International Driver's license

Jun 13th, 2009, 09:35 AM
  #1  
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International Driver's license

Is it necessary to have an International Driver's license to drive in Germany?
roadguy345 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 10:02 AM
  #2  
 
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There are numerous discussions of this topic on this site. Do a bit of research here and you will get way too much discussion.

Bottom line--The EU requires that you have an Int'l Driver's Permit, its the law. You won't be asked for it at the rental counter (your driver's license and credit card will do) but in the event of any contact between you, your car and any police/administrative agency, you will need it. Its the law.

I'm on my 9th one year permit--they are non-renewable. Never been requested to produce one and hope never to but don't want to run the risk at a very important time.
Paul
macanimals is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 10:05 AM
  #3  
 
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Italy and Austria are the only EU countries that do not accept national drivers licences from the major non-EU countries.

It is a waste of money to pay for the International Driving Permit in the other countries. If you really want to waste money, though, you can also get an International Vaccination Certificate to go to the EU.
kerouac is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Greece requires an IDP as far as I know...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 11:13 AM
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This is not a license - it's only a Permit - that is, a translation of your regular license. You need both to rent cars in some countries - but how much this is enforced may depend on the company and the office. The key is that you re ally need one if you are stopped by the police - who may well not read/speak English and know nothing about the licenses from other countries. (And I'm sorry but we have been asked by rental agencies in countries other than Italy and Austria - including Belgium and France - perhaps only that agency, but who knows.)

It's only a photo and few dollars - and much better to have and not use than to need and not have.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 11:20 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Hi RG,

It is recommended, but not required, in Germany.

ira is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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Not recommended by German authorities, because a US IDP is not recognized in any way. Go to your German club and have someone there translate your license if you want. It's just as good and non-valid as an IDP from the US.

To be allowed to drive in Germany as an american tourist ALL you'd ever need is your local state drivers license.

Isn't that just great!
logos999 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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NOT true that the EU requires it. Only select countries, as discussed here many, many times. It will be of no use in Germany.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 13th, 2009, 11:32 PM
  #9  
 
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"The EU requires that you have an Int'l Driver's Permit, its the law."

The person making this spectacularly absurd allegation claims to be on his NINTH one-year permit.

So in nine years, he's learned absolutely nothing about what the EU is or about the law in Germany. But, notwithstanding such unbelievable ignorance, still sees fit to pontificate.

See now how American tourists get their reputation as ignorant loud-mouths?

Incidentally, EU countries that are claimed to require IDPs require them only from foreigners without an EU-compliant national driving licence. The overwhelming majority of foreign visitors have such licences, and need no IDP in Italy, Greece or Austria. Only the tiny minority of visitors who come from outside mainstream Europe need IDPs.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 05:07 AM
  #10  
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I guess I left out a key piece of info. We live in the US.
roadguy345 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 06:09 AM
  #11  
 
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No, roadguy, we KNOW you live in the USA, and all the answers assumed that.

To reiterate, you do NOT need an IDP for Germany. Just ignore the poster who said that ALL EU countries require the IDP. He's just wrong.

The IDP is nothing more than an official translation of your American license into the language of the country you'll be driving in. Italy requires it by law, and I believe Austria does too. In fact, to get rather granular about it, those countries that require it will also take an "official" translation of your American license in lieu of the actual IDP. So, let's say you were going to drive in Italy and didn't want to pay for the IDP; you could get a professional translator to translate, on paper, the actual words of your American license, and that would comply with Italian law. Fact is, considering what professional translation costs, replete with notarized copy, that would be more than the paltry fee AAA charges for the IDP, but it would comply with the law.

Still, you DO NOT NEED ONE FOR GERMANY. Sorry that you got misinformation here on Fodors.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 14th, 2009, 07:47 AM
  #12  
 
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Roadguy345-

Sorry, I guess I was misinformed as to Germany. Like I said "way too much discussion" from very heated up folks.
macanimals is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 08:25 AM
  #13  
ira
 
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Hi logos,

>Not recommended by German authorities,....<

I don't doubt it.

I was referring to what the US authorities (AAA) say.

ira is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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No need to listen to what US authorites say or the AAA on that subject. When you are in Germany, it's only important to comply with German regulations.

You can even drink Cuban rum and smoke as many Cohibas as you like.
logos999 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Assuming you are living in the US then check the AAA website. Unfortunately you require a zip code which strikes me odd when you are asking about overseas law.
alanRow is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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Here's a direct quote from the US State Department website:

"Tourists and temporary residents who will stay in Greece less than 185 days must carry a valid U.S. license as well as an international driver's permit (IDP). Failure to have both documents may result in police detention or other problems..."

I rented a car in Athens last year and was asked for the IDP at the rental counter. No doubt others will say they weren't... I was.

Frankly, how the discussion always gets so heated over IDPs amazes me. As someone said earlier, if it's better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it... why not have it? And for crying out loud, it's only 20 bucks!

Here's a good reason to have one even if not required... often when renting audio guides in France they ask for your driver's license or passport. It's worth the cost of the IDP to me to have it to hand over rather than my real license or passport.

Rob
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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Greece = small country in the south east of Europe, root of "European" culture
Germany = larger country in the center of Europe. No culture but good food.
logos999 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 11:20 AM
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Having checked the state depatment website. They don't even have the correct German flag in their info on Germany. What could anybody expect of such an organization.

If it weren't so sad, it would be funny
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Germany.pdf
logos999 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 11:36 AM
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Better to have it and not need it? If that is logical, you should travel with a personal defibrillator as well. Don't you think that it is a little strange that only auto clubs seem to issue to IDP against a considerable (to me) payment? If they were REALLY useful, wouldn't various consumer organizations issue them free of charge or for a tiny fee?

Meanwhile, it also seems to me that the various states could offer an on-line service so that you could download a paper translation of your licence in 20 or 30 different languages as a courtesy to the taxpayers. All of your info is already in the state computer system and could be switched to another language in a fraction of a second.

It just seems to me that an AAA lobby is raking in tons of money for no reason other than greed. And every single time this subject comes up, there is NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON who comes up with an anecdote about how lucky they were to have an IDP on their recent trip. It all seems pretty fishy to me!
kerouac is offline  
Jun 14th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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logos999,

I do not understand. You write the state department web site, but link to the Library of Congress??

And what is wrong with the flag?
scotlib is offline  

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