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International driving licenses – do you need one for the UK?

Planning to drive on your UK holiday? These days, you may need an International Driving Permit or IDP. This is what you need to know.

If you have a valid driver’s license from your own country, you can drive in the UK for up to 12 months. You may not need an IDP, but since they are easy to obtain, it may be a good idea to get one anyway. Let’s learn more about them.

What is an IDP?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a globally recognized document that carries a photo the size of your passport and a translation of your own local driver’s license in ten different languages besides English: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. An IDP is a recognized form of identification in 174 countries, many of which do not recognize US driver’s licenses or other national driver’s licenses as valid driver identification.

If it is not a driver’s license, what is it for?

An IDP is definitely not a driver’s license and cannot be used in place of one. If you drive outside of your own country, you must still carry your driver’s license and an IDP. The main purpose of an IDP is to allow authorities who do not speak your language, from traffic police to court officials, to communicate with you about your driving credentials and link them to your other identification. Just remember, an IDP is not a legal document or a legal form of identification. All it is is a means for car authorities outside of your country to understand your driver’s license in your own language.

Remember to always bring your own driver’s license as well.

Do you need an IDP to drive in the UK?

If your US driver’s license is issued in English, you probably don’t need a UK IDP. However, in these days of increased security, car rental companies and insurance companies may require one. And if you plan to drive through the canal. crossing by Le Shuttle or a ferry, you will need to have one.

And you will also need one for the UK if your own driver’s license is not in English

What are the requirements to get one?

  • You must be over 18 years old
  • You must submit two passport-size color photographs signed on the back
  • And you must present your valid driver’s license if you apply in person or a signed photocopy of both parties if you submit the application by mail.
  • Paying a Small Fee – Currently $ 20 (as of May 2018) via Authorized US Automotive Organizations Plus the cost of expedited shipping if you’re in a rush.
  • The fee is paid by check in US dollars or money order.

You can only apply for an IDP in the country where you have a driver’s license. That means, in the US, for example, you don’t have to be a US citizen, but you do have to have a US driver’s license.

Where can I get an IDP?

IDPs are issued by automotive organizations in the country where you are licensed to drive. In the US, both the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) are authorized by the US Department of State to issue IDPs. The National Automobile Club no longer issues them.

The easiest way to get one is to print an application and take it to a local AAA or AATA office. You can also obtain an IDP by mailing the application with the required photos, photocopies, and payments to AAA or AATA. You do not need to be a member to apply for an IDP of any of these clubs.

If you have a license to drive in another country, check with your local motoring authorities. Generally speaking, there will be one or two automotive organizations in your country that are authorized to issue IDPs.

How long is it good for?

An IDP lasts for one year from the date of issue. It cannot be renewed, but if yours has expired, you just have to fill out the forms described above, pay the fee, and request a new one. If you can go in person with your current driver’s license, photo, and fee, you should be able to get your IDP in a matter of minutes.

And a warning about fakes

Internally displaced persons are not available online. The US Federal Trade Commission has published tips on fake IDPs that are offered online for high fees. It’s such a big business that the Federal Trade Commission dedicates an entire consumer information page on its website.

It turns out that some scammers offer these fake IDPs that falsely promise that they:

  • can be used to replace a suspended or revoked driver’s license. FAKE
  • It can be used in place of government-issued identification, such as passports or identity cards. FAKE
  • they are worth hundreds of pounds. FAKE
  • can be used as approved photo identification . FAKE

In fact, if you try to use one of these fake IDPs, not only will your trip be delayed, but you could be subject to hefty fines and criminal penalties.

Neither AAA nor AATA charge more than $ 20 for an IDP. There may also be a small additional fee if you opt for priority shipping via FedEX or another courier. Some of the counterfeits offered online cost between $ 60 and $ 400 plus shipping. Some also claim that they allow you to drive legally in lieu of a valid government-issued driver’s license. This is never true, so be on your guard against:

  • high fees
  • online offers
  • IDPs said to replace driver’s licenses and other government-issued documents.

Only remember –

  • The fee for an IDP is always relatively modest ($ 20 in 2018)
  • An IDP has only one purpose: to make your valid driving documents understandable to non-English speaking authorities outside of the US.

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