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Do Car Rental Companies Accept International Driving Permits (IDP)?

Oct 24, 2007
If an individual from the United States is visiting another country or an individual from another country is visiting the United States, an International Driving Permit will be needed to be able to rent a car in a country other than your own. Even rental car companies that have branches in different countries will need to see an International Driving Permit before the individual will be allowed to rent a vehicle in that country. There are several requirements that need to be met before an IDP will be issued and the permits are not valid in every country.

The International Driving Permit is a special license that is used by tourists in a different country that allows them to operate a motor vehicle in that country, without having to take the driving test required to obtain a driver's license in that country. This document indicates to the officials and rental car companies in another country that the individual has been judged competent to drive in their home country. The individual must already possess a valid driver's license in their home country and be over the age of 18 before an IDP will be issued to them.

This permit is used in conjunction with the driver's license issued by the individual's country of origin and both must be carried by the individual at all times when operating a vehicle in another country. It is not a license to operate a motor vehicle on its own. If the individual is stopped for a traffic violation in the country that they are visiting, both the IDP and the individual's personal diver's license must be surrendered to the authorities. The International Driving Permit contains information written in eleven different languages to ensure that local law enforcement will be able to understand the information.

The permit is not extendable or renewable and is valid for only one year from the date of issue. Every time a new IDP is required, the applicant will have to complete a new application form. When applying for the permit, you must complete the application and provide two passport size photos and a photocopy of both the front and the back of your valid drivers' license. The IDP document is the size of a standard passport, complete with photograph and vital statistics.

The International Driving Permit is a must have if visiting a different country, even if the individual is not planning on obtaining a rental car in the country that they are visiting. The International Driving Permit gives the individual another form of photo identification and is printed in a number of different languages to allow local individuals to read and understand the information, a great help if other forms of identification are lost or are not understood by local officials. Because the International Driving Permit is recognized in more than 150 countries around the world, it provides a valuable piece of identification for the individual and can assist the individual in times of crisis.
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