An International Driving Permit (IDP) allows an individual to drive a private motor vehicle in another nation when accompanied by a valid license from their home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard passport and is essentially a multiple language translation of one's own existing driver's license, complete with photograph and vital statistics. It is not a license to operate a motor vehicle on its own. Within the European Union, an EU-format license of one member state is recognised in all other member states without the need for an IDP.
Please note, that in the European Union its the law (since Jan 01, 1999) that all Non-European customers NEED an International Drivers License (IDL) in addition to their local drivers license. You can get your IDP easy at your local Automobile Club (e.g. AAA). But please note when you arrive only with the IDL then you will NEVER get a car!
An International Drivers License (IDL) or an International Drivers Document (IDD) is either an incorrect colloquial name for the official International Driving Permit (IDP), or is a seemingly official document that has no legal validity that plays upon confusion with the actual document.
The concept that there is an "International Drivers License", separate from the ordinary driver's license, is false. A document called that is usually a scam, misleading the driver into thinking that he or she is purchasing official documents accepted internationally. The only internationally accepted documentation is the International Driving Permit combined with the standard valid driver's license from the driver's country of residence. The IDP is a multiple language translation of the existing driver's license, and is not a license to operate a motor vehicle by itself.
An IDP is valid for only one year from the date of issue. A new application must be completed if another IDP is required.
The United States Department of State authorizes the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) as the only entities in the United States to issue IDPs. The AATA offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club (NAC).