An International Driving Permit (IDP) allows an individual to drive a private motor vehicle in another nation when accompanied by a valid license from their home country. The document is slightly larger than a standard passport and is essentially a multiple language translation of one's own existing driver's license, complete with photograph and vital statistics. It is not a license to operate a motor vehicle on its own.
The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic was not ratified by all signatory parties. Notable cases of countries that refused or delayed ratification include Chile, Republic of China (Taiwan), Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Holy See, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
The main regulation about driving licence is in Annexe 6 (domestic driving permit) and 7 (international driving permit).
Following article 41:
There is a European Agreement supplementing the Convention on Road Traffic (1968), which was concluded in Geneva, on 1971-05-01.
The Geneva Convention on Road Traffic is accepted in a majority of the nations; major non-signatory countries include Germany, which did not have a government yet at that time. The main regulation about international driving licence is in Annexe 9. Switzerland signed but did not ratify the Convention.
There is a European Agreement supplementing the 1949 Convention on road traffic and the 1949 Protocol on road signs and signals, concluded in Geneva, on 1950-09-16.
Both 1949 and 1926 Conventions are authorised for issue to people over the age of 18 holding valid UK driver's licenses.
According to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, an IDP remains valid for one year from the date of issue. However, according to the Vienna Convention, an IDP remains valid for three years from the date of issue, or until the expiration date of national driving permit, whichever is earlier. An IDP is not valid for driving in the country where it was issued.
Following is a list of countries that recognize the International Driving Permit
In the United States, the Department of State has authorized two private entities, the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance's National Automobile Club as the only entities in the United States to issue IDPs. They advise against purchasing IDPs from unauthorized outlets, as these are sometimes fraudulent.
The United Nations does not issue International Driving Permits (sometimes called International Driving Documents by fraudulent outlets). The depiction of the UN emblem or the name "United Nations" is not required nor authorized by either the 1949 or 1968 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic.