.  If a citation is issued to you, it will be reflected on the driving record that is with your driverís license.

What if the country Iím visiting is not listed on the back of the application?
There are some countries that are not on the list because they did not ratify the treaty that brought the IDP into existence; however, they may require and/or honor an IDP. China is the country asked about most frequently.  For this reason, the IDP includes a Chinese translation. 

Since Hong Kong was transferred from Great Britain to China, do I still need an IDP to drive there?
The United Nations recently provided official notification to the U.S. State Department indicating that the treaty which applies to Hong Kong at present will continue to apply to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the name given to the territory by China.  Such notification should not be misconstrued to mean that China now recognizes IDPs, as the People's Republic of China has never become a party to the treaty. 

Can I use a scanned/digital photograph?
Scanned photographs are still not acceptable, however digital photographs may be accepted. (Check with your local AAA office.) They must be of a certain quality. See: http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotoreq/pptphotoreq_5333.html for guidelines. Polaroid type photographs are still acceptable. Photographs can be either color or black and white. Photocopies are not acceptable.

If someone visits the United States from a foreign country and discovers that they need an IDP, can they purchase one from AAA?
An IDP must be issued in the same country that issued the driverís license of the traveler.  Therefore, if someone from the United Kingdom has a U.K. drivers license, their IDP must also be issued in the United Kingdom. 

I have a U.S. driverís license, but I am a citizen of another country.  Where should I obtain an IDP?
The IDP must be issued in the same country that issued the driverís license.  In the case of a driverís license being issued in the United States, the IDP must also be issued in the United States.  Contact your nearest AAA office to obtain an IDP. 

If someone has a driverís license from a U.S. territory such as Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, how would an IDP work for them?
Since their driverís license was issued by a U.S. possession, their IDP would also be issued in the United States.  Contact a AAA office in the United States, and the IDP can be issued and mailed. 

What do I need to obtain an IDP?
You need to complete a brief application form (available through this Internet web site, or your nearest AAA office), provide 2 passport-sized photographs (2"x2") with your signature on the back of them, a photocopy of both sides of your valid U.S. issued drivers license, and a check or money order for $15 in U.S. funds.  If transacting by mail, these items would need to be mailed to a AAA office in the United States.  Otherwise, everything can be handled in a single office visit. 

Can I use the IDP as a primary form of identification?
No. There have been instances of travelers being denied aircraft boarding when the IDP was the only form of identification offered. 

What languages are used in the IDP?
Information in the IDP is covered in 11 languages: English, French, Italian, Swedish, German, Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and Portuguese.

What do I need to do next?
Download application and bring it with your passport photos and payment to your nearest AAA Club office. If applying from overseas or outside a club territory, click here to download application.

If you prefer to secure your International Driving Permit through the mail, enclose your completed application form, two ORIGINAL passport-type photos each signed on the back, a $15USD* permit fee and a photocopy of both sides of your driver's license and mail them to the AAA office nearest you. Include additional U.S. funds for expedited return mail service, if desired. (See USPS.com or DHL.com for rates.)

NOTE: If you are currently overseas you can mail your completed application to the following office and address: 
AAA/IDP
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL  32746
Attn: Mailstop #28

*Funds must be in U.S. dollars. For this option acceptable forms of payment are U.S. bank check or money order payable to AAA and these major credit cards with expiration date- Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card. Applicants name and mailing address must be printed on the check, and IDP will not be mailed until check has cleared.

WARNING-- International Driving Permits Issued by unauthorized persons: The Department of State is aware that IDPs are being sold over the Internet and in person by persons not authorized by the Department of State pursuant to the requirements of the U.N. Convention of 1949. Moreover, many of these IDPs are being sold for large sums of money, far greater than the sum charged by entities authorized by the Department of State. Consumers experiencing problems should contact their local office of the U.S. Postal Inspector, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Better Business Bureau, or their state or local Attorney Generalís Office.

If you need additional information, please contact AAA International Relations.

If you are a AAA member, click here.