Published on February 14th, 2013 | by Jordan

Florida now Requires International Driving Permits

UPDATE: While enforcement of this new law in Florida may not take place at least for now, we continue to recommend for those Canadians travelling to Florida in the next few days, to consider obtaining an IDP. For those who will not be travelling for some days, and those already in Florida, we advise to wait for further developments.CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) is offering a full refund to travellers who purchased an International Driving Permit (IDP) and passport photos on Wednesday February 13 or Thursday February 14, 2013.

Customers who bought an IDP and passport photos at a CAA South Central Ontario location will have until Friday March 15, 2013 to obtain a refund. Customers must bring back the IDP issued and the original receipt to any CAA SCO store. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused. We understand the frustration and confusion among travellers and are offering a 30 day period to obtain a full refund.

UPDATE 2: Florida politician apologizes and offers explanation for IDP mixup.

UPDATE 3: Florida officials will begin the process of amending legislation that will eliminate the International Driving Permit (IDP) requirement for Canadian drivers.

UPDATE 4: The law has been repealed!

CAA urges Florida lawmakers to move the amendments through quickly to remove uncertainty for Canadians.

In the meantime, the law remains on the books and Canadians travelling to Florida should consider obtaining an IDP. Drivers should also check with their insurance company and any car rental company about their IDP policy prior to leaving for Florida.

Over the last 24 hours, various divisions of CAA South Central Ontario and the other CAA clubs in Canada were advised of a change to driving laws in Florida that impact all international drivers in the state.  As of January 1, 2013, any non-residents of the United States are required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with a valid driver’s license in order to legally drive in Florida.  The laws apply to driving any vehicle, including any rentals.

CAA will be requesting that Florida officials amend the law to exclude Canadians from this requirement. Millions of Canadians have driven in Florida for decades without incidents related to the lack of an international driving permit.

In the meantime, however, CAA believes that given the law, Canadians planning on driving in Florida should consider acquiring an International Driver’s Permit.

What is an International Driving Permit (IDP)?

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a document that translates your existing driver license information into ten languages. The permit is valid for up to one year from the date of issuance and must be accompanied by a valid driver license at all times. The IDP is issued in accordance with the 1949 United Nations Convention in International Road Traffic.

CAA is the only organization in Canada authorized to issue an International Driving Permit.  Similarly, AAA is the only organization authorized in the US to issue the permits. Applications can either be submitted in person at, or mailed in to, your local CAA Store. An IDP payment of $25 must accompany each application.

What is the impact of the changes on Canadian drivers?

The IDP requirements are now law in Florida, and Canadians should consider acquiring an IDP before departing for Florida.  Since the law took effect on January 1, there are a number of Canadians who spend the winter months in Florida and are currently without an IDP.

With IDPs being issued from the resident’s country of origin, those already travelling in the US will not be able to acquire a permit from AAA locations in Florida.  Rather, they must print and mail the form along with all the requirements to CAA for it to be processed and returned to the applicant.

Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP)

Drivers who are aged 18 years and older and hold a valid Canadian provincial driver’s license can apply for an IDP.  Applicants must also have two passport-sized photos, a completed and signed IDP application form that can be downloaded from the CAA website or available at CAA retail locations.

Applicants have the ability to receive an IDP in CAA Stores, or mail the application to CAA, and it will be processed and issued.

Click here to learn more about obtaining an IDP > IDP International Driving Permit

What CAA is doing to help

CAA National will continue to pursue this issue with representatives in the State of Florida and are working diligently to bring Canadians the latest on these developments. Follow CAASCO on Twitter and Facebook for updates as we receive them.

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