Keep in mind that there are maybe different regulations in the country where you are planning to move or travel. That could lead to certain issues if you are planning to drive a car there. For example, you are going on a vacation and planning to rent a vehicle.
However, you were unaware that some rules were different, and your driving license is not valid in that country. In that case, you will need the International Driver’s License. This document is valid in more than 170 countries, and the great thing is that you can get the international driving license through an online form.
If you are from the US, and planning to travel to a country where manual vehicles are more common, the great thing is that you don’t have to pass an additional driving test if you already have a license. However, we advise you to get some practice if you were only driving automatic cars before. Also, here are some important details about getting the international driving permit and how much time you will have to wait to get one.
How To Get It?
As we already mentioned, there is a simple online form where you can apply. The most important requirement is to provide more details about your driver’s license, along with some other data. If you are from the US, there is an organization called American Automobile Association, and you will have to visit their website to complete the application.
When it comes to required documents, you will need two pictures, a copy of your driver’s license, a credit card, and a proof that you paid for a fee. Getting this paper is quite affordable since the price is only $20.
Moreover, keep in mind that only licensed organizations can provide a valid document. There are many scams available online, and you should pay more attention to them. Also, you can get this paper only from the country where you got your driving license. Besides that, it is not an alternative for your existing driving permit. It is not a rare case that people misunderstand this rule, and start driving a car while only carrying an international permit.
Another common misconception is that you can get an international driving license. There is no such option available. This permit must go along with your license, and if the police stop you without any of these two documents, you will get a penalty. Keep in mind that penalties for foreigners are usually much higher.
How Long Do You Have To Wait?
The application is quite simple, and you will need under 10 minutes to share all important details and complete it. When it comes to the waiting time, it can be different from country to country. However, in most cases, you can expect to get one in around 14 days.
The important part is that you won’t be able to get it instantly, which means that you will have to plan this application in advance. That will save you from trouble if you are planning to travel soon. Furthermore, the international permit is temporary. The duration of this document is one year, and when it expires, you will have to apply again.
Can You Get One in a Foreign Country?
This is a very important detail to know since there is no such option. Therefore, be sure to get this paper on time before you travel to another country. Missing to do this on time will prevent you from the ability to drive there.
Also, if you are planning to visit the US from some other country, the laws are different in each state, which means that some of them do not require an international driving permit. The requirement is only in the form of a recommendation. For example, it will be easier for the police to check you when you have a permit in English.
Important Note For US Drivers
There is a reason why states like California, Massachusetts, Arizona, and some others will recognize the foreign license even without this permit. The driving conditions in the US are quite simple, the roads are wide, and most vehicles are automatic. Therefore, it is not a surprise that you can start driving from the age of 16.
However, things are much more complicated on other countries, especially when it comes to Europe. Most vehicles in Europe are manual, and roads and terrains are not as simple as it is in the US. Therefore, it will require more skills and experience to drive there.
The reason why we are mentioning this is not only related to the international permit. You can easily get one when traveling to Europe. However, driving there can be more challenging for someone who got used to the US roads. In that matter, we suggest you to take some practice, learn more about specific rules and conditions, and avoid getting a manual if you don’t have enough experience.
It might be a surprise when you drive on narrow roads, which is common in many countries, especially Europe. Also, the rules are stricter, and getting a penalty can ruin your vacation since fees for not wearing a seatbelt, using your phone, or some other mistake could cost you a lot of money.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the rules are quite simple. If you are planning to drive your car in another country, you will need this additional document. The important part is that you must have both the license and permit while driving.
The processing time is quite fast, and you will get a permit after around two weeks. The duration of it is one year. Therefore, be sure to plan getting this document on time. Apply for it at least one month before you travel.
In the end, the permit is valid in over 170 countries, but there are still some popular places where you cannot use it, like China. In that case, you will need a foreign driver’s license, and that process can be more complicated.