Traffic Violation:

Drivers Licenses in Foreign Countries

There are a number of countries that have signed an international agreement saying that they will acknowledge the valid licenses of foreign drivers; the United States is one of these. Nevertheless, it is advisable to contact the consulate or embassy in any country to which you plan on traveling to ensure that your license is valid and acceptable. To find the number, use the white pages of your telephone book or visit http://travel.state.gov, the site of the US State Department.

An additional safety measure that may be helpful is the “International Driver’s Permit” (IDP), which is provided by AAA, the America Automobile Association. It is required in many countries, but not because it is a valid and acceptable license. The IDP is honored by more than 150 foreign countries. One reason the permit is required is that it contains the information from your American license translated in ten languages. While it may not meet a country’s conditions for a valid license, it can be very helpful.

Lastly, if you are planning an extended sojourn in a foreign locale, you should contact the consular office to see if you will need to apply for a license in that country. Countries vary in the way they treat long visits. 

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