tempted by ads claiming you can use an international driver's
license (IDL) or an international driving permit (IDP) in place
of your state-issued driver's license, it's a dead end, says the
Federal Trade Commission.
documents are being marketed to drivers with too many points on
their driver's licenses or licenses that have been suspended or
revoked. Ads and offers for fake IDLs and IDPs are showing up
on Web sites and as spam e-mail. They also are sold "on the
street" and through storefront operations. The price for
one of these fake documents can range from $65 to $350.
an IDP is a real document when issued by the proper authorities,
it is not a legal alternative to your state-issued license. If
you are stopped by a law-enforcement officer and present an IDL
or an IDP as proof of your identity and authorization to drive,
you could be arrested.
part of a United Nations treaty – which the United States is a
part of – that gives residents of one country the right to drive
in other countries using the driver's license issued by the government
where they live. The treaty created the international driving
permit to make this arrangement easier.
An IDP translates
your state-issued driver’s license – issued by the state where
you live, allowing you to drive anywhere in the United States
and Canada, usable as valid proof of your identity to law-enforcement
officials – into 10 languages so you can show it to officials
in foreign countries to help them interpret your driver’s license.
a U.S. resident, an IDP is useless within the United States. IDPs
are not intended to replace state-issued driver's licenses and
should be used only as a supplement to a valid license when traveling
in a foreign country. In addition, IDPs are not proof of identity.
Department of State has authorized only two organizations to issue
IDPs to U.S. residents. The organizations, the American Automobile
Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance
(AATA), are permitted to sell IDPs only to people who are at least
18 years old and only to those who have a valid driver's license
issued by a U.S. state or territory. The AAA and the AATA charge
$10 for each IDP.
falsely claim their documents authorize consumers to drive legally
in the United States, even if they don't have state-issued licenses
or if their state-issued licenses have been suspended or revoked.
They also claim the documents can be used to avoid points or fines
affecting state-issued drivers’ licenses and can be used as photo
ID in the United States.
say all these claims are false. In fact, if you’re a U.S. resident
and you're caught using an IDP in place of your state-issued driver’s
license, the consequences can be severe.
be charged with driving without a license or driving with a suspended
or revoked license. If you can’t produce proof of your identity
– for example, a valid driver’s license, a state-issued identification
card, valid immigration documents or a passport – the officer
can assume you’re trying to withhold your identity and arrest
been scammed by a seller of bogus IDLs or IDPs, report it to the
FTC by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or file a complaint
online at www.ftc.gov.