International Drivers in U.S. Should Bring a Driving Permit (IDP)

International Driving Permit

What You Should Bring as a Visitor in United States

If you are visiting U.S.A. you need to bring the driver’s license issued by your home country. You should also bring an International Driving Permit (IDP). This document translates information contained on your driver’s license into 10 languages so that officials are able to interpret your license.

International Driving Permits are issued in accordance with Road Traffic Conventions and valid in more than 140 countries. The permits can only be issued by motoring organizations or motoring authorities in your home country.

As a visitor in United States, you cannot get the International Driving Permit when you are in the States. You must obtain this document before you travel. (In the same manner as U.S. residents should get the permit in U.S. before traveling abroad.)

Bring Both Your License and the IDP

Please note that you should bring both your license and the IDP. An IDP does not serve as a replacement for your license. If you are visiting United States and stopped by law enforcement, you will most likely be asked to show both documents, unless your license is in English or can be understood by the officer.

The IDP is not a required document in any state, but if your license isn’t in English and not from Mexico, Western Europe, or Canada, it may be a very good idea to bring one.

Driving Permit - Thilo Parg

If You Plan to Live in the United States

If you are going to live in the U.S. (become a resident), you must get a U.S. driver’s license once you are in the U.S. You apply for a license in the state in which you live (not from the federal government). If you want to drive, you may be required to get the license with a month or less, depending or state.

Remember, each state has its own driving rules and regulations. The residency requirement for obtaining a U.S. driver’s license also varies with each state. Check with your state’s motor vehicles department to find out how to apply. They can also give you more information about rules of the road.

Once you receive your U.S. driver’s license, you will be permitted to drive in all other U.S. states. But again, the laws in each state vary.

It is your responsibility to know and obey the driving laws in the state you are visiting. This is also important if you are just a foreign visitor.

IDP Information for Americans

Your International Driving Permit speaks the language – even if you don’t! – AAA

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