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You are permitted to drive automobiles in most countries of the world based on possession  of a legal, state issued drivers license.  Some travelers supplement the standard driver's license with an International Driving Permit.  Read our article to find out if you would benefit from this low cost, travel document.


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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  International Driving Permits

In some countries, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for foreigners who wish to drive automobiles in that country. In other countries, you can legally drive a car if you have a valid driver’s license issued to you by a state government.

  • Some drivers apply for and carry an IDP because it provides benefits beyond a state issued driver's license.
  • The International Drivers Permit is based on a United Nations Convention on International Road Traffic (1949) and is considered a valid driver’s permit in most of the world’s countries.

Use of an International Driving Permit requires that the holder of the IDP possess a valid driver’s license issued by the authorities in their home state.

  • You must have both documents in your possession while driving, as the IDP references your state drivers license.

The IDP lists the category or vehicle types for which the permit is valid.

  • The IDP class of vehicle qualification and particulars concerning the driver are provided in 11 major languages.
  • The multi-language approach can be of great benefit if you are dealing with police officers who do not speak English and cannot interpret your state issued license.


Be familiar with the documents that are required to operate a motor vehicle in the country you will be visiting.

  • Information for the countries covered by ThereArePlaces can be found in the Destination Travel Guide section of our site.
  • Requirements for countries that we do not cover can be found in the Consular Information Sheets available at
  • Some countries (for example, Austria) require the motorist to posses a valid driver's license and either an International Driving Permit or an official translation of your driver's license into the language of the country.

The IDP is "hassle" insurance.

  • The document is inexpensive and is valid for one year from the date of issue.
  • International Drivers Permits can be applied for at AAA, if you are a member.
  • If you intend to apply for an IDP, you will need to present a valid driver's license and two passport-sized photos.


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