I have a valid US driver's license (from my resident state) and will be driving in England, Scotland and Wales. Is an International Driving Permit required? Thanks!
Yes, it is. AAA sells them for $15. Bring a passport standard photo and you walk out with your IDP after five to ten minutes.
I have driven in these places many times and never had the IDP. I know it is required in Italy and probably other countries in which English is not the native language but not required in GB. If you feel you need it, go to AAA and for about $15.00 can get one but not necessary.
Even though it is not legally mandated I would get it. Unlike your driver's license, an IDP clearly states what kind of vehicles you are licensed to drive.
Esther, The primary purpose of an IDP is to translate the terms of your home D.L. into several different languages, in order to assist Police in other countries who may not speak (or read) English. These are compulsory in Italy, Greece and other countries. While this wouldn't appear to be necessary in England as we presumably speak the same language, several posters here on the HelpLine have indicated that rental agencies have told them the IDP was compulsory. For that reason, it would be a good idea to take an IDP so that you're prepared if they DO ask for it. Note that an IDP must be used in conjunction with your home D.L., so you'll have to pack that along as well. In my own experience, I've never been asked for an IDP when renting a car in England, but I always carry one anyway. Happy travels!
Having just obtained my international drivers license from AAA, the cost for the license is $15.00 and then another $10 for the 2 passport pictures.
To skip paying the $10 at either AAA or Walgreens, etc, for your passport photos, my advice is to have someone take a photo of you against a white background, crop it and size it up so that it prints 2x2 on a 4x6 photo (make sure your head is the correct size and in accordance with other regulations) and then make several prints of that photo. Those prints are around $.30 so you pay $2.40 for eight, instead of $40!
You do not need an IDP in the UK. The purpose of the IDP is to translate your state's drivers license into a variety of languages so police can interpret your license information. Obviously, since the mother tongue for both nations is English, no translation is necessary for a US citizen driving in the UK.
If you're an "AAA Plus" member, the photos are free. (Not the IDP, just the photos.)
In IDP is not required where you are driving. But it is a very good idea to have one. There are 2 reasons of an IDP: one as others have mentioned is to translate your legal drivers license. The other, often not mentioned, is that the IDP serves as an authentification to foreign police, rental agents or others that your state license is valid. Some rental agents will ask for one because they may not be able to determine the validity of your license (which has happened to me in England). So get one!
Tom, My husband and I are AAA Plus members and we were both charged the $10 for photos at two different offices.
@ Karen: I lifted this quote from the AAA website: <<All travelers who wish to obtain a U.S. Passport must provide a regulation-sized photograph at time of application. The photo must be in color and measure exactly 2 inches by 2 inches. As a convenience, most full-service AAA Branch locations will provide you with a set of passport photos for a nominal charge: AAA Basic Member: $8 per set of two AAA Plus Member: First two sets are free to you and each of your minor children (age 15 and under)
AAA Premier RV Member: All sets are free to you and each of your minor children (age 15 and under) Nonmember: $12 per set of two>> I guess your AAA office's 'out' would be that AAA only says "most" branch locations. I have AAA Plus and I've never been charged for passport or IDP photos. Edit: maybe the above only applies in the Chicago area?
Thanks, everyone. Seems, though, the topic got off whether the International Driving Permit is required (and my sense is that it is NOT) and onto how to obtain one cheaply.