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Difference between Int driving license and Int driving permit

MikeG

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I emailed Virginia DMV in the states about using my foreign drivers license and I was told “
You must have an international driver's license and your foreign driver's license in order to operate a vehicle in this country.“
Ignoring the fact that this public servant speaks for the whole United States and this contradicts advice given by other states in writing, I’ve found that I can get two types of international driving permit/license:

1. IDP through NRMA for $48
2. IDL through various online sources $22-24

the Americans are asking for an IDL so does this mean they want the $22-24 version???

Mike
 

AisleSeat

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The terms "permit" and licence" here are used to describe the same thing. The correct term is "permit" and you have to get it from a reputable source, ie. NRMA, RACV etc. Don't get it from some dodgy online site.

You can get one for the USA if you want but as your Australian licence is in English, its not compulsory.
 

Spongbob

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Your "foreign driver's license" would be your Australian state or territory issued DL.
 

MikeG

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So are you guys speaking from experience, having rented a car in Washington DC?
 

MikeG

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Your "foreign driver's license" would be your Australian state or territory issued DL.
Yep, I'm aware of that - The question is more around the difference between an International Drivers License and International Drivers Permit, as can be purchased online.

I think the ACT Government website puts it nicely (to answer my own question)


An International Driving Permit (IDP) or International Drivers Licence is a United Nations sanctioned document that translates your driving classification into nine different languages and is recognised in over 150 countries. An international drivers licence allows you to drive overseas without further tests or applications, provided your Australian driver's licence is still valid.
Only the NRMA and associated Members of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) are authorised to issue international drivers licences. You can obtain one by visiting your local NRMA office where it can be issued over the counter whilst you wait or complete the International Driving Permit application form available on the NRMA website and post it to NRMA.
For more information, including eligibility and application requirements, visit the NRMA website.
I'm still a little confused about whether I'll need an IDP, given I'll be driving in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York State, Illinois, Alabama, Louisiana and California.

I have seen documentation or received advice by email from the relevant DMV in each state saying a IDP is not required, except for Virginia STate which say one is required. I'll contact my car rental company in DC and see what they say...
 

Spongbob

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Reading the posts in the "International Driving Permits/Licences" thread of the Travel News section of AFF would help you.
 

MikeG

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The car rental Policy states that foreign licenses are fine if in English.
 

Mattg

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The International Driving Permit is only $42 from the NRMA and is valid for 1 year. If in doubt, I'd get one just in case.
 

Hvr

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I've rented cars in LA and Denver using only my Australian licence. No request for an IDP.

Same in the UK.

Only time I've needed an IDP was in Japan.
 

ozjuice

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I've driven in the USA numerous times on my Aus Licence but I did get a IDL when going to Italy in case of any issues. It's very simple to get one.
 

MikeG

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I've rented cars in LA and Denver using only my Australian licence. No request for an IDP.

Same in the UK.

Only time I've needed an IDP was in Japan.
This question was about Virginia. The USA is a federation of states that usually don’t have the same laws and state troopers are completely independent.
If anyone has any advice about driving in Virginia and whether or not police require IDPs please let me know.

Ive driven in the UK, Germany, Italy, California, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and New Jersey but then I’ve never been pulled over by police... I’ve hired cars in LA, Johnson City TN and Philadelphia and never been asked for an IDP. But I’d expect that as those states don’t need one.
 

ajd

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The question is more around the difference between an International Drivers License and International Drivers Permit, as can be purchased online.
There is no legitimate document that is actually called an "International Driver's Licence" - it's a common term that is most commonly inadvertently used when they mean to talk about an IDP, and occasionally used by scammers that like to sell documents that look kind of like an IDP but are legally meaningless.

There is only one legitimate vendor of IDPs in Australia, and that's the AAA through its state and territory affiliates.
 

Dr Ralph

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So are you guys speaking from experience, having rented a car in Washington DC?
I have. Even been pulled over for speeding.

No need for an international licence. Your Australian licence is sufficient.

The only qualification I'd add is that this was around 8 years ago.
 

Forg

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If there is any sort of documentation that says you need an IDL/IDP for any of these rental mobs, it’s worth the ~$20 to get one.

Really the intention is that the permit says “this person has a valid licence in an overseas country” in a billionty different languages. That’s about all it does. I needed it in Belgium last year, where people have better English than I do.
 
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Coincidentally, we’ve just booked a car through Autoeurope for Florida and received this message in our confirmation tonight. We will have one for the first part of our trip in Spain in any case.
International Drivers License: Mandatory in addition to home license, if home license is not in Roman Alphabet.
 

JohnM

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I've rented a car in West Virginia and was not asked for an IDP (along with many other states in LOTFAP over many years), if that's any help.

I was once pulled over by the cops for speeding in the back blocks of Washington State. Apart from the puzzlement about where Perth was in WA :rolleyes:, there was no call for an IDP on top of my MDL. I just got a caution.

I had a prang near Denver in CO and the cops attended. Not because of injuries but because the other driver was concerned about having collided with someone from outside the US and in a rental car and wanted to be sure of doing the right thing. I was not asked for an IDP when I showed my Aus MDL.
 

MikeG

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Thanks guys - As this trip involved alot of driving in dfferent US statesI might just drop $48 on the IDP just to be on the safe side.

I've seen horror stories of CHP officers requiring a Canadian driver to have a US license (wrongly) and charging him withunlicensed driving, so I guess I'm just a little hesitant in this case. The guy was driving a Lamborghini so that might be part of the equation right there... :)
 

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