• International Licensing Standards & Issues

  • Working Group 10
    International Standard for the Driver / Driving License Document
    ISO / JTC1 / SC17 / WG10 

    The work towards an international standard for the driver's license is done within the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Joint Technical Committee for Information Technology (JTC1), Subcommittee for Identification Cards and Related Devices (SC17).

    The international standard establishes guidelines in the format and content of motor vehicle driver licenses (DLs) to support the requirements of national or regional motor vehicle authorities and international conventions. It creates a common basis for international use and recognition of DLs without impeding individual national and regional authorities in taking care of their specific needs. An ISO DL is a document issued by a government agency, granting an individual permission to drive a motor vehicle within that agency’s jurisdiction or region with the goal of ensuring the safety of individuals and property.

    DLs and related documents are defined within the standard, in a broad framework of categories as documents for separate uses or function including passenger vehicles, commercial transport vehicles, other related traffic safety applications (e.g. transport driver recorder card) and other card functions at the discretion of individual national/regional motor vehicle authorities. They can be enhanced by the adoption of machine-readable technologies.

    The standard does not propose a global system standard for DLs outside the actual document.

    It addresses the following card aspects and technologies:

    • Physical characteristics
    • Magnetic stripe
    • Optical memory
    • Integrated circuit cards with contacts
    • Integrated circuit cards without contacts
    • Bar codes- one and two dimensional
    • Optical character recognition
    • Digital (digitized) images and signature

    The standard defines several optional techniques including their related process, to be used at the option of the relevant national and regional authorities. It additionally addresses options related to the security framework for technologies and their related process. This includes but is not limited to security features, encryption, digital certificates, etc.

    Issuer Identification Numbers (IIN) and Registered Application Provider Identifier (RID)

    2009 Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide

    NOTE: The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Drivers License Matrix has been revised and is available for download

    Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide - 2009 (image)Since 1926 the international community has attempted to standardize driver licensing documents, practices and procedures throughout the world. The 2009 Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide (FRRG) was developed as a resource document to assist AAMVA member jurisdictions in making informed decisions when negotiating driver’s license reciprocity Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with foreign countries.

    The 2009 guide contains information on the following:

    1. Examples of legislation, agreements and MOUs from various jurisdictions;
    2. Model MOUs and model legislation;
    3. Treaties, Conventions and new technologies that support international practices and procedures;
    4. 2008 Foreign Reciprocity Questionnaire and results;
    5. U.S. Department of State Drivers License Matrix;
    6. Country contacts;
    7. Copy of the European Union licensing manual; DRIVING LICENSE: European Union and European Economic Area, 2006.

    If need further information or would like a hard copy of the 2009 Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide, please contact Denise Hanchulak.


    The legal basis for allowing licensed drivers to drive in other countries is based on numerous agreements. Some are broad agreements paving the way for all drivers of signatory nations to operate vehicles in each others’ countries, while others are specific to military personnel.

    Directive 2006/126/EC of 20 December 2006 will replace directive 91/439 19 January 2013. The new rules introduced by directive 2006/126/EC will reduce possibilities of fraud, guarantee a true freedom of movement for EU drivers and reinforce safety on European roads.

    The 2009 Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide (FRRG) assists in improving highway safety by allowing jurisdictions to more quickly make informed decisions on the recognition of driving privileges as well as allowing for the verification of new or updated foreign driver’s licenses and driver records.

    AAMVA's Foreign Reciprocity Working Group created the 2009 Foreign Reciprocity Resource Guide to assist member jurisdictions in making informed decisions about reciprocity agreements.

    AAMVA has developed a resource guide with step-by-step instructions showing which documents should be examined to ensure that the driver is authorized to drive legally in your jurisdiction. The resource guide includes pictures and descriptions of some of the documents that may be encountered while performing a traffic stop, as well as the purpose of each document.

     Download the Law Enforcement Guide for Non-U.S. Driver Licenses.