How to get an International Driver’s License while Living Abroad.
Will you be traveling in the next year or so, and looking to hire a car for part of your trip? You might not be aware, but in many countries you need to not only have your valid driver’s license, but also an International Driver’s License or International Driver’s Permit. They can be referred to in both manners, and for Americans, are usually available from your local AAA office on their website here. Print off a form, fill it out, and go visit a AAA office. This is the most ideal situation for us Americans, however, if you are like me, and spend your life abroad, this is not a possibility.
After a few hours of research online, I found a company that would process my application from abroad, and send me the documents within 3-5 days, regardless of my location. If this is what you are looking for, here is the website, and a picture of the homepage. You can apply online, or mail in your request. All I had to do was fill out the application online, and send a copy of a passport photo to the company. After signing an authorization letter for my credit card, I received my IDP in China, 4 days after applying.
The document I received was a small passport sized booklet with several translations, Japanese, Russian, Italian, etc. of my American government issued Driver’s License.
Remember that you International Driving Permit Translation must be accompanied by your valid driving license at all times. Your IDP can not be used as a stand alone document because it is only a translation of your government issued license. Only those who obtain the IDP or IDL are legally able to operate the vehicle.
I know what you are thinking, you will only be driving for a few days or even a few weeks, and you won’t need it. Don’t risk it! During our recent trip to Europe I was pulled over in Austria for speeding on a country road, and was so glad I had it. If not for the possible tickets, then even just for the peace of mind while you are driving.