We have never needed to worry about an International Driving Permit because we have either taken public transportation or drove in a country that does not require Americans to get this license (like Mexico or Germany). But we will need one (technically) when renting a car in Spain, and quiet honestly I figured with as much international travel as we do, it would be a smart idea to get one.
An International Permit does not require you to take a new test or anything like that (whew!), it essentially contains your personal information (name, photo, driver status) and translates that into 10 languages. The Permit is also a valid form of ID in 150 countries, so chances are you are good to go wherever you are going. As a side note, an International Permit does not replace your driver’s license, so you must have a driver’s license first AND you have to be at least 18 years old.
Read more: Driving in Germany
Steps to Getting an International Driver’s Permit:
- Start less than 6 months before your trip because the permits are only valid for 1 year and cannot be ordered more than 6 months before your effective date
- Take 2 Passport photos, which can be done at most drugstores, post offices, or business supply stores
- Fill out the application (I got mine off of the AAA website)
- Make a photocopy of both sides of your current driver’s license
- Pay $20
If you go through AAA, you can visit a branch to submit your paperwork or mail it in. I am going to try to mail our stuff in ASAP but it makes me nervous that our trip is less than 2 months away (I’m a planner) but I’m sure it’ll be fine. The website it takes an average of 2 weeks to process.
Next step, rent the car!