International Driver License Scams

An international driving permit (IDP), sometimes incorrectly called an international drivers license (IDL), is not a License it is a permit. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says there’s no such thing as an “international driving license, and there’s no sanctioning body that could issue such a thing.”

The IDP translates your government-issued driver’s license into ten languages. Although your U.S. driver’s license lets you drive in many foreign countries, the translations in the IDP are intended to minimize language barriers when you drive in countries where English is not widely spoken or understood. That’s all an IDP does. It’s not a substitute for a valid, government-issued license. It can’t be used in place of a suspended or revoked license or as a government-issued identification card.

An official IDP is a gray, multi-page booklet with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” printed at the top of the cover, and the seal of either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) in the middle of the cover. An IDP is not proof of identity.

AAA and AATA are the only organizations authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue IDPs to U.S. residents. Both AAA and AATA charge less than $20 for an IDP. If you’re asked to pay more, consider it a rip-off.

There are companies not authorized to issue IDP’s selling fake IDP’s on websites, through unsolicited email, and in person for prices ranging from $60 to $400. If you’re a U.S. resident, and you’re caught using an IDP in place of a state-issued driver’s license, the consequences can be severe.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has a whole web page dedicated to describing International Driver License Scams.