International Driving Permit – International Home Exchange

Planning an international home exchange?  Then, give some thought to securing an International Driving Permit (IDP).  The International Driving Permit is valid in over 150 countries.

Even if you do not plan to drive while visiting another country, the IDP can prove very useful to help with formal identification while you travel abroad.  The IDP translates the information from your U.S. drivers license into ten different languages so that officials in other countries can interpret information about your identity with ease.

Some countries may allow you to drive with a valid driver’s license from the USA.  But, that is not commonplace.  Most often, you need to have the IDP to drive a private motor vehicle in a country.

But, in any event, bring your regular driver’s license as well as your IDP.  Carrying the IDP by itself (that is, without an accompanying valid driving license) does not give you license to drive in another country.  But, the two together–the IDP and your driving license–will make it possible to operate a vehicle during your travels.

In the United States, you may obtain an IDP from AAA (American Automobile Association) and the National Auto Club.  You must complete an application, be at least 18 years old, present two passport-size photographs, and present a valid U.S. license (which you have had for six months or longer).  Typically, the cost is around $15.

Usually, your IDP is valid for one year.  However, if your original driver’s license expires during that time, your IDP also expires at the same time.

No test or examination is required for the IDP, only a valid driver’s license.

Remember, as a rule, you cannot drive in another country with just your International Driving Permit.  You need to have a valid driver’s license too.  The IDP is a legal translation of that valid driver’s license.

Enjoy your international home exchange.

Drive carefully!