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International Driver's License

Definition

An international driver's license or permit is a foreign translation of your existing DMV driver's license for use when you are traveling outside the United States. It is invalid alone, but can be helpful when accompanied by a valid driver's license.

These licenses are issued by your local AAA but are not issued to persons whose driving privilege is suspended or revoked. Beware of offers from entities selling an international driver's license that cannot be suspended or revoked. These licenses are NOT VALID and are not authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Visitors or military personnel holding an international license issued by a foreign country may operate a vehicle in this country, but only if the international license is accompanied by a valid driver's license issued by the person's home country.

Penalties

Residents and non-residents are required to hold a valid driver's license before operating a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth. Driving using a fake or counterfeit license is the same as driving without a license. Driving without a license is a Class 2 misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the circumstances, mere possession of a counterfeit or fake license could be a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Beginning July 1, 2006, Virginia law makes it illegal for anyone to distribute documents represented as a license to operate a motor vehicle. This law makes it a violation for anyone to sell, give or distribute any document purporting to be a license to operate a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth. Only the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is legally authorized to issue driver's licenses. The offense is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of not more than $2,500. DMV encourages anyone with information about this type of fraudulent activity to call the DMV Zero Fraud hotline at 1-877-ZERO-FRAUD (1-877-937-6372).