Who doesn’t love exploring another country? When thinking about taking a vacation to another country, we tend to focus on all the wonderful things to do like sightseeing, getting a taste of the local cuisine, and visiting historical sites to learn about another culture. But if your trip involves moving around a lot, one of the best ways to ensure that you’ll get to experience a hassle-free and convenient vacation is by being able to drive yourself around in foreign lands.
As in many countries, our driver’s license alone isn’t recognized on its own. Suppose you’re looking into exploring every nook and cranny of a country without any limits. In that case, one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in everything a country has to offer is by being able to drive around. With a little pre-planning before your trip, you can quickly get your own International Driving Permit and adventure around without any limits.
What is an International Driving Permit?
When driving or renting out a car in a foreign country, road safety and obeying all the road rules is of utmost importance. An International Driver’s Permit from the International Drivers Association is a small passport-like permit that translates your native issued driver’s license into a driver’s license that’s valid in foreign countries across the globe. It’s specifically designed to be easy to understand and interpret for English and Non-English speakers wherever you go.
Even if the country you’re traveling to doesn’t require an IDP to drive around or rent a car, it’s still highly recommended to get one, especially if you’ll be traveling to a country that doesn’t speak the same language as you. It’ll come in handy if ever you were pulled over or if there’s an accident. With your IDP, you’ll be able to present identification right away to authorities, and the info on your IDP will give them the information they need if they aren’t able to effectively communicate with you.
Your International Driving Permit is considered a legal requirement in over 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo, and driver information in twelve of the most widely spoken languages. In short, your IDP is intended to help you overcome the difficulties you might encounter on the road while driving a vehicle in another country. In addition to this, it can also serve as identification since it’s a United Nations regulated travel document.
Where to Get an International Driving Permit?
When planning on traveling abroad, knowing where to get your IDP could save you a lot of time and save you from getting lost. If you know the directions on the places to go, you won’t have to allot so much time before or during your trip just to process your IDP. Nobody wants to spend a whole day in paradise, getting lost, wasting energy, and asking locals for directions.
It’s highly recommended to get your IDP from the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). These organizations are used to handling thousands of license applications daily, so you’ll be sure to get the help you need quickly and hassle-free.
Luckily, to avoid the hassle of lines and to go out, you can also apply online and do all your processing from the comfort of your own home. Many online offers aren’t trustworthy, so it’s essential to do your research and make sure you’re dealing with a licensed and reputable organization before providing your details and making a transaction.
What are the Requirements when Applying for an International Driving Permit?
One of the best things about getting an IDP is it’s very inexpensive, so anyone traveling can efficiently process one. Most of the IDPs are priced at around $20, whether you’re processing your license online or at the office.
You must be eighteen years or older to apply for an International Driver’s Document from the processing fee. For those of you who aren’t U.S. citizens, you’re still eligible to apply for one if you’re a U.S. permanent resident.
Make sure to prepare the following:
- You will need two passport photos. Sign on the photos on the back.
- Government-issued identification
- Proof of permanent residency, if you’re not a citizen
- A print-out of the application form
- Your own valid native driver’s license that’s been active for at least 6 months
How do I get an International Driving Permit?
Besides it being very cost-friendly, the whole process of getting an International Driving Permit is quick and straightforward. All you have to do is complete the following steps to obtain the license and start driving around.
1. Submit Application
You can either get your application in-person at the local office, download it from their official site, print it, or fill-up and submit your application form online. After you’ve found the organization you want to obtain your license from, it’s essential to read what their procedures are for the application forms and where you can get them.
Some organizations give a hassle-free option to their customers and prefer to mail in or drop off your application. You need to send along your other documents and the processing fee in an envelope. If you’re already abroad and would like to process your IDP, you can go online and apply or mail your application to a U.S.-based AAA or AATA office.
2. Receive Your International Driving Permit
The great thing about applying in person is you’ll be able to get your IDP right away. There is no need to wait weeks just to get it. In as quick as 10-15 business days, they’ll be able to ship your IDP back to you. Like the International Drivers Association, some organizations offer rush-processing, but with a little bump up in the cost, of course.
It’s essential to note that once you receive it, you can freely use it in all the valid countries mentioned on the back of the license for one year. If you’re from the U.S.A., you must carry your license and permit with you at all times. Also, even if you can apply for an IDP in the United States, this isn’t considered a valid driving license in the United States.
I’m sure now that you know how easy and convenient it is to apply for an IDP, you’re going to consider getting one before your next trip. This won’t only help communicate with authorities, but it’s also a great way to show the country you’re visiting that you respect their road regulations and that you’re more than willing to abide by their rules. Now that you’ve learned how to process your International Driving Permit, there’s nothing left to do but to process it and start enjoying your trips more safely and hassle-free!
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