Over the course of my travels, I’ve rented cars all around the world. When renting a car, I haven’t needed to show much more than my passport and driver’s license.
For our trip to South Korea, Kim noticed something interesting while reading about our destination. She saw that to rent a car, I’d need to get an International Driving Permit.
You can get an International Driving Permit from two places:
- AAA (American Automobile Association)
- AATA (American Automobile Touring Alliance)
You can apply by mail from both options but I decided to visit a AAA location close to home to get my International Driving Permit on the spot.
Rather than download the application, I filled out a copy given to me at AAA. This took under a minute to complete.
You’ll also need two passport photos. You can bring your own or have your photo taken at AAA for a fee (free for AAA members). Out of convenience I decided to have my photo taken at AAA. I don’t recall the exact price, but I’m pretty sure that it was $10. (I could’ve had passport photos printed for cheaper at a drug store but sometimes convenience is worth a small amount extra.)
After both of these things were done, I brought my application to the front desk and showed my valid U.S. issued drivers license so the application could be completed.
I then paid the $20 fee and waited about 5-7 minutes for my International Driving Permit.
Overall, the whole process for getting an International Driving Permit on the spot took around 20 minutes. I’m sure times can vary if your AAA location is busy.
The International Driving Permit is not a license, it needs to be brought along with your valid driver’s license. The IDP is good for one year from the date of issue and you need to be at least 18 years of age to apply. Your IDP will have a couple of pages which list all of the places it is valid. I think it numbers over 150 countries.
Applying for an IDP by mail:
- Download the application for AAA or AATA
- Fill out the application
- Include two passport photos (2×2) & photocopy of the front and back of your drivers license.
- Pay the $20 fee by check or money order.
- AATA charges a $10 shipping & handling fee. I didn’t notice a fee for AAA unless you wanted rush service.
Have you ever needed an International Drivers Permit to rent a car? If so, what country were you in?