Am I required to have an IDP in foreign countries?
There are some countries that do not recognize a drivers license from
the United States, but officially recognize an IDP (e.g. Hungary). There
are other countries that honor a United States drivers license, but require
a local language translation (e.g. Spain). The IDP can satisfy these types
of situations. Keep in mind, however, that while a certain country’s 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.
NOTE: If you are living permanently in a foreign country, even though you may still hold a U.S. state issued driver's license, you must abide by local driver's licensing laws. Many countries require that you obtain a local license once you take up employment and/or residency.
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 drivers
license, and therefore, you do not have a separate driving record with
an IDP. The IDP is valid only when carried in conjunction with and acts
as a translation of a drivers license. If you are traveling in a foreign
country and were to be stopped by a law enforcement officer, your U.S.
drivers 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 drivers license.
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.
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 as the drivers 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. drivers license, but I am a citizen of another country.
Where should I obtain an IDP?
The IDP must be issued in the same country as the drivers license.
In the case of a drivers 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 drivers 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 drivers 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 with your signature on the back of them, a photocopy 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.
NOTE: If you are currently overseas you can mail your completed
application to the following office and address: AAA/IDP, 1000 AAA Dr.,
Heathrow, FL 32746 Attn: Mailstop #28