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International Drivers Permit required for rentals?

International Drivers Permit required for rentals?

Old May 12th, 2024, 10:48 AM
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International Drivers Permit required for rentals?

Hello

I'm leaving the US tomorrow and flying to Zurich where I'll be renting a car from Hertz. We'll be driving through France, Switzerland and Germany. After researching countries requiring International Drivers Permits I thought I wouldn't need one.
Now I'm seeing various opinions about this. I know its probably a good idea if I have to deal with the police, but do I NEED one in France?

I'm going to post this same message in German and Swiss forums

Thanks
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Old May 12th, 2024, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by celfan
Hello

I'm going to post this same message in German and Swiss forums

Thanks
No need to post more than once -- all threads are on the same 'Europe Forum' - there is no special forum for each country.

For France an IDP is certainly a good idea but it is NOT required.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj
No need to post more than once -- all threads are on the same 'Europe Forum' - there is no special forum for each country.

For France an IDP is certainly a good idea but it is NOT required.
Where did you read it is not required?? I've researched this a few times since Covid, and a translated drivers license is required. An IDP satisfies this requirement, and so does something translated by a notary or lawyer in France. Naturally, a $30 AAA IDP is more practical for US citizens.

I googled it
https://www.google.com/search?client...ired+in+france

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2024, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
Where did you read it is not required?? I've researched this a few times since Covid, and a translated drivers license is required. An IDP satisfies this requirement, and so does something translated by a notary or lawyer in France. Naturally, a $30 AAA IDP is more practical for US citizens.

I googled it
https://www.google.com/search?client...ired+in+france

Stu Dudley

Since you leave tomorrow, the question is kind of moot, I think.

Yes, you are SUPPOSED to have one.
Yes, you SHOULD have one in case you get in an accident.
Yes, you MIGHT be asked to show one when renting your car. (I have never been asked to show this, despite having rented many cars, mostly in Italy and Spain. I have also read a tiny number of online reports where the lack of an IDP resulted in the reserved rental being denied.)

Do I always get an IDP (again, we rent in Italy and Spain, far less often in France)??

I used to skip the IDPs, more from personal annoyance that it is good only for one year, despite the fact that my USA license is good for much more than that...so why the need to take the time and spend the money to get a new one almost every time we visit Europe? As I said, for me it is a big annoyance and despite what some people will say here, for some of us, visiting the AAA office and going through the process can take at least half of a day. For some its less t hat but I speak only for myself.

In dozens of visits to Europe and dozens of car rentals, I have NOT ONCE been asked to show this document.

BUT, I have not been in an accident.
So nowadays I usually get one, despite the time waste.
There are people who have been known to change the dates on their IDPS...not me, but it's pretty common to do that.

Yes, I already know that there are certain posters who are going to jump on me for my comments.

In the end, despite the gimmick of the AAA and all, it's probably worth having one in hand for the very rare possibility that you might get asked to produce it in case of an accident. Personally I would not be too worried..I doubt if you will end up in jail on a remote island for failing to producer an IDP. (anyone care to offer personal experience if you did NOT have one??)

But I tend to be more cavalier about some things than others on this forum.....

In the end, it's too late for you since you are leaving soon, so do not worry...just drive carefully and next time, weigh your options!!!
Bottom line, what's the worst that could happen??/. I don't know.....I'm leaving this week and did get one to be safe in the slim-next-to-none-chance that I will need to show it for the two car rentals I have lined up.




Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 12th, 2024 at 12:52 PM.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 01:24 PM
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An IDP is recommended but is not required as long as the driver's license is in regular Roman text (i.e. not something like Arabic, Greek, Russian or Chinese)

From the official France Tourism Board (emphasis mine) :

"
If you are staying in France for less than 90 days, you can drive with your valid US driver's license. It's also generally recommended to get an International Driving Permit, which provides a translation of your license. These are available from the American Automobile Association."

Here is the link if you want ro verify the above . . . https://www.france.fr/en/
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Old May 12th, 2024, 01:35 PM
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In 2022 it took us weeks to get an IDP. The AAA offices in the greater San Francisco Bay Area were all "sold out" of blank IDP forms. We called several, and it was common knowledge that all the AAA offices didn't have them. So I sent pictures and info filled out, to a friend in San Diego. She took the info to her local AAA, got the IDP, and overnighted it back to us. In 2023, we went to our local AAA & were out in about 1 hour even with the agent totally screwing it up the first try, and had to do a do-over - picture and all.

I've never been asked for an IDP in France either. We spent 2 or months there every year.

Note - when picking up a car in France (or wherever), make sure you give the rental agent a credit card with the same name as the person whose name is on the reservation.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2024, 02:02 PM
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Depending on what time you are leaving tomorrow and how close to an AAA office you are, you may be able to get one before going to the airport. They only take a few minutes to take your pic and fill out the IDP.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 03:44 PM
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Last year I got one after reading on this board that it's advisable. When we picked up the car in Paris, nobody at Europcar wanted to see it, nor did anyone else.

But I've always had 2 travel rules:

1. Better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

2. When it comes to questions about France, ALWAYS listen to Stu Dudley.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by P_M
. . . 1. Better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it . . .
That's my normal MO too - I'm usually a belts and braces type. And my initial post did say its a good idea. But since the OP travels tomorrow and the IDP isn't mandated, whether he gets one IMO would depend on other factors like whether they are packed and ready, their flight time, if there is a nearby AAA office etc.. (At my local AAA one needs to make an appointment for IDP or face 45-60 minute wait times)

If they'd asked last week -- absolutely, get an IDP. Flying out tomorrow -- maybe not so much.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 04:29 PM
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Yeah, I realize it's probably too late for the OP. I posted in case others are following this thread.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 05:15 PM
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""the IDP isn't mandated,""

It pretty much is, in France for US visitors. If anyone does not have a drivers license that has been translated into French by some France authority, or an IDP - they are in violation of French laws. At least that's my understanding, and the link I provided above in #3 seems to indicate that a translation or an IDP is required. And the IDP seems to be the only practical option for someone from the USA. Technically you may be correct, but practically I don't think you are.

We will need a "something" in September. If you can provide a link to some authority that says I can use something other than an IDP or a translation (by someone authorized in France) - I would appreciate it!!

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2024, 06:24 PM
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OP is going to France, Switzerland, and Germany. May need an IDP if pulled over for any reason.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 06:30 PM
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Autoeurope.com, well-respected and often recommended here, says an IDP is not required for France.

But in typical corporate CYA-speak it also says: "IDP enforcement may vary based upon car rental supplier as well as renting country."

The AAA.com website says: "Keep in mind, however, that while a certain country’s government may not require an IDP, car rental companies located in that country, such as Hertz, may require an IDP to rent a car. "

https://www.autoeurope.com/internati...ng-permit-faq/

https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.ht...d=PC#-Overseas

So, an IDP may not be required in France to drive a car, but it might be required to RENT a car.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 06:35 PM
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I rented a car in France last year and the rental car company didn't ask for it. But if they had, at least I was prepared.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 06:43 PM
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Be careful. France does not require an IDP. But it does require a French translated driver's license that was performed by an authority in France. How many Americans are going to get their license re-written in France by a notary???? France will accept an AAA IDP as a translated license. No brainer!!

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2024, 11:10 PM
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You don't need an IDP to rent a car. You may need an IDP to drive it though, depending on the country, and you could have a problem if stopped by the police for any reason.
Chances are small but is it worth the risk for the price of an IDP?

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Old May 12th, 2024, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2
You don't need an IDP to rent a car. You may need an IDP to drive it though, depending on the country, and you could have a problem if stopped by the police for any reason.
Chances are small but is it worth the risk for the price of an IDP?
i know Spain is not the topic here but I was asked for my IDP when renting in Burgos.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 03:00 AM
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Thanks everyone, I found the website I consulted eight months ago when I made my reservation and decided I didnít need one. From the Auto Europe rental car website.

COUNTRIES THAT REQUIRE AMERICANS TO OBTAIN AN IDP TO DRIVE OVERSEAS

International Driving Permits are Required*in the following countries for US Licensed Drivers: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, and Thailand.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:02 AM
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Driving a car rented in Switzerland to France? I'm resident of France. FYI, many French cities are in France's Low Emissions Zones which require a French Crit'Air sticker to legally enter. See map here -- https://www.bison-fute.gouv.fr/zones...-mobilite.html. Only "REGISTERED CAR OWNER" can PRE-ORDER this sticker, it is not sold on the spot and not available to cars rented outside France. Each zone is the big city + good number of surrounding towns. For example, I have home in 2 Low Emissions Zones -- Paris Region Low Emissions Zone is Paris + 97 surrounding towns, Eurometropolis of Strasbourg Low Emissions Zone is Strasbourg + 32 surrounding towns.
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Old May 13th, 2024, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by StuDudley
Be careful. France does not require an IDP. But it does require a French translated driver's license that was performed by an authority in France. How many Americans are going to get their license re-written in France by a notary???? France will accept an AAA IDP as a translated license. No brainer!!

Stu Dudley
I'm not disagreeing with you Stu. If nothing else, it was worth it for the peace of mind, IMO.
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