Taking a vacation doesn’t always confine you to the nation’s borders. Travel abroad is highly popular due to the exotic scenery, new experiences, and great foreign customs that you get to enjoy while you are in a completely different country. However, there are steps you have to take in order to ensure that your travel abroad is accommodated appropriately – especially if you wish to drive abroad.
If you wish to take up driving while in a foreign country, you will need to obtain the international driver’s permit, which does offer international driving privileges. You will be able to drive just like you would at home, with the IDP serving as a translation card for your driver’s license from MI.
- Use the IDP for eligibility to drive in foreign countries.
- Use the IDP for eligibility to rental vehicle’s abroad.
- No tests or any visits required to the DMV in order to get your IDP.
While not all countries recognize the IDP, and not all officials are going to know what it is, there are over 150 countries out there that do recognize this document, and often prefer to see it over your standard MICHIGAN driver’s license.
What Is Your IDP – International Driving Permit
Your international driver’s permit is a card about the size of your photo passport book translating all your driver’s license privileges in MICHIGAN to a language that foreign authorities can better understand. In other words, as you are driving abroad, you have your driver’s license in English, and the IDP which translates your license into various foreign languages so authorities can confirm you do belong behind the wheel.
Without the IDP, you could experience a lengthy process for verification of your driving privileges, as well as more stress in dealing with foreign authorities who are under the assumption that you are doing something that you aren’t supposed to be doing. Beyond authorities, if you are planning on renting a vehicle across seas, an IDP is commonly going to be requested and often preferred before the rental is approved.
Some key points of the IDP include:
- You aren’t bound by a national requirement for the international driver permit in the U.S. if traveling within the country.
- There are no national requirements for drivers in other countries to hold the IDP.
- The IDP is often recognized more in various countries such as Europe.
- There are some countries that may not recognize the IDP and prefer your English U.S. license, while the latter pertains to other countries.
- Many foreign car rental agencies require an IDP or prefer to see it over your U.S. license.
There are approximately 10 languages translated through the IDP including:
There are others as well, including all of the Scandinavian languages and Arabic as well. If you find that you aren’t required by the country you are visiting to bring along the IDP, you may still want to hold it to save you time and worry – especially if you are visiting various different foreign countries.
How to Apply for IDP
There are two recommended sources of the IDP, which are the National Automobile Club and the American Automobile Association. To apply with one of these, there are different processes, with AAA offering an online application, and the NAC offering an application that can be downloaded and sent by mail.
- To apply online through AAA, visit http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpc.html; for more information visit http://www.aaa.com/aaa/sem/sem.htm?redirectto=http://www.aaa.com/?area=JoinSEM&skin=JoinSEM&gcid=S15141x073&keyword=exact_aaa
- To apply through the NAC by mail, download the application form at http://thenac.com/international_driving_permit.pdf; for more information and a list of FAQ’s, visit http://www.thenac.com/idp_faqs.htm.
You must be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid driver’s license, and have two recent photos of passport size, taken no longer than 6 months before. The cost is $15 -- and if you find another source offering the IDP for more money steer clear. Any shipping and handling costs, however, are added into the final cost.
If you feel that you are a victim of IDP fraud, you should contact the Attorney General, FTC, or BBB immediately. This will prevent you from further issues relating to the crime.