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  • International DL's

    I’ve seen a couple of…Spanish speaking individuals, who had an “International Driver’s License.” Does anyone know if we must honor them and/or where I look that up? I’ve actually been told both ways and I’m not sure where to start looking.
    "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

    - Frederick Douglass

  • #2
    IDP (sometimes incorrectly called an international driving license) is a real document when issued by the proper authorities, it is not a legal alternative to your state-issued license. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer and present an IDL or an IDP as proof of your identity and authorization to drive, you could be arrested.

    What's an IDP?
    The United States is a party to a United Nations treaty that gives residents of one country the right to drive in other countries using the driver's license issued by the government where they live. This treaty created the international driving permit to make this arrangement easier. An IDP translates your state-issued driver's license into 10 languages so you can show it to officials in foreign countries to help them interpret your driver's license. If you're a U.S. resident, an IDP is useless within the U.S. IDPs are not intended to replace state-issued driver's licenses and should be used only as a supplement to a valid license when traveling in a foreign country. In addition, IDPs are not proof of identity.

    The U.S. Department of State has authorized only two organizations to issue IDPs to U.S. residents. The organizations, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA), are permitted to sell IDPs only to people who are at least 18 years old and only to those who have a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory. The AAA and the AATA charge $10 for each IDP.

    How Does an IDP Differ from a State-issued Driver's License?
    A driver's license is a card that lets you drive a motor vehicle legally. It is issued by the state where you live, but allows you to drive anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. A driver's license also serves as valid proof of your identity to law enforcement officials. States require that you pass a series of exams to get your first license: a written exam on the "rules of the road," an eye test, and a road test. States also require that you provide proof of your identity, such as a passport, a valid driver's license from another state, or a birth certificate. The fee for a license varies by state.

    How the IDP Scam Works
    Ads and offers for fake IDLs and IDPs are showing up on websites and as spam email. They also are sold "on the street" and through storefront operations. The price for one of these fake documents can range from $65 to $350. Many local operations target non-native speakers through ads in foreign-language newspapers that direct consumers to websites or local storefronts. The marketers falsely claim that their documents:

    authorize consumers to drive legally in the U.S., even if they don't have state-issued licenses or if their state-issued licenses have been suspended or revoked;
    can be used to avoid points or fines affecting state-issued drivers' licenses; and
    can be used as photo ID in the U.S.
    FTC officials say all these claims are false. In fact, if you're a U.S. resident, and you're caught using an IDP in place of your state-issued driver's license, the consequences can be severe. You could be charged with driving without a license or driving with a suspended or revoked license. If you can't produce proof of your identity (for example, a valid driver's license, a state-issued identification card, valid immigration documents, or a passport), the officer can assume that you're trying to withhold your identity and arrest you.

    For More Information
    To learn about driver's license requirements in your state, contact your local department of motor vehicles. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the number, or visit the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators at www.aamva.org.

    If you plan to drive overseas, contact your local AAA office or the AATA for more information about acquiring a legitimate IDP.

    AAA - Check the White Pages of your telephone directory or visit www.aaa.com

    AATA - Call: 650-294-7000 (M-F, 8:30-5:00 Pacific Time); fax: 650-294-7040; email: [email protected];
    or visit www.nationalautoclub.com

    If you've been scammed by a seller of bogus IDLs or IDPs, report it to the FTC.

    The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

    January 2003
    Last edited by scotsmen; 08-20-2008, 08:10 AM.
    The comments made herein are those solely of this writer and in no way reflect the opinions of any LE agency, other person or entity.

    Comment


    • #3
      As scotsmen says, seen quite a few of these Internation Driving Permits and they are simply a translation into another language. Not worth the paper they are written on.

      Would not be accepting them without the original driving licence aswell, at least with most European licences they look pretty much the same and we have translation books at the police station and you can drive in any european country until your licence expires on any other european licence.

      Comment


      • #4
        In NC any valid foreign driver's license is valid, provided that person is not required to have a NC driver's license. In short a Mexican citizen on vacation in NC is perfectly fine to drive on his valid Mexican license. The illegal alien who has been living in NC long enough that he is required to have a NC license must have the NC license. The international driver's permir, as previously mentioned, is merely a translation of one's home license into several foreign languages. The international driver's license is a scam sold to unwitting tourists. The international driver's license is not issued by a government, and is worthless. The IDP is only valid if presented with a foreign driver's license. Even then, it is merely a translation, not an actual driver's license.

        As far as what foreign licenses are valid, you really need to check the appropriate code. In NC we are very generous with foreign visitors, but I haave seen posts on here that not all states are as generous.

        I have never been asked for an IDP by a foreign police officer, rental car, or insurance agent. I take that back, I was shaken down in one country once for not having one even though the law did not require one.

        Comment


        • #5
          All I can really say is thanks for the info!
          "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."

          - Frederick Douglass

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MrHappy View Post
            As scotsmen says, seen quite a few of these Internation Driving Permits and they are simply a translation into another language. Not worth the paper they are written on.
            Like Mr Happy says, they're entirely worthless documents which are obtained merely to bamboozle local law enforcement. I regard anything that purports to be an "international driving licence" as having the same weight as someone presenting me with a beer mat with the words "I am allowed to drive in your country" written on the back in crayon.
            I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

            Comment


            • #7
              Where I work you may show me your IDL or IDP( a translation of your DL)...but you MUST show me your hometown DL because that is all that counts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dudley DoRight View Post
                Where I work you may show me your IDL or IDP( a translation of your DL)...but you MUST show me your hometown DL because that is all that counts.
                + 1 down under!
                If at first you don't succeed, remove all evidence of your attempt.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Soleil_nuage, upto the car rental agencies what licences they accept. But would imagine that you will be ok, a good amount of europeans can read and speak english (including me) so would'nt have thought you would have a problem - but probably best just to double check with them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Soleil_nuage
                    Does this mean that if I travel to Europe, for example, that I should just bring my Virginia driver's license and not even bother with the IDP? Will European police and rental car companies just accept the Virginia driver's license by itself without an IDP?
                    As that wise man MrHappy says, best to check. That said, I've never had the slightest problem renting a car in the US on a UK DL - even in the days when the UK driving licence was just a big piece of paper without a photograph of the holder. As for a Virgina DL, I would, as an officer, prefer to be presented with that because I can, albeit not easily, get in touch with the issuing body if I need to check something out.
                    I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      in my neck of the woods,its usually the euros and the brits who actually pull those things out- along with their passports and their nations drivers licenses.but hey, this is CALIFORNIA- nobody has a valid drivers' license anyway, so why bother asking when you know you'ree going to have to take the car .....
                      "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How it is in Germany:

                        To be honest, i don´t know how any of the various US driver licences looks like. An IDL would help me to know what kind of vehicle one is allowed to drive. But as some of you have already mentioned, only the original document does count.

                        IDL´s are issued by the district office here.

                        Andy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I live in Texas and if I wanted to go to over seas or down under would I have to get a new DL or would my Texas DL be good enough?
                          My life is in GOD’s hands, and he hasn’t finished with me yet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Your Texas DL is good enough for most of Europe.

                            I have no idea about Australia, but you will probably have problems in Russia, and surrounding countries. They want you to have an IDL.

                            Just consider the IDL not as an additional DL, but as a translation.

                            For example, i have a licence to drive trucks up to 40 tons of weight. In my old German DL i have a stamp on the form field "Class 2", next to a brief german description wich says nothing about the 40 tons. Just some officialese about axes and things like that.

                            Don´t know if any texan cop would know that i´m actually allowed to drive a truck through Texas, because he can´t read my driving license. I could spend a cozy night in a cell, or i would better have an IDL with me, where he could read it in English

                            - Andy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              if the vehicle is registered to the driver and he has a tag look at the issue date, more than likely its been more than 60 days. my court wont honor it if its not presented with a visa,greencard,passport (STAMPED) or work permit. they have to have something to prove they are here legally. the IDL may have been good at one time but that was many moons ago
                              In god i trust everyone else gets run on NCIC

                              Comment

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