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International Drivers Permit

Just a note to all. There have been many discussions about the necessity of these and what countries require them. No body mentions Germany, but I rented a car from Sixt last week and the rental agent specifically asked to see my International Drivers Permit. Fortunately I had mine with. So if you have any intention of renting a car anywhere in Europe, you should get one. Its quick and easy and not very expensive and will save some hassle.

Posted by
2580 posts

And on the other hand, when I showed my IDP to the Avis rental agent in Dijon France he laughed and said please show me your REAL license.

Posted by
21718 posts

That is because the IDP is not a driver's license. Of course he asked for your real drivers license. The IDP is merely a multi-translation of your driver's license to make it easy for someone to understand your driver's license if they are not fluent in English. You must have both at all times if required.

Posted by
300 posts

As far as I know the IDP is only required in a few countries (according to a RickSteves.com webpage, the list is Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain). Not sure why the agent in Germany cared unless he knew you were going to Austria. I certainly wasn't asked when I rented in Germany.

Posted by
31471 posts

Sam,

Thanks for the note. I'm not planning to drive this year, but just renewed my I.D.P. yesterday. Sometimes plans change and I've rented on short notice on past trips.

Posted by
27720 posts

You can effectively add France to that list from Rick Steves, as I have said before.

The law says that you need a notarized translation of your state or province license, but that is a pretty expensive way to solve the problem. An IDP does the job just as well and for a fraction of the price and with virtually no effort.

Posted by
2011 posts

I have never understood why people are so opposed to getting these. It's not a big expense and having been in an accident it was certainly useful.

Posted by
8889 posts

And it is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT to have an IDP as well as your foreign Driving Licence. Just because most people have never been stopped by the police doesn't make it any less a legal requirement. Same as no matter how many times you have taken stuff from shops without paying and without getting caught, it is still a crime.

Posted by
77 posts

+1 on having the IDP with you. I have rented in Europe without it but with a little anxiousness that I may not get through the process. Too east and inexpensive not to do it.

Posted by
300 posts

And it is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT to have an IDP as well as your foreign Driving Licence.

In some countries; not all.

Posted by
2580 posts

The IDP is merely a multi-translation of your driver's license to make it easy for someone to understand your driver's license

Because they are so unique and difficult to understand? Hardly anyone in the world has a drivers license. Sarcasm.

Posted by
8889 posts

No Phred,
Because there are over 190 countries in the world. Nobody (including policemen) can be expected to understand over 100 languages, nor learn what a Driving Licence in each of over 190 countries looks like, and to be able to tell a real licence from something that was just created on a computer.
Would your local police force recognise a Norwegian/French/Chinese licence from a fake or expired licence, or be able to tell a car licence from a dog licence?

The IDP both certifies the original licence is genuine, and provides a translation in major languages.

Each country decides which licences it accepts, and which need an IDP. It varies from country to country and is governed by international treaties. I don't need an IDP in France or any other EU country (because they have agreed that all licences have the same layout and information), but I do need one for the USA. A holder of a US licence DOES need an IDP in France and many other European countries.

Posted by
2011 posts

Phred was the other American in my accident. The one standing with the police officer long after I had been sent on my way by the police man. (He was rear ended by a French driver, which caused him to slam into me. ... who told me that he didn't bother to get an IDP. I have no idea how long he was there, but I know I was gone before the police man was half way through his form. And neither of us had huge amounts of damage)

Trust me it's worth it!

Posted by
3304 posts

I do not understand what it is about this topic that regularly provokes such lengthy and often heated exchanges on this forum. Hey, folks! It's $15. Why would you give it a second thought? Just do it.

Posted by
4684 posts

A few years ago the Irish police were searching for a person named Prawo Jazdy who had been racking up driving offenses all over the country and was now into "custodial sentence plus lengthy ban" territory. Then somebody realised that "Prawo Jazdy" was Polish for "driving license".

Posted by
2246 posts

That's very funny, Philip! See Rosalyn, good thing we kept talking just a bit longer...

Posted by
21718 posts

Two biggest non-questions - IDP and to carry your passport. And maybe a third - get your Euro at home or the airport.

Posted by
1345 posts

What makes the Prawo Jazdy story better is EU driving licences are meant to be in the same format with numbers indicating where the name is, where the date of birth is etc.

It won An Garda Siochana the IgNobel Prize for Literature in 2009.

In 2012 the US government won the same prize for "issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports".