How To Get Your AAA International Driving Permit (IDP) in 10-Minutes

Are you contemplating driving abroad? If the answer is yes, then securing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is imperative.

Regardless of whether you’re envisioning a scenic drive across Europe or navigating bustling streets on scooters in Thailand, possessing an International Driver’s License will facilitate your ability to rent a vehicle and mitigate the risk of facing exorbitant fines in the event of a traffic infraction.

Now, let’s delve into what precisely an IDP entails, how it functions, and the steps you can take to initiate your application for an international driver’s license online.

What is an International Driver’s License?

An International Driver’s License, also known as an International Driver’s Permit (IDP), is a crucial travel document required by certain countries for driving vehicles while abroad. It functions in tandem with your existing driver’s license and affirms your legal right to drive in a foreign country. 

The IDP serves as a valid form of identification and enjoys recognition in 150 nations globally. Resembling a small paper booklet akin to a passport in size, it features your name, photograph, and driver information presented in 10 different languages. Thus, even if you’re not fluent in the local language, your IDP serves as a communication aid.

Valid for up to one year from the date of issuance, as indicated on the front of the permit, it must be utilized within six months of the application date.

International Driving Permit Requirements
1. You must be at least 18 years old.
2. You must be a permanent US resident and have a valid driver’s license.
3. You must complete the application form.
4. You must bring two 2×2 inch passport photos (signed on the back).
5. The IDP fee is $20.00 (as of 2024).

How do you get an International Driver’s Permit?

How do you get an International Driver’s Permit?

International Driver’s Permits (IDPs) are exclusively issued by two distinguished organizations: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA). 

It’s imperative to note that your IDP must be obtained from your country of residence; it cannot be acquired from a foreign government entity. Although the entire application process cannot be conducted online, you can initiate the procedure conveniently by accessing the application form on AAA’s website.

There are two ways you can get an IDP. 

1. In-Person

The most convenient method to acquire your International Driving Permit (IDP) is by visiting a nearby AAA branch. Locate your nearest AAA branch easily through AAA’s website, which boasts over 1,000 locations across North America equipped to process your IDP during your visit.

Before making your way to the AAA branch, the initial step involves printing and completing an application form. This application can either be printed online or obtained from a AAA branch directly. Details on how to fill out the application can be found below.

If you already possess passport photos, ensure you have two on hand to bring along. Alternatively, if you lack these, there’s no need to fret as AAA offers photo services at their branch.

Upon arrival at the nearest AAA branch, simply approach a representative, specify your need for an international driver’s license, and they will manage the process seamlessly for you.

2. By Mail

If a AAA branch is not conveniently located near you or if you’re unable to visit one for any other reason, you have the option to submit your signed application along with your passport photos via mail. Should you choose this route, it’s important to ensure that you include all the necessary documents when sending them to AAA. Forgetting to include any required documents may result in a delay in receiving your IDP. 

What do you need to mail in?

  1. Application for an International Driving Permit necessitates the following:
  2. Provision of two recent passport-style photographs (measuring 2” x 2”) with signatures on their backs.
  3. Submission of photocopies of both sides of your U.S. Driver’s License.
  4. Payment of a $20 permit fee exclusively via check or money order. It’s important to note that cash payments are not accepted for mailed-in applications. 

Where do you need to mail it?

Send your application via mail to the nearest AAA branch. Ensure that you obtain an international driving license for each intended driver. Each permit is specific to the individual whose driver’s license details it contains and cannot be transferred to a spouse, partner, friend, or vehicle. 

IDP Requirements

To be eligible for an international driver’s license, certain basic criteria must be met. Firstly, individuals must be a minimum of 18 years old. Secondly, they must possess a valid U.S. or Territorial Driver’s license. 

Once these conditions are fulfilled, applicants are on the path to acquiring an international driver’s permit. The subsequent steps involve filling out an application form, providing two 2 x 2 passport-type photos, and paying a fee of $20

How Long Does it Take to Get an International Driving Permit?

Obtaining your International Driving Permit (IDP) is an effortless process, remarkably hassle-free compared to many other bureaucratic procedures. If concerns about time consumption linger, rest assured, fretting is unnecessary.

Simply drop by your local AAA branch, where your IDP will be swiftly processed during your visit, requiring only a brief window of 10 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you opt for mailing your application, expect a processing duration typically spanning between 10 to 15 days. To ensure timely receipt before your travels, it’s advisable to dispatch your application well in advance.

Completing the requisite form is a quick endeavor, demanding a mere 5 to 10 minutes of your time. Additionally, secure two 2×2-inch passport-style photos to accompany your IDP application. Conveniently, these can be obtained at various locales, including AAA branches or pharmacies like Walgreens or CVS. Depending on the venue, this task may consume between 10 to 30 minutes.

With your application form filled and passport photos in hand, a brief visit to a AAA branch will culminate in your possession of an international driver’s license within a swift 10 minutes. Conversely, if you opt for the mailing route, expect your IDP to arrive in your mailbox within a fortnight following submission of your application, photos, and payment.

How to Get an IDP If You’re Already Abroad

How to Get an IDP If You’re Already Abroad

If you find yourself abroad and in need of an International Driving Permit (IDP), fret not! You can still initiate the application process. However, it’s imperative to strategize ahead of time, as processing times for AAA IDPs typically span between 5 to 7 weeks.

I would advise pursuing an IDP from overseas only under specific circumstances: if you’re an expatriate residing in a foreign nation, a foreign exchange student, or embarking on extensive, long-term travel for multiple years.

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For applicants falling into these categories, the protocol entails dispatching your application along with the requisite documentation to the following address:

  • 1000 AAA Drive
  • Heathrow, FL 32746
  • Attn: Mail Stop #28

Anticipate a return mail duration of 5 to 7 weeks.

Note: Recent amendments in U.S. Customs regulations have altered the handling of USPS Express International mail, prompting the employment of FedEx for most destinations. To ascertain shipping expenses, kindly visit

What Countries Require an International Drivers License?

When journeying beyond North American borders, obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) is generally advisable. The IDP is recognized by over 150 countries, with several necessitating it for car rentals or driving. Among the prominent holiday spots mandating the IDP are:

  • Italy
  • France
  • Germany
  • Spain
  • Croatia
  • Greece
  • Japan
  • Thailand

How to fill out the AAA International Driver (IDP) Application

Completing the International Driving Permit Application is a fairly straightforward process. Let’s swiftly go over it.

The application form resembles the following:

Before you commence filling out your application, ensure that you have your United States driver’s license readily available. Several boxes on the form require information from it.

It’s essential to remember that if you possess a temporary license, it’s advisable to wait until you obtain your permanent license before initiating your travel plans or proceeding with the AAA International Driving Permit application.

Although a temporary license is legally valid, it’s likely to be rejected by foreign authorities.

Similarly, if your license is due to expire before your trip, it’s prudent to renew it before commencing your online application for an international driver’s license.

Step 1: Personal Details

In the upper section, please provide your first, middle, and last names exactly as they appear on your driver’s license.

Step 2: Contact Information

Include your email address and phone number. Your driver’s license is not required for these fields. Please ensure your contact information is accurate.

Step 3: Driver’s License Information

Consult your driver’s license for the following section. On the third row, input your driver’s license number, state of issue, and driver’s license expiration date. This information can be found on the front of your license.

Step 4: Birth Date and Location

Once your license details are added, provide additional personal information including your Birthplace City, State or Country of birth, and Birth Date – written in Month, Day, and Year format (e.g., June 1, 1985).

Step 5: Home Address

Next, input your current home address followed by your City, State, and Zip Code. There is a box labeled Foreign addresses underneath, but you don’t need to fill it out unless you have a known foreign address. If you are moving to a permanent residence or know your accommodation address, you can fill it in here. If you don’t have a foreign address or will be frequently traveling, this field isn’t mandatory. 

Step 6: Departure Date and Permit Date

The last two boxes are crucial. The Departure Date from the U.S.A. is your flight date. This information is vital for completing the next box: Permit Effective Date. Your permit must become effective within 6 months of your application date, and its year of eligibility will begin counting down from the effective date. It’s recommended that the effective date matches your departure date or the day you plan to pick up your first car rental abroad.

International Driving Permit vs. Inter-American Driving Permit

Now that you’ve completed the primary sections, there are just a few vital checkboxes left to fill in.

Firstly, you must indicate the type of permit you’re seeking. You have two options: the International Driving Permit or the Inter-American Driving Permit.

To determine which to select, consider this one question:

Do you intend to drive in either Brazil or Uruguay?

If your answer is no, mark the box for the International Driving Permit. If yes, choose the Inter-American Driving Permit.

To reiterate, unless you’re driving in Brazil or Uruguay, mark the International Driving Permit box. However, if you plan to drive in either of those countries, opt for the Inter-American Driving Permit.

The Inter-American Driving Permit functions similarly to the International Driving Permit. It serves as an identification document allowing the holder to operate a motor vehicle in another country when accompanied by a valid driver’s license from their home nation.

Though less common than the International Driving Permit, it’s a necessity for driving in Brazil and Uruguay. For driving elsewhere in the world, the International Driving Permit suffices.

There’s a third scenario for those intending to drive in Brazil or Uruguay AND another country outside South America. In such cases, you may need to apply for both an International Driving Permit and an Inter-American Driving Permit.

Select Which Vehicles You Are Allowed to Drive

Select Which Vehicles You Are Allowed to Drive

When indicating the types of vehicles covered by your current driver’s license, start by considering which checkboxes to mark. For most individuals, selecting the Passenger Car option suffices, as it’s the standard choice allowing you to legally operate vehicles accommodating up to 8 passengers. This box aligns with the basic driver’s license category, suitable for the majority of travelers.

Should you anticipate renting a motorcycle and possess a motorcycle license, you can opt for that checkbox. Notably, possessing a motorcycle license typically involves undergoing a separate test and obtaining specific authorization. If uncertain about your license privileges, consult the rear side of your driver’s license, which specifies its class.

For further clarification on permissible vehicle types, refer to AAA’s website, taking into account that license classifications vary by state. Ensure to review the regulations applicable in the state that issued your license for accurate information.

Sign and Date the Application

Ultimately, the concluding step entails signing and dating your application. If you opt for mailing, ensure to complete your return address details within the designated box located at the bottom right corner. 

This address serves as the destination where AAA will dispatch your International Driving Permit. Whether you choose to mail or visit a branch in person, remember to include both pages of the application.

Safe Travels

In essence, an IDP serves as a vital travel document ensuring legal driving privileges in foreign lands, providing invaluable peace of mind. The consequences of being caught speeding without one could result in a substantial penalty. Given its modest $20 fee, acquiring an IDP proves to be a worthwhile investment.

Drawing from our personal experience, obtaining an International Driver’s Permit from AAA proved to be a swift and uncomplicated process. Simply reaching out to our local branch, setting up an appointment, we were able to secure our IDP within just 30 minutes. The staff at the branch were affable and eager to assist, contributing to a sense of security and tranquility as we navigated vehicle rentals overseas.

By following these guidelines, you’ll swiftly complete your application and obtain your IDP hassle-free.

FAQ’s: AAA International Driving Permit

Is the AAA International Driving Permit Authentic?

Indeed, the International Driving Permit (IDP) holds legitimacy in 150 nations, granting you the ability to rent and operate a vehicle overseas. It’s essential to note that the IDP doesn’t replace your domestic driver’s license; rather, it complements it.

What’s the Duration of Validity for the AAA International Driver’s License?

An IDP remains valid for one year starting from its issuance date.

Which Countries Mandate an IDP?

Several countries necessitate an IDP for foreign drivers, including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that IDP requirements can undergo alterations. For the most up-to-date information, consider contacting the embassy of the country you intend to visit.

Is it Possible to Obtain an International Driving Permit Online?

Regrettably, you cannot acquire an International Driving Permit online. To secure your IDP, you must either visit a AAA office or submit your application via mail.

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