Thursday, August 06, 2009

International Driving Permits

Although many countries do not recognize U.S. driver's licenses, most countries accept an International Driving Permit (IDP). IDPs are honored in more than 150 countries outside the United States. (See AAA’s application form for the list of countries). An IDP functions as an official translation of a U.S. driver's license into ten foreign languages. These licenses are not intended to replace valid U.S. state licenses and should only be used as a supplement to a valid U.S. license. IDPs are not valid in an individual’s country of residence. Before departure, you can obtain an IDP from an automobile association authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue IDPs. Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (1949) authorizes the U.S. Department of State to empower certain organizations to issue IDPs to those who hold valid U.S. driver’s licenses. The Department designated the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance as the only authorized distributors of IDPs.

Many foreign countries require the deposit of a customs duty or an equivalent bond for each tourist automobile entering their territory, and the motoring associations are equipped with the necessary facilities to expeditiously provide a standard bond document (Article 3 of the Convention). The Convention is not applicable to United States motorists using their cars in the United States.

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