International Driver Permits
Expedited International Driving Permit Services
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Fastport Passport, Secures International Driving Permits within 24 Hours for customer traveling over seas and want to drive a car, truck, or motorcycle legally in a foreign country. This is a companion document to your valid countries drivers license and is valid for 1 year. This is a vital document when your are on your travels.
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There are too many roads out there not to travel them. The International Driver Permit (IDP) allows you to do just that, providing the American traveler with one simple document to convey the driving privileges she enjoys at home. In conjunction with a valid U.S. license, the IDP arms the international driver with a full array of tools to prove eligibility to most foreign officials and car rental clerks. It's a simple permit to obtain―no tests, no trips to the DMV―and quite empowering, if you've got the nerve to tackle the highways beyond our borders. Want to drive on the wrong side of the road, or navigate a complex roundabout? If so, then the IDP was made for you.
The IDP translates your license into a standard format, and a host of languages, that allows foreign officials to better understand your driving privileges. It does not replace your license. The IDP, in and of itself, confers no driving privileges to you, although you must provide a valid license to obtain one. It's important to remember to carry both your driver license and your IDP with you whenever you make another foray on the roads of a foreign country.
In the U.S., there is no national requirement for non-citizens to obtain an IDP. Same goes for the rest of the world, although many countries, especially in Europe, are more receptive to the IDP and more familiar with it than we are. There are countries that recognize the IDP, but not your original driver license, and there are also car rental agencies abroad that would much prefer to see an IDP than some strange license from Wisconsin.
You may not be required to obtain an IDP by the country to which you are traveling, but it's never a bad idea to have one. If you plan to drive abroad, extensively or just around the block for some cappuccino, save yourself the headache of trying to convince someone in a foreign language that you have the right to get behind the wheel.
The IDP is about the same size as your passport book. It lists your name with photo identification, and it translates your driving privileges into 10 different languages, including French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and the Scandinavian languages. It's recognized by more than 150 countries. For a complete list, see this application form from AAA.
IDPs remain valid for one year from their date of issuance, and you must obtain them in your country of origin. If you establish residency abroad, the IDP will no longer suffice, and you'll need to take steps to obtain a local license.
A series of international driving conventions led to the IDP we know and love today. Countries met in Paris in 1926 to kick things off, but real progress came in Geneva in 1949. This is the convention ratified by the majority of countries you might encounter as an American traveler today. The United Nations, through these conventions, created the IDP as an authorized license for tourists traveling abroad, and it continues to gain traction to this day. The United Nations does not, however, issue IDPs, so see below to find out who does.
The State Department names two authorized issuers of the IDP:
To complete your application, you will need to be at least 18 years old, and include:
- A signed photocopy of your valid U.S. driver license
- Two passport-size photos
- $15, plus shipping and handling fees
The IDP is valid for one year, and you must reapply should you need another permit at a later date.
There are countless organizations looking to make an extra buck off the IDP process. Traveling abroad can be confusing and cause undue anxiety, so take some time before you begin your trip to obtain your IDP through the proper channels. Remember that the State Department has authorized two motor clubs, AAA and NAC, to issue IDPs, and that you should pay no more than $15 for your permit.
The State Department also recommends that you check with the embassies and consulates of the countries you plan to visit and inquire about specific licensing and insurance requirements, and local rules of the road.
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