International Driver's Permit

Obtaining an International Driver’s Permit

You may drive a car in the United States for one year using an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) and a driver’s license from your home country.

Getting an IDP is the simplest way to be licensed to drive in the United States.

You must get your IDP in your home country before arriving in the United States. The U.S. does not issue IDPs to nonresidents.

What is an International Driver’s Permit?

An IDP is proof that you hold a valid driver’s license in your own country. It also provides a translation into almost a dozen languages so that police and other authorities in other countries can read your license in their own language.

The IDP is a special license authorized by United Nations conventions on road safety. Nearly 180 countries are signatories.

The process for obtaining an IDP varies by the issuing country. Contact the agency that granted your driver’s license, such as the department of transportation or department of state, to ask about the process. Do your research to make sure that the entity you are working with to obtain an IDP is reputable. Verify the source with a government agency, if possible.

The issuing authority will require you to submit two passport-style photos and fill out an official form. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license in your home country. You will not be required to take a driving test, but there is a small fee for the license.

An IDP cannot be postdated, extended, or renewed, and is valid for only one year from the date of issue. Additionally, be sure that your driver’s license will not expire during that time. You must have both an unexpired IDP and an unexpired driver’s license to drive legally.

What do I do when my International Driver’s Permit expires?

You may only drive with your IDP for one year. After that, you will need an Indiana driver’s license. The process to get one takes a long time, so it’s important to start planning now.

Learn how to get an Indiana driver’s license