• Florida Repeals International Driving Permit Requirement and Remains a Top U.S. Destination for International Tourists
  • April 5, 2013 | Authors: Brian Del Gatto; Spensyr Ann Mayfield; Sean M. McDonough
  • Law Firms: Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - White Plains Office ; Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP - Orlando Office
  • Foreign visitors are again free to drive Florida’s roads so long as they posses a valid noncommercial driver’s license issued in their home state or country (commercial licenses were never compromised). The Florida Legislature has eliminated the controversial international driving permit (IDP) requirement under Florida Statute § 322.04, which took effect on January 1, 2013. In March, both the House and the Senate unanimously supported House Bill 7059, to repeal the IDP requirement, and Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law on April 2, 2013. The new law takes immediate effect, and is retroactive to January 1, 2013, making questions about the statute’s effect on liability and insurance coverage moot.

    The IDP requirement was just a small part of a dense 105-page piece of 2012 legislation that dealt with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and was simply included to help law enforcement officials who were unable to read the information on foreign drivers' licenses. Instead, the requirement raised difficult questions for international drivers who failed to obtain an IDP, such as liability for negligence, ability to rent a car and voiding insurance coverage. Last year, the Florida tourism industry welcomed nearly 14 million visitors from 181 countries who spent $15 billion.

    Governor Scott was joined by Consulates General from South America, Europe and North America as well as representatives from AAA, The Auto Club Group and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) when he signed the bill into law at the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s International Days event. Jeff Walker, CAA Vice President of Public Affairs, praised the legislation: “CAA is pleased that the voices of its members and others were listened to by state officials, and that the state of Florida has removed any uncertainty.” Many Canadians look upon Florida as their “winter home."