International Driver Permit


It’s possible to get a driver’s license that will allow you to drive legally almost anywhere, at least in participating countries that the U.N. has strong-armed into getting with the plan. If I may, I’ll share a true story with you. I used to know this guy that went by the moniker of Goofy.

That wasn’t his real name of course, but Goofy was a tax protester. He had a driver’s license, and plates from some island in the Bahamas that I think had one palm tree and a place to buy rum and coconut. My kind of place. Anyway, it seemed to work for him, when he got pulled over the cops were befuddled. I suspect Goofy’s license was printed off of his ancient printer. You remember those that went ‘eeek, eeek, eeek’ when they were printing? Yeah, well if you want a more or less legal international driving permit, here’s the scoop.

Now, as the official page says right up front, your U.S. driver’s license will be laughed at in any other country. It’s just their way of getting a little dig in on us because, after all, they ain’t us, and they’re jealous.

Now, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is a beautiful thing. It, and I quote from the site, “grants someone the privilege of driving a motor vehicle legally while abroad”. It does not replace your government-issued driver’s license.

Did you catch that little disclaimer? But really, it’s pretty cool. Somehow they put your pertinent information in ten different languages (doesn’t say which ones but I’m guessing English and maybe some dialect from Togo.) It will have the following relevant information on it:

  • Your Picture
  • Your full name
  • Your driving information

The last little bit means if you have a parking ticket in New York you can bet your bottom bippy some greasy little pervert in Greece will try to collect.

Other than that, it’s not hard to get an International Driving Permit. Just show up at your nearest .gov office, with a couple of pictures that kinda look like you, pay the appropriate fees (of course), and sooner or later they’ll give you your new license. Then I’d suggest a trip to Zimbabwe just to see how well it works.

But if you’re going to London or Paris, it will probably be just fine. They’re used to seeing IDPs, and you shouldn’t have any problems. If you have to drive overseas on a regular basis, it’s worth getting one. Even if you don’t need one on a regular basis, it’s still a good idea to have one. Hey, think about how people will be impressed when you pull it out at parties.