How to Get an International Driving Permit

Last Updated on

IDP
So my moving date and work visa for South Korea are pending– a bit nerve-wracking at this point.  There’s nothing more irritating than the notion of receiving a last-minute notice to book your ticket and move across the globe to a country, where you’re uncertain as to what you should expect in familiarity or a lack thereof.

I am not quite sure how to pack for relocation abroad or for a move to South Korea.  I read that certain products are hard to find- i.e. tampons, deodorant, larger sized shoes and clothing, etc….  While I assume that most food and product concerns can be dealt with or worked around if I ever find myself without; the inability to fit shoe/clothing sizes there, can’t be “worked around”.  Also, I have questions about where to base my credit cards, ATM accounts and a handful of other questions regarding official documents I may need besides a working visa.  Ugh. Well, maybe like most things, you just have to trust your traveler’s sense and wing it…

One thing I can cross of my list is my International Driving Permit.

What is an International Driving License and why get one?

An International Driver’s Permit allows Americans to use their U.S. driver’s license to legally drive in over 150 countries  around the world. There are a few exceptions;  South America is one of them. For a list of countries and jurisdictions which recognize the IDP, check wikipedia’s list.

Although the International Driver’s Permit  is a 14-paged document verifying that I am a recognized motorist in the United States and my license is officially valid.

It’s a misunderstanding that an International Driver’s Permit is an International Driver’s License. The permit is not a substitute for  a driver’s license however. The U.S. does not issue international driver’s licenses. Instead, the document acts as a “permit”, that must accompany a U.S. license, when you are driving abroad.

How to get an International Driving Permit

The U.S. government currently authorizes two companies to legally distribute this:

American Automobile Association (AAA ) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) and the National Automobile Club.

Where I got mine at AAA, where I am already a member and walk into the office.  But you do not have to be a AAA member in order to get one.

The process takes all of 15 minutes and the earliest application request can be made 6 months in advance. Applications for a permit can be made via mail or in-person and from the United States or abroad.

  What do you need to apply for an IDP?

  • A complete application found on either website
  •  2 original passport photos  (which you can buy at Costco, Longs Drugs, CVS or Walgreens)
  •  A photocopy of the front & back of your driver’s license
  •  A $20 payment fee 

While I’m not sure if I’ll need to drive anywhere in South Korea, the process of obtaining one was relatively quick, painless and easy, in comparison to what I had gone through earlier with notarizing and apostilling documents for a work visa.

How much does an International Driving Permit cost?

The International Driver’s Permit costs a fee of $20 and the permit is good a year from the effective date. Thus, it won’t break your bank. Even if I am considering the possibility of driving on my next trip or a following trip, I get one.  It could never hurt to have one!

IDP booklet
The International Driver’s Permit 14pp booklet

 

When does your international driver’s permit expire?

Your international driver’s permit expires one year from the date requested to start.

IDP countries

IDP

IDP transcribed French


How to get one?

The U.S. government currently authorizes two companies to legally distribute this: AAA (where I got mine and you are not required to be a member) and the National Automobile Club. To buy this from with any other website dealer or company, which claims to sell permits or offer International Driver’s Licenses are at best, risky.

The earliest application request can be made 6 months in advance. Applications for a permit can be made via mail or in-person and from the United States or abroad.

  What do you need to apply for an IDP?

  • A complete application found on either website
  •  2 original passport photos
  •  A photocopy of the front & back of your driver’s license
  •  A $15 payment fee as well as, shipping or handling fees, if applicable

*Note: A passport photo will be used and seen in the document.

Other Info about Driving when abroad:

Tips for Traveling Abroad- US State Department Road Safety Overseas  (trav.state.gov website)

Previous Post
19 Shocking Things about New Yorkers
Next Post
Remodeling “New” in 2010

Related Posts

4 Comments. Leave new

Sounds amazing!! Congrats on your international driver’s license!! As for obtaining necessities in South Korea… there is always the internet. You can always shop online for shoes and tampons. Good luck!! Keep blogging!! I can’t wait to keep following!!!

Reply

Sounds like you’re gearing up for an eye-opening, amazing experience. Packing for a long term stay can be daunting, but we humans always seem to adjust. Somehow. 🙂

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Menu