Author: Visa Adviser
If you might want to drive a car while you are abroad, you should check the driver’s license requirements of the country you are visiting in advance and determine whether you will need an international driver’s permit.
An international driver’s permit is a booklet that contains translated/transliterated versions of your home country’s driver’s license. The permit is issued in 10 languages and is valid for 150 countries in the world (listed below). It is important to note that an international driver’s permit does not replace your home country’s driver’s license, but should be presented with your home country’s driver’s license when requested.
If you currently hold a valid US driver’s license, you can obtain an international driving permit from either The American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance. Applications can be completed either in person or online and require submission of the following materials:
- An application form (found on either the AAA or AATA websites)
- A valid U.S.’s driver license
- A fee of $20 USD
While, based on the author’s experience, a U.S. driver’s license (without an international driver’s permit) is accepted for car rentals in many countries in North America and the EU, many countries — particularly those that use non-roman alphabets — might require that you also have an international driver’s license in order to rent a car or to drive in the country.
If the country you are visiting does require an international driver’s permit, it is advisable to apply for, and obtain the permit prior to your departure. However, if you are already abroad, it is possible to use a by-mail request to obtain the permit.
International driver’s permits are honored, but not necessarily required, in the following countries.
Afghanistan*, Albania, Algeria, Andorra*, Angola*, Anguilla*/**, Antigua*/**, Argentina, Armenia*, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan*, Bahamas, Bahrain*, Bangladesh, Barbados**, Belarus*, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan*, Bolivia *, Bosnia*, Botswana, Brazil***, Brunei*, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso*, Cambodia, Cameroon*, Canada, Cape Verde*, Cayman Islands*, Central African-Rep, Chad*, Chile, Colombia*, Comoros*, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo, Dem Republic of (Kinshasa), Costa Rica*, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia*, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti*, Dominica*/**, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador*, Equatorial Guinea*, Estonia*, Fiji, Finland, France (including French overseas territories), French Polynesia, Gabon*, Gambia, Georgia, Germany*, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Grenada**, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea*, Guinea-Bissau*, Guyana, Haiti, Herzegovina*, Honduras*, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia*, Iran*, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey*, Jordan*, Kazakhstan*, Kenya*, Korea (Rep.), Kuwait*, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia*, Libya*, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Macao*, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania*, Mauritius, Mexico*, Moldova*, Monaco, Montenegro, Montserrat*/**, Morocco, Mozambique*, Myanmar*, Namibia, Nepal*, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua*, Niger, Norway, Oman*, Pakistan*, Panama*, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar*, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, St. Kitts & Nevis*/**, St. Lucia,, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome & Principe*, Saudi Arabia*, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia*, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan*, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland*, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan*, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago***, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan*, Uganda, Ukraine*, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay***, Uzbekistan*, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam*, Western Samoa, Yemen*, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
* International Driving Permit Honored; Not party to 1949 Convention.
** U.S. driver’s license and IDP recognized on presentation to local police and payment of special registration fee upon arrival.
*** “If you plan to drive in Brazil, Uruguay or Trinidad & Tobago you will need an Inter-American Driving Permit issued by the AAA.
Don’t forget! You will also need to have valid car insurance prior to your trip. Check out our blog on road trips for further information on your valid insurance options.