International Driver's License Required?

Aug 20th, 2009, 05:42 AM
Original Poster
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International Driver's License Required?

My husband and I are renting a car for our upcoming trip (one week Amalfi, one week Umbria). I've heard different opinions on whether or not we need International Driver's Licenses.

Any thoughts?
Im4Wine is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Yes, you do need an IDP. May never have to show it but you still are suppose to have one.
joannyc is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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I have always traveled with one and I think it is a good idea.
Better safe than sorry.

I have driven in Italy 3 times now. remember....
the speed limit is only a suggestion
jetsetj is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:47 AM
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1) It isn't a "license" -- it is a International Driver's Permit

2) you may or may not be asked to show it when renting a car

3) It is an absolute legal requirement that you have one to drive in Italy.

4) If you don't have one, your insurance will be voided if you end up having an accident.

So - you have heard some wrong "opinions". You do need to get one.
janisj is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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Yes, definitley the IDP is a requirement for driving in Italy. We were asked to show it once when we rented a car.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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And, if you live in North America, it's quick and inexpensive to get the IDP at your local AAA/CAA office. They'll even take your photo.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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You definitely need it for Italy.
jamikins is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Hi IM,

Get one. If you ask for it and don't have it you could be in very deep doo-doo.
If you are in the US, see

Also, CDW is required in Italy. Most credit cards will not provide insurance.
ira is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 06:16 AM
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From what I've read an international driver's permit IDP is not required to rent the car in Italy BUT, if you are stopped by or need help from the police and you don't have one, you will be fined.

Better safe than sorry.
flylow is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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We will get them! Thanks for the info.
Im4Wine is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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It's absolutely irrelevant whether or not you can rent a car with or without one. Most rental agencies don't care if you have one or not, but it's the LAW in Italy that you must have one (OR a professional translation to Italian of your American license, which is all the IDP is, a translation).
StCirq is online now  
Aug 20th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Hello Im4Wine, just want to make sure you know you need to have your US drivers license with you also. Best regards and have a wonderful time in Italy.
LoveItaly is offline  
Aug 21st, 2009, 10:33 PM
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This may give you a little more info on the IDP:
rinr is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:08 AM
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I had one years ago, but it expired. Nowadays, if you want an international license, you're required to surrender your old German license and get a new credit card sized one at extra charge! Sucks big time! Even worse, the new license for trucks is limited to 5 years over the age of 45 then you have your health and vision checked to have it renewed.

Who wants an IDP/IDL?
Just visit countries, where you don't need one.
logos999 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:13 AM
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There's no such thing as an international driving licence
alanRow is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:15 AM
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Maybe not where you live. I have one, expired, but it says "International driving licence".
logos999 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:26 AM
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Logos, we can get an IDP from the ANWB (Dutch AAA) which is valid for only a year. I have never heard of any country issuing an international licence, nor of other countries accepting such a licence. You don't need one for all of Europe if you have a licence from a European country any way, and if you move to another European country permanently you have to change your driving licence for one issued in your new country of residence, so I can't see the point.
I'm sure the German equivalent of the ANWB issue IDPs just as the AAA/AA/ANWB do.

It is quite right that the licence for truck drivers is valid for only 5 years and they need a health check every time - my son is not yet 30 but had to have a thorough health check before getting his truck licence issued, and will have to again before it is renewed.
Should we want to drive passed the age of 70 we'll have to go through medicals every time too, and have a licence only valid for 5 years.
hetismij is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:50 AM
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You get your international license from the authorites, which in Munich is the license office of the city of Munich in the KVR. Too much of a hassle for me. The point of getting the IDP/IDL would be that foreign police may fine me even if I have a valid license, just because they don't know it's valid. It's quite common. For that reason I always take a copy of the EU regulation with me when driving.
logos999 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 12:58 AM
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hetismij, that explains how this IDL thing works for Munich residents. Too much of a hassle, imho.
logos999 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2009, 01:40 AM
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Logos, as always, is getting hold of the wrong end of the wrong stick.

1. Unless you've got a driving licence issued by an EU/EEA authority, it's a requirement under Italian law to have an appropriately certified translation if you're going to drive. Some EU countries require, or their police think they require, a translation even for some elderly EU licences. In practice, the only available format for most people is an IDP. In English, that's a PERMIT. The reason this bit of pedantry is important is that - as the Munich site makes clear - an IDP DOESN'T, alone, allow you to drive: you MUST, in Europe, have your national driving licence with you as well.

The point is crucial: till 15 or so years ago, Europeans losing their licence for a year popped into their autombile association a day before the court case, bought an IDP, had their domestic licence taken away the following day then happily drove in every other European country till the day before the ban expired.

2. Since the overwhelming majority of foreign tourists in Italy have a licence from an EU country, only a minority of tourists need an IDP as well. But virtually all Americans and Australians fall into that minority.

3. It's virtually impossible to obtain an IDP outside the country where the underlying licence was issued.

4. If the Germans were translating "Internationaler Führerschein" into English at some point as "International Driving Licence", they were merely demonstrating their grasp of the English language was as hopeless as logos' of practically anything. The official English term for this document, used by the UK authorities and all internationbal coordinating agencies, is PERMIT.
flanneruk is offline  

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