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Getting an International Driver’s License – Everything You Need to Know

Many people don’t realize that driving with just a standard driver’s license may not be legal or valid in all countries around the world. That’s why obtaining an international driver’s license is essential for those planning to drive in foreign countries. With an international driver’s license, you’ll enjoy legal and valid driving privileges abroad. 
International Driver License permit
What is an International Driver’s License?
An international driver’s license, also known as an international driving permit, is a special permit that translates your home country driver’s license into multiple languages. The document looks like a small booklet with your name, photo, home address, and driver’s license information translated into 10-12 languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. 
Having an international driver’s permit along with your standard license essentially validates your basic driving privileges in foreign countries. It acts as a translation service proving you have a valid license. Over 150 countries worldwide recognize international driver’s licenses.
Benefits of Getting an International Driving License
There are several excellent benefits to obtaining an international driving permit:
– Legally Drive in Foreign Countries – With an international driver’s license, you can legally and safely drive in countries that recognize the document. Driving with just your home country license may be illegal.
– Avoid Language Barriers – Since the international permit translates your information into over 12-16 languages, it helps overcome any language barriers when showing your license.
– Quick Identification – The document provides quick identification to traffic police and other officials. The translations help confirm you are legally permitted to drive.
– Peace of Mind – Having the proper driving documentation for international travel gives you immense peace of mind that you are driving legally. 
– Car Rental Discounts – Many rental car agencies abroad offer discounts or waive deposit fees when renters have an international driving permit along with their base license.
– No Need to Obtain Foreign Licenses – The international driver’s license negates the need to go through the process of obtaining legal driving privileges in every country you visit. One international permit covers driving in all participating countries.
How to Obtain an International Driving License 
Many people wonder about the process of actually obtaining an international driving permit. Here is an overview:
– Contact Licensing Agency – Each country has its own designated licensing agency, association, or automobile club that issues international driving permits. Contact your country’s provider.
– Bring Required Documents – You will need to bring your valid standard driver’s license and a passport photo. Some providers may require additional documents like a passport or proof of insurance.
– Complete Application & Pay Fee – Fill out the international driver’s permit application in full and submit any required fee (usually $29-$69). 
– Get Translated Document – You will typically receive your translated and valid international driver’s permit right away or within a few weeks by mail. Many agencies offer next day processing.
– Renew as Needed – These permits are valid for 1-3 years usually. Check the expiration and renew accordingly before future international trips requiring driving privileges.
Countries Recognizing the International Driver’s License
Since over 150 countries acknowledge the international driver’s permit, it covers most destinations tourists will visit. Here are some of the top participating countries:
– Spain  
– France 
– Germany
– Italy
– Greece 
– Sweden
– Turkey
– India
– China
– Japan 
– Australia
– Mexico
– South Africa
– Egypt
– Thailand
– Brazil
– Russia
Check with your country’s permitting agency for a full list of nations that recognize international driving licenses. It covers an extensive number of destinations across Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Driving Safely Abroad with Your Permit
Obtaining an international driving permit is the first key step to enjoying legal and safe driving privileges overseas. Here are some additional tips for driving carefully in another country:
– Review Local Driving Laws – Get familiar with the road rules and laws for your destination before traveling. Things may differ from your home country.
– Have Documents on Hand – Keep your international permit, standard license, passport, and proof of insurance easily accessible in the car at all times.
– Follow All Traffic Signs – Adhere to posted speed limits, traffic patterns, seat belt laws, and other road sign instructions. 
– Drive Defensively – Be vigilant about other drivers and pedestrians when driving abroad. Adjust your driving style appropriately.
– Arrange Insurance Ahead – Confirm your auto insurance policy includes foreign coverage or purchase a special international plan.
– Don’t Drink and Drive – DUI laws may be very strict in other countries. Avoid drinking and driving at all costs.
With the proper authorization from an international driver’s permit along with smart and safe driving, you can legally and confidently drive in other countries across the world. Enjoy the freedom of driving abroad with this essential document.