Taking a road trip soon? Get your IDP
Whether you’re crossing the German border for a weekend in Strasbourg, France; heading to mainland Europe from England via the chunnel; or saying “Ciao!” to Aviano for a ski trip in Austria, you need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
What is an IDP?
An IDP is not a license but a translation of your license for international travel that is accepted in as many as 150 countries worldwide. It is a supplemental permit that should always be carried with your stateside and overseas military-issued licenses. The IDP is not accepted in the U.S. or in the European country where you are stationed; however, it is necessary to have the IDP when driving your personal vehicle or a rental in other European countries.
How do I get one?
The American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATP) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) are authorized to issue IDPs, valid for one year at a time. To apply, you’ll need to complete an application: http://aataidp.com or www.aaa.com/vacation/idpapplc.html.
Drop the application in the mail, along with colored copies of the front and back of your valid U.S. driver’s license (not your overseas military-issued license), two original passport photos and a check or money order. The permit fee is $20, and you will need to add the cost for mailing the permit back to you. Fee amounts and mailing information are available at www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html and http://aataidp.com/wp-content/uploads/international_driving_permit_AATA-100116-1.pdf. Be sure to read instructions for APO addresses. You can expect to receive your license in 4 to 6 weeks.
Alternatively, if you are stationed in Germany, you can get an IDP (Internationaler Führerschein) on the economy. Obtain the necessary form at your installation Driver Testing Center. Take the signed form, two passport photos (make sure you are not smiling or wearing glasses), 20 euros, your ID and U.S. Forces Certificate of Licensure (USAREUR) to the issuing authority for your area (the testing center will have this information). Pay close attention to the German facility’s opening hours, and call to verify before showing up. This IDP is valid for two to three years.