Alert: Driving Abroad? Get a Permit.
Per Geneva Conventions, IDPs accepted in 150+ countries
DENVER (July 27, 2018) – Your passport is current. Your tickets are booked. Your bags are packed. You're all ready to travel abroad, right? Not quite: If you're planning on renting a car while abroad to go venturing out on your own, you need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to make sure you're cleared to drive in any of more than 150 countries.
What is an IDP, and why should I get one?
Your IDP is a valid form of identification in 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo, and driver information. It translates your identification information into 10 languages – so it speaks the language even if you don't. Most countries highly recommend an International Driving Permit, and many countries require an IDP to drive legally. Fines for driving without an IDP can be steep. By virtue of several treaties and bi-lateral agreements that regulate how to drive in a foreign country, including the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, the IDP is an official travel document, much like a passport. Bottom line: If your destination requires a passport in order to enter, it's a safe bet that you'll also need an IDP in order to drive.
Am I required by law to have an IDP in foreign countries?
Some countries do not recognize a driver's license from the United States, but officially recognize an IDP – such as Hungary. Others honor a United States driver's license, but require a local language translation – such as Spain. That's where an IDP comes in! Keep in mind 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 prevent serious potential problems.
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 driver's license, so 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 driver's license. If you are traveling in a foreign country and were to be stopped by a law enforcement officer, your U.S. driver's 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 driver's license.
How can I get an IDP?
AAA is one of only two private entities in the United States authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue an IDP. As a result, Coloradans can visit any of AAA Colorado's 11 locations to apply for and be issued an IDP in a single office visit. Applicants will need:
- A completed IDP application, available on site at any AAA Colorado location.
- Two original passport pictures that adhere to the U.S. Department of State's Passport Photo Requirements. Scanned photographs are not acceptable. Photocopies are not acceptable. Polaroid-type photographs are acceptable. Photographs can be either color or black and white. If you don't have any compliant photographs, never fret: You can take them at any AAA Colorado location for a small fee.
Do I have to be a AAA member to get an IDP, and how much does it cost?
AAA Colorado is proud to process IDP applications as a public service for everyone -- whether they're a AAA member or not. For a limited time, if you're not a AAA member, you can receive a free IDP simply by signing up for membership. If you're already a member, add an associate membership to your primary account for a free IDP.
Otherwise, IDPs cost a $20 permit fee. If passport photos are required, they're available at no cost for AAA Colorado Premier members or $12.95 per two photos for other membership levels and the general public.
How long is my IDP valid?
International Driving Permits are valid for one year, and can be issued up to six months in advance of the desired effective date.
What if I'm already overseas, and need an IDP?
Simply mail your completed application to:
1000 AAA Drive
Heathrow, FL 32746
Attn: Mail Stop #28
As IDPs can take up to 4-6 weeks to be mailed back to you, it's a good idea to stop by any AAA location before you go. An IDP gives you peace of mind while you're out exploring the world - even if you're not planning to drive.
About AAA Colorado
More than 680,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's greatest advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit AAA.com.