International Translation of Driver’s License Details

Rapid Translate Team

May 17, 2024 | 6 min read

When traveling to other countries, you may need to use your driver’s license, primarily when driving. But of course, authorities in that country may not recognize your license, especially if it’s in another language. In this case, an international translation of a driver’s license suffices. But what exactly is this document, and how can you obtain it?

An international driver’s license translation is an officially translated version of a government-issued license, valid for use in a foreign country. Usually, this document does not stand alone. Instead, it only accompanies your original home-issued license.

Foreign governmental agencies can understand your original license from your home country. So, this guide provides an in-depth discussion on how to obtain and use this document.

When Do You Need a Translation of Your Driver’s License?

When people travel to foreign countries, they often need several different supporting documents depending on their projected activities. In the same way, concerns often exist about the need for an international translation of a foreign driver’s license.

You’ll need a certified translation for your driver’s license to rent and drive vehicles in that country. Of course, you’ll also need this translation when their official language differs from your home country’s.

When You’re To Drive in That Country

You’ll need an international driving permit to drive in a foreign country. In most cases, a translation of your original driver’s license also serves as a valid permit. The translated document is handy if you need help to quickly procure a domestic driving permit in that foreign country. Again, the translation document only serves as an auxiliary to your original license, which you should also bring along.

The document usually only provides pointers for officials to verify and understand your valid driver’s license from home. Also, you may need a certified translation to rent a vehicle. Thus, you must also inquire whether getting a domestic driving permit is required. Of course, you’ll not want to breach laws.

Even when you aren’t going to drive in a foreign country, carrying your international driver’s license is advisable. For one, it serves as an excellent identification document and provides details of your nationality. Thus, it could always come in handy.

If Your Original License Is in Another Language

Consider getting a translation if your original country-issued license is in a language other than the foreign country’s official language. For example, if your original license is in English, you’ll need a translated copy when traveling to Portuguese-speaking countries. This makes the document more accessible since the officials need to understand it.

Usually, the travel agencies or the translation company that provides the translation certifies the document. Nonetheless, this certification does provide legal privileges on its own. Instead, it offers pointers. But based on preferences and requirements, you can also opt for a local permit from the immigration office.

A photograph of a person writing into paper documents on a table.

How Can You Get an International Translation of Driver’s License?

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While you may understand the need for an international certificate translation of a driver’s license, how do you obtain it? Many people are at a crossroads regarding how to get their hands on this document. Since a driver’s license is a legal document, individuals cannot translate it themselves. Instead, they must obtain these documents from certified agencies that follow the specifications of important governmental agencies and departments. 

So, here are ways of getting the translated document:

Obtaining Translated Licenses From the American Automobile Association

The first option for obtaining an International driving license is a relevant government-approved body like the American Automobile Association (AAA). Besides the AAA, the government had previously permitted the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) to issue these licenses. However, the AATA recently announced a halt in the issuance of licenses. So, the AAA provides translations of driver’s licenses for meager fees within short time windows.

There are two ways of obtaining a translated copy of your driver’s license from the American Automobile Association. First, you can apply for the license at AAA’s physical offices. You must download and fill out the international driver’s license application form to do that. Then, you must bring the form alongside other documents to any of their offices.

The documents to carry along include:

  1. Two authentic passport photographs.
  2. A valid driver’s license.
  3. A fee of $20.

If you cannot visit their office, you can also apply for the translation of your driver’s license by mail. Again, you must identify the nearest AAA office near you, enclose your needed documents, and mail them to them.

The documents to send include:

  1. Your filled-out application form.
  2. Two authentic passport photographs with your signature on the back of each.
  3. The $20 permit fee.
  4. Copies of both sides of your driver’s license.
  5. You could also add the charge for the return mail service for either USPS or FedEx.

The Association also allows people to apply for the international translation of their driver’s license when traveling. In this case, they will mail their application to AAA’s national office in Heathrow, Florida. This process takes up to seven weeks, with the agency using FedEx for the return mail. This translated license is usually usable in about 150 countries.

Getting Translated Driver’s Licenses From Translation Companies and Travel Agencies

Several travel agencies and translation companies also offer international driver’s license translations for individuals. Generally, these agencies and companies translate immigration, business, and personal documents. Thus, they also offer translations for these documents and other documents relevant to travel. 

Translation companies like Rapid Translate provide certified translations of driver’s licenses, which are valid internationally. These certified translations of licenses guarantee that the document has met the prerequisites for use as a legally-acceptable copy. The company, which employs professional human translators, also offers notarization to indicate the document’s accuracy and authenticity.

The certification of these documents also indicates that they’ve met the requirements of relevant authorities. Regarding a driver’s license, the certification shows that the translated document meets the US Department of State’s regulations. In the case of Rapid Translate, the certification of a translated driver’s license carries:

  1. A statement describing the translator’s pedigree and qualifications.
  2. Another paper states the document’s accuracy and completeness.
  3. An identification indicating that the document is a driver’s license and a mention of the languages involved.

Of course, an individual who obtains an international translation of a driver’s license must also keep the original copy. Many countries require that foreigners carry their original country-issued licenses with them and the translated copies. Overall, governmental bodies and private agencies like Rapid Translate are indispensable in providing this document.

Rapid Translate helps people take their global communication capabilities to entirely new levels. This service comes in handy when considering expanding your business, moving abroad, connecting with others, or studying elsewhere. It allows people to break language barriers and broaden their worlds. Order now and experience it for yourself.

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