Most countries do not recognize U.S. driver’s licenses, but they will accept an International Driving Permit. When you travel overseas, it can be useful to carry an International Driving Permit because, just like in the U.S., it acts as a recognizable form of identification even if you never plan to drive in a foreign country.
What are the requirements for an International Driving Permit?
To qualify for an IDP, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a current U.S. driver’s license.
How do you apply for an International Driving Permit?
Two automobile associations are authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue IDPs:
U.S. citizens can secure an IDP by visiting one of these offices or through the postal service. Start by completing the IDP application and taking or mailing it along with:
- 2 passport-like photos (2″ x 2″) – sign the back of each photo
- a permit fee of $15.00 U.S. (as a check or money order, no cash)
- a photocopy of the front and back of your current U.S. driver’s license
Overseas auto insurance
Car accidents can occur overseas just as they can back home, and if you will be driving in a foreign country, it’s recommended that you purchase adequate car insurance. Travelers using a credit card usually have adequate car rental coverage with their credit card protection, but of course, you’ll need to check with your credit card company and review the card agreement to be sure. You can also purchase car rental collision coverage through your travel insurance company.
It’s important to note that neither travel insurance nor credit card protection cover your personal liability. These plans are designed to protect travelers from the high costs associated with repairing a damaged vehicle, so these plans are not comprehensive coverage like you may have with your own automobile insurance back home.
Three countries: Mexico, Jamaica, and Ireland do not accept car insurance from outside their own country, so you’ll have to purchase car insurance inside those countries for it to be valid.
For additional overseas road safety facts and road travel reports, see the Association for Safe International Road Travel.