(43 Posts)
MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 08:07:03

Have just had this information through from Florida Homes and Travel:

Urgent Changes to Licence Requirements for Florida
We have now had definitive clarification from the Deputy Communications Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the situation is clear and quoted directly below:
"Customers that wish to drive in Florida without obtaining a Florida driver license will be required to have an International Driving Permit to accompany their out-of-country license. This applies to any vehicle, including rental vehicles. The International Driving Permit must be in the customer’s name and from their country of residence.

This is the information from the Florida Statutes:

322.04(c)(1)Persons exempt from obtaining driver license-
(c) A nonresident
A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age operating a motor vehicle of the type for which a Class E driver license is required in this state if the nonresident has in his or her immediate possession:
(2) An International Driving Permit issued in his or her name in his or her country of residence and a valid license issued in that country.

When did the law change, and why? January 1, 2013. The purpose of the permit is for the English translation. Obviously, a license issued in the UK is already written in English, so the permit is admittedly a little redundant but that is technically the law at this point.

What will happen to British drivers who drive without an IDP?
Without an IDP, a driver is therefore driving without a valid license and if stopped, law enforcement has the option of
1/ arresting the driver and taking him/her to jail
2/ giving the driver a citation with a mandatory court appearance."

You can apply for an International Driving Permit in person from the Post Office - please follow this link to find your nearest branch that will issue the IDP (not all branches do): The Post Office
The cost from the Post Office is only £5.50, the IDP lasts for 12 months and the start date can be delayed by up to 3 months.


Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 15:12:35

TBH having checked with people who live there and the authorities, they haven't heard anything about this but to check with your travel agent first. But as someone said and internation driving licence is usually for countries where English isn't the language on the Original Licence. As a UK licence is in English this needs to be clarified.

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 15:30:45

Groovee, this information has come from Florida Homes and Travel, an extremely large company who know their stuff when it comes to travel. They have been keeping owners (and their guests) updated on this matter and have just confirmed as set out above. They have already clarified that under the new regulations, a 'normal' english driving licence is not acceptable, you must now have an international one.

Ignore at your peril. For the sake of a few quid, I think its worth complying with the new law.


Thanks I will look into the international driving permit! Which could be fun!

I´m not 100% sure of the time of year yet, but I am bit of a control freak and like to have everything sort of inhand information wise!

DUH wrong thread!

Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 15:52:46

But the actual authorities of FL don't know about it. We have a number of friends who live there who have asked and been looked at with confused looks. Apparently the only so called official source just now is the Orlando Sentinel.

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 15:56:36

Thats really funny as I also have a number of friends in Florida, several of whom work in the travel business and several of them have warned me about it. The authorites DO know about it, as they have confirmed it to the travel company. I'm just passing it on to try to stop people having their holidays ruined. As I said, feel free to ignore..

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 15:57:45

We have now had definitive clarification from the Deputy Communications Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the situation is clear and quoted directly below: is that not good enough for you? hmm

Hulababy Wed 13-Feb-13 17:50:18

We have not been told this by anyone - we fly on Saturday. We are renting a car. Flights booked through Virgin, rental of car through Budget. Latter only booked a fortnight ago.
We obviously have no time at all to sort this licence out. So where does this leave us???

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 18:00:13

hula no idea, bloody awful isn't it, the lack of notice. I wouldn't have known either if it wasn't for being a member of Florida Homes and Travel. My OP is the info I got from them although there was more information in last months newsletter about it but at that time it wasn't clear if that new rule applied to rental cars.
Will try to find newsletter and post again.

How long does it take to get an IDP?

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 18:05:11

Right, newsletter (dated February 2013) says:
From 1st January 2013 the law has changed and non-resident drivers must now be able to produce an International Driving Permit if they are driving under their UK licence at any time

This was thought to be somewhat vague and it was hoped that rental cars were excluded (indeed, when the company contacted their car hire providers most were unaware of this new law). However, it has now apparently been clarified that it DOES include rental cars.

I would imagine as it has not been widely advertised (yet) and bearing in mind your car hire company has not informed you of the requirement to have an international driving permit, you would probably be ok but you just don't know. There are always a number of 'over zealous' police officers who take joy in enforcing new laws no one knows about.

I'd plead ignorance if stopped. I think you are a regular Florida visitor aren't you Hula? You could say that you've never had to have an IDP before. Hopefully you'll be ok.

silverfrog Wed 13-Feb-13 18:09:21

you can get IDPs issued at some POst Offices (appreciate that it's not the most convenient thing for you to be doing so close to flying, Hula, but you might be able to do it?)

link here

Thanks for this, MOS. Will keep it in mind for October, when we are next off.

Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 18:15:09

I stand corrected as Alamo are now recommending this.

Hulababy Wed 13-Feb-13 18:16:38

Dh is going to see if he can sort. But it's such short notice! We go sat morning. I have ofsted in at the moment. Dh is really busy at work. This is now just one extra thig - argh!!!

Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 18:16:50

AA and RAC are also selling them but charging postage.

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 18:20:00

Sorry to have worried you Hula, I'm hoping they won't enforce strictly in the early days so you might be ok.

Anyone know how long it takes to get a IDP?

silverfrog Wed 13-Feb-13 18:23:15

you can get one in person at some POst Offices, MOS, and at AA port shops (Dover, Eurotunnel).

Otherwise by post - which is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' question grin. there are various options for fast tracking/sending by express delivery, but it would still be a 3 day turnaround at best, I reckon (one day to post by next day delivery, one day to process/send back by next day delivery, last day to receive), and that would be lucky, imo. more like 4 days in reality.

MOSagain Wed 13-Feb-13 19:09:44

Thanks silverfrog luckily we are not going until much later in the year so we've got plenty of time but I know a lot of people will be going in the next few weeks who will have to rush to get one.

Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 19:11:47

Our nearest PO is 40 minutes away. Don't need to sort until May but still a PITA to look everything out.

Hulababy Wed 13-Feb-13 19:24:10

Can't believe how little this has been publicised.
I still can't find anything on Budget website about it My sister says Virgin have a travel update thing on the website but as I booked it a few months ago now I haven't had this brought to my attention at all through them either.

I am assuming it will need to be DH who has to go and get this as he is the named driver?

Hulababy Wed 13-Feb-13 19:24:34

No few weeks here - we go in 3 days!!!

Sorry to ask but can someone confirm if you can go to the post office, with the revelent documentation and your driving licence, photos etc and fill and form in and Leave WITH an international driving permit?


Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 19:45:10

You leave the PO with the licence in your hand.

ggirl Wed 13-Feb-13 19:53:37

So in your OP the statement says:

322.04(c)(1)Persons exempt from obtaining driver license-
(c) A nonresident
A nonresident who is at least 16 years of age operating a motor vehicle of the type for which a Class E driver license is required in this state if the nonresident has in his or her immediate possession:

is a visitor not a non resident then and therefore exempt?

or am I being thick?

Information from the Automobile Association (AA) website:-

USA (Florida) compulsory IDP – 1 January 2013

A law introduced in Florida, USA, on 1 January 2013 requires all persons who hold a licence issued outside of the US to carry an International Driving Permit along with their national driving licence.

Without an IDP, a driver is therefore driving without a valid licence. If stopped, law enforcement has the options of:
Arresting the driver and taking them to jail
Or giving the driver a citation with a mandatory court appearance


Thanks that's perfect.

Groovee Wed 13-Feb-13 20:30:47

Its all bloody confusing as you could read it either way. No wonder it's being debated all over and even "professionals" don't know the true answer. But we are 6 weeks down the line from it being introduced and it's been poorly advertised. What about people who don't use forums?

sppp Wed 13-Feb-13 21:38:12

I'm travelling on Friday. Spoke to Virgin today who told me it wasn't a problem, when I pushed them on it to put that in writing they phoned me back to say that Alamo would be happy to rent us the car without it but there would be an issue if we had an accident.

DH going to Post Office tomorrow with relevant docs.

Thanks, OP, for raising this. It's a faff but better safe than sorry.

MOSagain Thu 14-Feb-13 08:00:14

ggirl I think it is quite clear.
As I've said, I received this warning from a travel club I'm a member of. They had been seeking clarification of this new law to try to determine whether it did include rental cars. It was initially thought/hoped it did not.
However, clearly it does, hence me copying and pasting the information that came through from them as soon as I received it.

I had hoped it would help people who are travelling to Florida soon. Bearing in mind half term is in a few days, I guessed there might be people travelling then and wanted to warn them. I'm sorry if you are confused.

Groovee I know, its complete bollocks isn't it, disgraceful. Call me cynical but I can't help but think its a money making scam. Think how many tourists arrive on each flight into Orlando and happily pick up their car and drive away. A particularly evil highway patrol man parked up on the 528/I4 would be having a great day!

ssp I know, it is a faff but you know what they can be like in America, all black and white, no grey area wink. Bloody appalling of car hire company. Oh, thats ok, you'll be ok if no accident. No pressure there!

Atilla thanks for clearer explanation. Mine came straight from the travel company who got it straight from the Deputy Communications Director. Legal statutes are never particularly clear, even for lawyers grin

hula hope you sort it out. As your DH is the driver he will have to do it

kitsilano Thu 14-Feb-13 09:55:02

Thanks for this warning. We go to Florida most years and I wasn't aware of this. Annoyingly it seems the IDP is only valid for a year so it will need to be obtain EVERY time we go!

MOSagain Thu 14-Feb-13 10:13:07

I know kitsilano its bloody annoying. We go every year as own a house there and we only found out as members of a club for owners. It is a pain as the licence is only valid for a year which is ridiculous, just one more thing to do every year. I can't believe how little publicity there has been. I recall a few years ago when there were changes with regards to driving in france (I think having to have reflective jacket, triangle etc) there were warnings for months before hand.

shoesforever Thu 14-Feb-13 13:01:39

Thank you MOSagain we go to Florida this July which my DH only booked on Monday with Virgin and they didn't mention this requirement despite booking our hire car with them.

Hulababy Thu 14-Feb-13 14:46:33

Dh got one this lunchtime. Phew!

MOSagain Thu 14-Feb-13 15:18:51

yay, so glad. Hope you can relax a bit now and have a great holiday

Groovee Thu 14-Feb-13 15:35:38

Phew Hula, enjoy yourself x

Hulababy Thu 14-Feb-13 16:12:25

Once tonight is over I can relax and get ready! Currently sat awaiting ofsted verdict!!!

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Thu 14-Feb-13 20:02:13

It's just appeared on a newsfeed over here (in Canada) that Florida has backtracked on this as it breaches the Geneva Convention.

Groovee Fri 15-Feb-13 07:43:39

They've back tracked according to the official website

Hulababy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:38:44

So do I not actually need this now!?!

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 15-Feb-13 18:58:06

Why take the risk though, we're going at the end of March and we are going to get them. The law is sufficiently unclear that it may not be entirely clear to the traffic police either.

Groovee Fri 15-Feb-13 19:15:14

Who knows!!! They really have ballsed up on this completely. We still have some time so will keep an eye out!

Hulababy Sat 16-Feb-13 07:07:40

Well we did get one. It's a bit of card with handwritten details on and a stuck in photo from what I glimpsed yesterday.
It was a real pita getting one last minute.
Its the lack of knowledge that annoys me rather than needing one. At least the ESTA is well publicised

On case anyone is watching this thread - most recent information is that Florida has had to put the new law on the backburner temporarily as its been found to be in breach of the Geneva convention so at the moment you don't need one. I got this info yesterday as I work for Tui and it was sent out to be communicated to customers.

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