Some Information on the International Drivers License

One of the perks of being stationed in Italy is travel! From Vicenza, you can reach more than five countries within four hours by car. Before you hop in the car and take off, don’t forget to get your international drivers license.

What is the International Drivers License?

The international drivers license is also called an international driving permit (IDP.) It is a document which translates your United States drivers license into ten different languages. The IDP is used along with a valid drivers license allows you to legally drive in countries outside of your home nation. Some countries have laws which require you to possess an IDP if you drive within their borders. Even in countries that do not require the IDP, it is a good idea to carry one for translation purposes.

Why Do You Need an International Driving Permit?

Well, first of all, it is the law in some countries. If you get stopped driving in a country that requires you to have an IDP and you don’t have one, you could face a big fine. Some areas reportedly try to make as much money as possible off of American tourists. You may not get a ticket or fine, but why risk it?

Your SETAF driver’s license only allows you to legally drive in NATO countries. Even if you only plan on traveling by plane or train, you may need to rent a car at some point in time. It could be difficult to rent a car without an IDP.

Where Can You Get an International Driving Permit?

If you google the term “international drivers license”, you will find there are a huge number of sites and companies which claim to provide the international driving permit. According to the State Department Website, it only authorizes two agencies to issue IDP’s for US drivers. These two agencies are AAA and National Auto Club. The cost ($15) and application for either of these two companies are the same.

Any other websites or companies offering the IDP are not authorized to do so. If you choose to use one of these companies, do so at your own risk.

What documentation do I need to get an IDP?

You will need to copy both sides of your valid U.S. drivers license, two passport-type photos signed on the back, and the completed application to get your international driving permit.

When is the best time to get an IDP?

Get your international driving permit before you go. I walked into my local AAA office to apply for it.





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