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

Are you planning a road trip adventure abroad? Hitting the open roads of Europe or exploring the scenic routes of Thailand?

Buckle up because we’ve got you covered! Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) might seem like a daunting task, but we’re here to guide you through the process with AAA.

In just 10 minutes, you’ll be one step closer to your globetrotting dreams, armed with the necessary documentation to rent a car and navigate foreign roads with confidence.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a must-have travel document that allows you to legally drive a vehicle in over 150 countries around the world.

It doesn’t replace your standard driver’s license but serves as a complementary identification, translating your driving credentials into various languages.

With an IDP from the trusted American Automobile Association (AAA), you can rent a car, avoid costly fines, and explore your dream destinations with peace of mind.

So, let’s dive into the simple steps to secure your AAA International Driving Permit in record time!

What is an International Driver’s License? 

An International Driver’s License, commonly referred to as an International Driving Permit (IDP), is a travel document required in some countries to legally operate a vehicle while abroad.

It does not replace your current driver’s license but works in conjunction with it, affirming your right to drive in a foreign land.

The IDP is a valid form of identification recognized in over 150 countries globally, making it an essential companion for any international road trip.

The international driver’s license is a compact booklet, roughly the size of a passport. It contains your name, photo, and driving information translated into ten different languages, ensuring that even if you don’t speak the local tongue, your IDP will communicate for you.

The permit is valid for one year from the issued date, with the effective date falling within six months of the application date.

How do you get an International Driver’s Permit? 

How do you get an International Driver's Permit

Only two organizations can issue international driver’s licenses (permits) in the United States: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

Your International Driver’s Permit must be issued in your home country and cannot be obtained from a foreign government.

While you cannot complete the entire application process for an international driver’s license online, you can get started on AAA’s website by downloading the application form.

There are two ways you can get an IDP. 

There are two ways you can get an International Driving Permit (IDP). The first option is to apply through your local automobile association, while the second involves using a reputable online service.

1. In-Person 

The easiest way to obtain your IDP is by visiting a local AAA branch. AAA has over 1,000 locations across North America where you can get your IDP processed during your visit.

Before heading to the nearest branch, print and fill out an application, which can be downloaded from AAA’s website or obtained at the branch itself.

If you already have passport photos on hand, bring two along. If not, AAA can take your photos at the branch.

Once you arrive, inform the representative that you need an international driver’s license, and they’ll guide you through the rest of the process.

2. By Mail 

If there isn’t an AAA branch nearby or you can’t make it in person, you can mail in your signed application along with your passport photos.

What do you need to mail in?

  • International Driving Permit Application
  • Two identical recent passport-type photos (2″ x 2″) signed on the back
  • A photocopy of both sides of your U.S. Driver’s License
  • $20 permit fee paid by check or money order (cash is not accepted for mail-in applications)

Where do you need to mail it? 

Mail your application to your nearest AAA branch. Remember, each person planning to drive will need an individual IDP.

The permit is specific to the person whose driver’s license information is included and cannot be transferred.

IDP Requirements 

IDP Requirements 

To qualify for an international driver’s license, you must meet some minimum requirements. First and foremost, you must be at least 18 years old. Secondly, you must hold a valid U.S. or Territorial Driver’s license.

If you meet those criteria, obtaining an international driver’s permit is within reach. All you’ll need to do is complete an application form, provide two 2×2 passport-type photos, and pay the $20 fee.

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

Getting your IDP is a simple and relatively painless process compared to many bureaucratic procedures. You’re worried about it taking too much time, fear not!

If you go to a local AAA office, you can get your International Driving Permit (IDP) on the same day in just 10 to 30 minutes. If you send your application by mail, it usually takes AAA 10 to 15 days to process it. To ensure you have your IDP before your trip, it’s recommended to mail your application well in advance.

Filling out the form takes between 5 and 10 minutes, and obtaining the required 2×2-inch passport-style photos can take an additional 10 to 30 minutes, depending on where you get them done (AAA branch, pharmacy, etc.).

With your application complete and passport photos ready, you can walk into an AAA branch and leave with your international driver’s license within 10 minutes.

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How to Get an IDP If You’re Already Abroad 

If you’re already overseas, you can still apply for an IDP. However, you’ll need to plan ahead, as AAA’s IDP processing times for receiving your application range from 5 to 7 weeks.

Applying for an IDP from abroad is recommended only if you’re an expatriate living in a foreign country, a foreign exchange student, or traveling long-term for years on end.

In this case, you’ll need to send your application with the required documents to the following address:

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

Expect to wait 5 to 7 weeks for the return mail. Due to a recent change in U.S. Customs law impacting USPS Express International mail, FedEx will be used for most countries.

What Countries Require an International Drivers License? 

In general, if you’re traveling outside of North America, it’s a good idea to obtain an International Driving License.

Over 150 countries accept the IDP, but some require it to rent or drive a car. Some of the more popular vacation destinations that require the IDP are:

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

Additionally, the following countries require an IDP for foreign drivers:

  • Austria
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

*IDP requirements can change at any time. If you have questions about a specific country, contact the embassy of the country you plan to visit for real-time information.

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

Filling out the International Driving Permit Application is relatively straightforward. Let’s walk through it step-by-step.

Step 1: Personal Details 

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

Step 2: Contact Information

 Add your email address and phone number. You don’t need your license for these fields; write down your correct contact information.

Step 3: Driver’s License Information 

Refer to your driver’s license for this section. On the third row, add your driver’s license number, state of issue, and driver’s license expiration date. All of this information will be found on the front of your license.

Step 4: Birth Date and Location 

After adding your license information, you’ll need to provide your Birthplace City, State or Country of birth, and Birth Date in the Month, Day, and Year format (e.g., June 1, 1985).

Step 5: Home Address 

Then, enter your current home address followed by your City, State, and Zip Code.

There is a box labeled “Foreign addresses if known” underneath those fields. You don’t have to worry about this field if you don’t know your foreign address or will be driving around a lot. This field isn’t required.

Step 6: Departure Date and Permit Date 

The “Departure Date from the U.S.A.” is the date of your flight. Knowing this information will help you fill out the next box: “Permit Effective Date.”

Your permit must go into effect within six months of your application date, meaning that your permit’s year of eligibility will begin counting down on the effective date.

It’s recommended that the effective date either be the same as your departure date or

International Driving Permit vs. Inter-American Driving Permit 

Now that you have filled out the main boxes, you have a few quick but important checkboxes to complete.

First, you’ll need to state which type of permit you are applying for. You have two choices – either the International Driving Permit or the Inter-American Driving Permit.

To determine which option you should check, answer one question: Will you be driving in either Brazil or Uruguay?

If you answered no, check the “International Driving Permit” box. If the answer is yes, select the “Inter-American Driving Permit.”

The Inter-American Driving Permit is similar to the International Driving Permit. It is an identity document that licenses the holder to drive a motor vehicle in another nation when accompanied by a valid driver’s license from their home country.

It is less common than the International Driving Permit but is necessary for driving in Brazil and Uruguay.

For anywhere else in the world, choose the International Driving Permit. There is a third option for those planning to drive in Brazil or Uruguay AND in another country outside of South America.

In that case, you may have to apply for both an International Driving Permit and an Inter-American Driving Permit.

Select Which Vehicles You Are Allowed to Drive 

Finally, select which types of vehicles your current driver’s license is valid for. The vast majority of people will only check the “Passenger Car” box. This is the most common option, meaning you can legally drive vehicles that hold up to eight passengers.

This is your basic driver’s license, and this is the box most travelers will need to select. If you know you are going to be renting a motorcycle and you have a motorcycle license, then you can select that option.

To determine if you have a motorcycle license, check the back of your driver’s license. It will tell you what class of license you have.

The classes vary by state, so you’ll want to make sure you are looking at the state that issued your license. You can then check AAA’s website to see which vehicles your license class allows you to drive.

Sign and Date the Application 

Finally, the last step is to sign and date your application. If you are mailing yours in, fill out your return address information in the box in the bottom right corner.

This is the address where AAA will mail your International Driving Permit. Make sure to send in both pages of the application if you mail it or take both with you if you visit a branch in person.

Safe Travels 

Safe Travels 

Overall, an IDP is a peace-of-mind travel document that enables you to drive legally in foreign countries. If the police catch you speeding without one, they may give you a hefty fine. It’s worth the $20 it costs to get one.

Based on personal experience, obtaining an International Driver’s Permit from AAA is a fast and straightforward process.

Call your nearest branch, schedule an appointment, and within 30 minutes, you’ll have your IDP in hand. The representatives at the branch are friendly and ready to assist.

And best of all, you’ll feel safe and calm while renting cars abroad. With these instructions, you should be able to fill out your application and get your IDP in no time!

FAQ: AAA International Driving Permit

Is the AAA International Driving Permit Legit? 

The International Driving Permit (IDP) is a valid form of identification in 150 countries, allowing you to rent and drive a vehicle abroad. The IDP is not a replacement for your national driver’s license but an addition to it.

How Long is the AAA International Driver’s License Good For? 

The issuing authority validates an IDP for one year from the date of issuance.

What Countries Require an IDP? 

The following countries require an IDP for foreign drivers: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.

*IDP requirements can change at any time. If you have questions about a specific country, contact the embassy of the country you plan to visit for real-time information.

Can You Get an International Driving Permit Online? 

No, you must either visit an AAA office or mail in your application to get your IDP.

Conclusion

Obtaining an AAA International Driving Permit (IDP) is a straightforward process that can save you from potential headaches and hefty fines while driving abroad.

You can complete the entire process in just 10 minutes or less, whether you choose to apply in person at a local AAA branch or through the mail.

With your IDP in hand, you’ll have the peace of mind to legally rent a car and navigate foreign roads with confidence, making your international adventure truly unforgettable.

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