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Bad news about IDP

I just found out that the international drivers permit is only good for a year. So if you have one tucked away in a drawer like me and figured you could just grab and go, think again:

"The International Driving Permit is valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance. A new IDP must be applied for each year"

Posted by
7205 posts

how would AAA stay in business if it never expired???

Posted by
8293 posts

As well as having to renew my IDP every time I travel to Europe, I also have to renew my Quebec drivers' licence every two years. Is there no end to this scamming?

Posted by
8889 posts

The period of validity is nothing to do with the AAA, URL, PDQ or any other set of initials. What some people fail to realise is that the IDP, like passports, is defined by international treaty, and governments who issue them must obey the treaties they have signed if they want the documents to be recognised by other countries.
The IDP certifies that you have a valid licence. Anything can change in one year, you could loose your licence, so the certification is only valid for one year. Always has been.

A government can subcontract the issue of the IDP to another organisation, and charge what they want, that is not in the treaty.

Posted by
26389 posts

with all due respect to phred - you can't read all the posts all the time - this is news?

Posted by
2008 posts

Well it's news to me, I expected the term of the IDP to match the term of my California license. Which is 5 years (well we have to pay again each year, but the physical license is valid for 5).

It just came as a surprise, since my IDP is packed away at the moment. Passports are good for 10.

And no, I did not use the term scam or any of its variants anywhere in my post. You're projecting.

Posted by
14449 posts

Gee, the "valid until" line on my IDP is right smack in the middle of the front, right under the red permit number.

Posted by
4637 posts

phred, do it as I do. Be a member of AAA, then you pay just 15 bucks, go to Europe in the fall and next year in the spring so your IDP is still valid. Now let's look how much I saved comparing to you. I pay $15 for two Europe trips (for IDP). You pay $40 for the same. 40-15=25. I saved $25.

Posted by
6172 posts

Isn't it actually valid one year, or until the expiration of the current state-issued license in your possession, whichever comes first?

Posted by
3582 posts

On the front, smack dab in the middle, the IDP says, Valid for One Year From: __________. At AAA, they fill in the date. Our AAA does dd mon yyyy, like in Europe. For example 01 Oct 2015.

The length of the validity has nothing to do with when you renew your state driver license or your passport.

As someone else mentioned, if you go back to Europe within that year period, you don't need to get another IDP. In our case, we each got one to begin on 01 Jun 2012 for a trip to France in June, 2012. We went back to the Netherlands and Belgium the following April, 2013. Because our IDPs didn't expire until May 31, 2013, we didn't need to get new ones.

Posted by
1300 posts

Thanks phred, sometimes for holidays it is useful to be reminded to check the validity of the documents.

Surprised at how short the validity of some of the North American driving licences are, it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I had to change mine and it had a validity of only ten years, the previous ones expired the day before your 70th birthday. So had a possible validity of 53 years.

Posted by
4893 posts

No, sorry Ilja, your cost figures don't include $55 dues to belong to AAA for a year. Of course for that you get free maps and guidebooks, so you can make a tidy profit by collecting a whole bunch of them! And, it gets better, you get free towing if you're lucky enough to have a breakdown (your car, that is) on a US road not too far from town. ;-)

When I got my current IDP early this year, months before my planned trip, the AAA lady let me choose the effective date, so I picked one closer to the trip. Our plans changed, so we're going six months later, luckily still within the life of this IDP.

Posted by
1064 posts

You do not have to join AAA to purchase an IDP. I have never joined but I purchase the permit each year for $15.

Posted by
4637 posts

Dick, I don't count AAA membership because I would be a member anyway. Besides I get my money back and then some: Maps, guidebooks, discounts in hotels and many other places. And it is also insurance if your car breaks down. Emergency help is then for free.
Roy, member of AAA pays $15, nonmember $20. They make your picture. If you bring your own one it's somewhat cheaper.

Posted by
7205 posts

"Maps, guidebooks..." seriously? Ever hear of Google or a gps? Emergency help for free - well, after you PAY for the membership it's free for "minimal" help.

Posted by
2246 posts

"Ever hear of Google or a gps? "

I always fail to understand this attitude. If a paper map or guidebook works for someone, who am I to mock them out? I happen to love paper maps, you can actually see where you're going at a glance, and if you bump that paper map it won't wander off to an ad or to a different page you didn't want. A combination of the two technologies is often perfect.

Aaand..in thirty eight years as a AAA member, through teenager to bachelor to married with children, I've used roadside assistance probably fifteen or twenty times, and it never seemed "minimal" at the time. I locked the keys in the car last year, had them back in my hand in forty minutes.

Posted by
4637 posts

GPS is not always reliable. Many times I was saved having a map or road atlas with me.

Posted by
14449 posts

I used AAA guidebooks and maps for road trips all over the west (U.S. and Canada), well over 100,000 miles of them. The maps were great for planning routes, especially the scenic drives. The books were over 90% spot-on for attraction ratings and almost as good for lodgings. I've kept the maps and they've helped my friends here in Israel to plan trips too.

Posted by
1064 posts

IIja, AAA Alabama charges a flat rate of $15 for International Driving Permit, whether you are a member or not, as stated on their website. This may vary by state, however.

Posted by
8959 posts

Something else to consider if deciding to become AAA member. AAA has a long reputation for providing roadside assistance, guidebooks, maps, and discounts for their members. But first and foremost they are a political lobbying organization akin to the NRA, AARP and a lot of other interest groups.
They actively lobby in DC and state capitals against funding for public transit, Amtrak, and sprawl control.
Of course their activities are 100% legal, but I oppose their stance on many issues and will not give them a dime of my money.
Roadside assistance, maps, and discounts can easily be had from other sources.

Posted by
4637 posts

If that's the case I oppose their stance, too and will look at it.

Posted by
12400 posts

I pay my membership dues to AAA. but don't need the IDP. Of course, I use and rely on the maps and guidebooks when needed, rather have them than not.

Posted by
12381 posts

The 'valid from' date is written with a ballpoint pen.

Using a pen of the same color it is very easy to make the 5 in 2015 become 6 in 2016. Then 6 can very easily be transformed into a 8 (as in 2018). The 7 in 2017 can be easily changed in 9 as in 2019. So you really need one every few years when changing the number is too hard.

The only problem I have with my IDP's from years ago is that my picture looks like I'm much younger and had more hair. If they question it, I'll just say I was sick for a while.

Posted by
26389 posts

Doesn't altering a legal document have a nasty name, Roberto?

Posted by
31319 posts

phred,

The period of validity for an IDP has always been a year, AFAIK. Since applicants have to show their home D.L. when applying for an IDP, that provides a check that the home D.L. is also valid.