• International

Texas Traveling Abroad

If you are a Texas resident that is planning on traveling overseas there are many procedures that you must follow.  For instance, in order to be accepted into the country you will need a Passport.  If you are planning on driving on the public highways and roads while you are vacationing, there are specific guidelines you will have to follow as well.  4dmv.com has taken all the Texas state specific information for traveling abroad and compiled it into this easy to understand guide.

U.S. Passport Card:

The U.S. Passport Card is used by many travelers abroad because it is less expensive than a traditional passport book.  It also has the convenience of being more portable.  Each traveler abroad must have government approved documentation to cross the boarder.  This ruling was a result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.  Passport Cards are approved documentation that are issued to the traveler abroad.  The Pass Cards are designed with a microchip that when scanned show a distinct number to the owner of the PASS Card.  When crossing the boarder the Custom and Border Protection will match the PASS Card number in their database to ensure security of the crossing.  This is also a much faster method used when crossing the border.  The PASS Card is wallet size and less expensive than the full passport book and is idea for all those traveling by land or sea between the United State, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda or Mexico.  It is not valid for air travel.  The PASS Card is valid for 10 years from the date of being issued.

How To Apply For A Passport Card:

First time applicants should apply at their nearest passport application facility.  To find your closest facility visit Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page

You will also need to fill out a Passport Application Form DS-11

For more information visit First Time Applicants

If you already have a traditional passport book you can apply for a PASS Card as a renewal with a Form DS-82 which can be found at U.S.Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals

There will be an application fee of $30 for the renewal fee from an expiring passport book.

Passport Book

Passport books are only required when you are traveling outside of the 50 state, the U.S territories of American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Swains Island, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. 

When traveling by land or sea to Canada or Mexico a passport book is not required, however you will need to obtain a Passport Card. 

The U.S. Department of State offers a passport guide for all those traveling abroad to determine whether they will need to obtain a passport.  The passport guide can be found at Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Passport Requirements

For more information on Passport Books visit 4dmv.com’s designated section titled Passport Books.

Driving While Overseas 

The state of Texas provides their overseas travelers that will be driving in the foreign country while on vacation an International Driver Permit.  The International Driver Permit is issued to the Texas traveler in document form which states the driving privileges which the motorist enjoy in the states.  The International Driver Permit is used in conjunction with the traveler’s valid Texas driver’s license.  The International Driver Permit equips the traveler with a wide range of tools to state their eligibility to foreign officials and car rental clerks.  Obtaining a permit is simple and does not require test taking or trips to the DMV.  4dmv.com has compiled all the information you need to know for going about how to obtain your International Driver Permit.  

What Is The IDP?

The IDP is a simple document that translates the Texas motorist driver’s license into many foreign languages.  By doing this, foreign officials are aware of your driving privileges in the states.  In order for the IDP to be effective, you must also possess your current, valid Texas driver’s license.  It is necessary to carry both the IDP and your current, valid Texas driver’s license when traveling abroad.

When traveling abroad, one should obtain an IDP to ensure that they will be able to operate a vehicle on the foreign highways and roads.  The United States does not require anything specific for non-citizens to obtain an IDP, nor does the rest of the world.  IDP’s are more receptive in some countries such as Europe.  Many of the countries prefer the use of the IDP over a state driver’s license. 

Not all countries require that a foreign driver possess an IDP, however, it is not a bad idea to have one.  Often times, the language is foreign when traveling abroad, and should you be pulled over, the IDP will speak for you, rather than you trying to convince the official that you are legal on their public highways and roads.

The IDP is a small document about the size of your passport book.  You driving privileges that you have here in the state of Texas are translated into 10 different languages and it states your name with a photo of yourself.  For a list of countries that recognize the IDP form visit Application For International Driving Permit

Once you have been issued your IDP, it will remain valid for one year from the date of being issued.  The IDP must be obtained in your country of origin. 

How To Apply For An IDP

To apply for your IDP the State Department has authorized two issuers which are:

The American Automobile Association

To learn more about how to apply online through the American Automobile Association visit  International Driving Permit

The National Automobile Club

For more information regarding the National Automobile Club and the IDP.

To apply for an IDP through the National Automobile Club

In order to obtain your IDP you must be at least 18 years of older and include with your IDP application:

  • A signed photocopy of your valid U.S driver’s license
  • Two passport size photos

You will also be required to submit an application fee of $15.


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