IT is a well-documented fact that the Spanish Costas’ rich variety of foreign residents increases the complexity of legal issues and driving licenses – which turn out to be fake – is one of them.

This same paper reported some months back that a US national was fined €500 for carrying a ‘bogus’ international driving license, a lucky escape I should say considering that middle-eastern businessman is facing prison time for using an ‘International Driver’s License’ issued by an entity named as International Automobile Alliance (IAA), purportedly based in New York.

According to the State Prosecutor’s writ of accusation, the license was deemed “fake in its entirety, having a photograph affixed by the owner or a third person” and, based on those findings, requested the Court that the alleged offender is sentenced to a minimum prison term of 19 months for forging a public document and plus an additional criminal fine of 12 euros/day for a period of 18 months if the offender is unable to show evidence that he did have a valid driver’s license from another country (it now appears that only U.S. officially-approved “AAA” and “AATA” associations can issue such international licenses).

The are tens of online ‘businesses’ selling fake driving licenses, along with passports and IDs. One advertises its business offer as having […] year of experience producing original quality real/false passports, ID’s, drivers’ licenses.

Alongside these obvious clandestine operators, there is second tier of businesses that -purporting to have a specific Government official approval- state they can issue valid international driving licenses pursuant to Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention and Annex 6 of the Vienna Convention.

To sum up, a) international drivers’ licenses are generally only issued by officially recognized agencies to drivers who already have a valid license from the country and b) the agencies issuing them must be approved by the specific Government.

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