Important facts described briefly below:
If you want to drive a rental car in another country, you often need an international driving license. A driver’s license from the United States is not sufficient in all Countries. We will inform you below about this driving license for foreign countries so that you are well prepared for your trip with the rental car.
What is an international driving license?
An international driving license is an official translation of your driver's license. An international driving license is only valid in combination with your normal driving license. This means that you must present both versions together. This makes it easier for police officers abroad to check your driver's license.
Why do I need an international driver's license?
In some countries, an international driving license is mandatory to drive there. There are also some countries where it is not. However, it may be useful to have the translated driver's license with you. This makes the work of the police officers easier. You also save yourself long discussions and misunderstandings with the officers. It is better to take an international version with you.
Do I need an international driver's license in the EU?
There has been an EU resolution on this issue since 2000. This states that you do not need an international driver's license within the EU. It does not matter whether you still have the old paper driver's license or the new EU driver's license as a plastic card.
Good to know: In a country in the EU, police officers are not allowed to ask you for a translation of your driving license.
Which regulations apply in European countries that are not in the EU?
You are not obliged to carry an international driver's license in non-EU European countries. However, it is still recommended, especially in Eastern Europe. The translated version facilitates communication with the authorities. The international version is particularly advisable in the following countries:
International driving license: What are the regulations in the USA?
In the USA, it depends on the federal state whether an international driving license is required. Florida, Kentucky, and Georgia are not very tolerant of foreign driver's licenses, so it is better to take an international driver's license with you. In some states, you may be able to get a rental car from the car rental company, but at a police checkpoint, there could be problems. In case of doubt, it is better to take an international driver's license with you.
Do I need an international driver's license in Canada?
Normally, this is not mandatory in Canada. However, it makes it easier to communicate with the car rental company and officials.
What are the regulations in Australia?
In Australia, the international driver's license is not mandatory. However, it is recommended to have it to speed up the process at the car rental company and with the authorities. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and long wait times.
Where is the international driver's license mandatory?
The international driving license is obligatory in all countries and regions of:
- Central America
- South America
- New Zealand
What other regulations should I observe?
In some countries, there are additional regulations, which we have compiled for you in the following overview:
Bolivia: You must have your international driver's license stamped locally.
Brazil: If you stay longer in Brazil, you may be able to get a Brazilian driver's license, which is limited in time.
China: An additional driving test is often necessary there. Driving without a Chinese driver's license is usually not allowed. The international driving license is not recognized in China. There is the possibility to get a temporary driving license if the stay is up to three months.
Indonesia: On Bali, it is allowed to drive with an international driving license. In the other parts of the country, a chauffeur or driver must be taken.
Japan: You need a certified translation of your driver's license from the embassy or consulate in Japan. The Japan Automobile Federation makes these translations.
Qatar: The international driving license is valid there for up to seven days. Then a visitor's driver's license is required, which is limited in time. This can be obtained from the local authorities.
Kenya: The international driver's license is valid for three months.
New Zealand: From the time of entry, you can drive in New Zealand for up to one year with the international driver's license.
Sri Lanka: You have to apply for the international driving license at the Sri Lanka Automobile Association before the start of the rental period. Then you will receive a Sri Lanka Driving License, which is limited in time.
United Arab Emirates: In the United Arab Emirates, an international driver's license is often required by the local car rental companies and authorities, although the EU driver's license, including translation, should normally be recognized.
Where can I apply for an international driving license?
You can apply for it at all road traffic offices. You will need a biometric passport photo, which should be as recent as possible, and your normal driver's license. In addition, a processing fee is usually due, which can amount to around 30 dollars, depending on the driving license office.
How long does it take to get the international driver's license?
If you present all the documents, the international driver's license can usually be issued to you immediately on the spot. However, there can also be a processing time of about four weeks. Check with your local road traffic office. Plan for possible waiting times there as well.
How long is the international driver's license valid?
It is usually valid for three years. However, please note whether there are any changes in the law or new regulations during this time.
What do I have to consider when I get married or change my name?
The international driver's license is valid for three years. If you get married and change your name during this time, you must be careful. The same name must appear on all identity documents. This means that it is not enough if the new name is only entered on the identity card or the normal driving license. It must also appear on the international driving license.
Important: You should also observe this rule when you apply for a new international driving license. If your new name is on the international driver's license, it must also be entered on the older ID cards so that everything is uniform.