Commander’s Action Line

What are the requirements to have a blue “tourist”passport and an international driver’s licenses for military and civilians stationed in Germany and on leave in European countries? When I arrived, I was issued a red “Official” or “No fee” passport, but was encouraged to get a blue passport for personal security reasons. I now see where the United Service Organizations requires a blue passport for some of its’ trips. This is contrary to what is stated in the Department of Defense Foreign Travel Guide, which only requires a military ID or passport (i.e. does not specifically say tourist passport) for travel into these countries. The only mention in the FTG of a specific “no-fee” passport is when on “official business” which also usually includes visa requirements. Should the FTG be used to determine passport or visa requirements? When I received my U.S. Army Europe driver’s license last year I asked about getting an international license. I was told by the instructor that IDL’s are useless. Now I am hearing rumors of heavy fines for driving without an IDL. Calls to car rental agencies verified an IDL is not required to operate a vehicle in European countries. Thanks for your help.

With summer and the high travel season upon us, it is important for everyone to know and understand the rules regarding passport use. State Department rules state that an official passport is issued for use in the discharge of official duties and not to be used as a leisure travel passport. Visiting a country on an official passport while in leave status is a misrepresentation of the purpose the traveler entered the country and may result in the traveler being denied entry to the country they are traveling to. Such action could also affect the U.S. reciprocal relations with foreign countries. Finally, prudent force protection measures dictate that you should minimize making others aware that you are affiliated with the U.S. military while traveling overseas. USAREUR has always recommended that personnel stationed in Germany obtain an IDL prior to traveling outside of Germany, since technically a USAREUR license is only valid in Germany. An IDL is absolutely required in some European countries including: Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Turkey and Greece. Our licensing office operates the IDL program, with applications on hand. We will verify the USAREUR license, help fill out paperwork, and give detailed instructions on items required and where to go to obtain the IDL. However, this procedure is only supposed to be used as a last resort when an individual requires an IDL to travel TDY or in emergency situations. Otherwise, personnel should obtain their IDL through any AAA office in the United States.