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Renting a Car in Europe Without Physical Copy of Driver's License

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Apr 8th, 2016, 01:45 AM
  #1
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Renting a Car in Europe Without Physical Copy of Driver's License

Hi all,

Has anyone here had experience with renting a car in Europe (Spain or Portugal most specifically) with only a photocopy of their valid license? Plus other documentation like passport, etc

Thank you in advance. I've searched everywhere online and can only find resources that tell U.K folks how to get a sort of 'approved to drive' doc officially faxed to rental company for a small fee, but no info for U.S folks (that's me)

Cheers!

Brooke
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Apr 8th, 2016, 01:49 AM
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Why would you not have your drivers licence with you when you collect the car? You can book the car without it, but will have to show it when you pick it up.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 01:50 AM
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In many countries it is illegal to drive without your driving licence on your person, a photocopy is not acceptable in such cases. I very much doubt a car hire company would accept a photo copy of a licence, since photocopies can be tampered with.
Why don't you have your actual driving licence to show?
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Apr 8th, 2016, 01:55 AM
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In my (extensive) experience, you have to show your physical license or you cannot rent the car. Why would you not have it?
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Apr 8th, 2016, 02:05 AM
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A couple of years ago, we rented a car at Fuerteventura airport and I realised that I did not have my licence with me. I telephoned the DVLA in Swansea (this is a UK story) who were kind enough to fax a copy of my licence to the car hire desk at no charge.

The point of this story is to point out that car rental companies will accept faxed copies of licences provided, we were told, that the fax went direct to them. It may be that different companies have differing attitudes to this but it can be done.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 02:33 AM
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Tulips-

I will have a physical copy of a very recently expired license (like by 10 days) and a photocopy of the renewed license (since I cannot get it shipped in time and reliably from US to Spain for the date I need it as it only arrives a few days before I need it)

So I'll have a physical expired license, a photocopy of the updated version. Plus all other documentation

Rubicund-this is what I was thinking made the most sense-I don't think people can help it if they lose or get a license stolen while traveling so clearly agencies SHOULD accept a photocopy but as always, things are different depending on company and country etc etc and i've never done it before so always like to tap the community of experts to get a few real life stories!
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Apr 8th, 2016, 02:44 AM
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It was made clear to me that the car hire hire company would only accept a fax direct from the UK's licensing authority, but you might get lucky!
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Apr 8th, 2016, 02:49 AM
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ps My current driving license expires one week from now. I renewed it online two weeks ago and it's being mailed to address in the U.S. I can get a scanned copy before I'll need to rent a car.

I didn't intend on having to drive here (have been in Europe for a year and only rented a car once- because I'm on super super small budget) but it turns out the area I've decided I Must visit before leaving Europe is a place you just can't see or get around and do the things I want to do, without a car.

p.s Rubicund- I've heard similar stories from folks in the U.K but none from U.S. Should be same scenario. Though I don't plan to have an Actual DMV office fax a copy. I would just have a copy on hand, plus my physical and recently expired one. I would assume this would be fine (people must lose or have licenses stolen all the time and have to have some recourse to keep their trip plans in place... yes?)


Cheers

Brooke
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Apr 8th, 2016, 03:35 AM
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Photocopies are not acceptable.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 03:45 AM
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I tried some years ago in Madrid and ended up taking the train.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 04:02 AM
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I once picked up a car at Victoria in London with a US license that had been expired for two months. it was a new state for me and the clerk didn't know much about US licenses.

But you are SOL if you get turned down.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 05:01 AM
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I would contact the rental car company directly, specifically the location where you are renting. I would call between 10-11 AM their time. I would speak to a manager, not just someone behind any counter. If there is a language barrier, then you won't enjoy this experience.

If the car rental companies are as strict about their license expiration rules as countries and airlines are about expired passports, you may be out of luck.

There are a lot of people who endure interrupted travel plans because they failed to follow the rules and plan properly. Accidents happen, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about them other than learn to endure much frustration and financial loss. Good luck.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 05:19 AM
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Am amazed that it takes you so many weeks to renew a driver's license. Here you get in less than a week - and of course you can always apply early if you will be away when it needs to be renewed.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 05:56 AM
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Even if she convinces the rental company to rent her the vehicle I doubt a Spanish policeman would be very happy with an expired licence and a photocopy if she were stopped, or involved in an accident. The Insurance company may not be too happy either.

I don't understand why she didn't apply earlier for a new licence, especially knowing it had to be forwarded from the US.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 06:23 AM
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We were advised that we would also need something called an International Driver's License (or something along those lines) to drive in Spain. Has anyone heard anything about this? (And if so, Brooke, maybe you could get one of these faster??)
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Apr 8th, 2016, 06:30 AM
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It's an International Driver's Permit, and yes, you need one for a good many countries in Europe. It is nothing more than an official translation of your regular license (you can substitute an official, notarized translation if you wish, but little point, since that would cost at least twice as much). You get them from AAA.

But no, it is in no way a substitute for your regular license, which you must carry with you. Brooke could not use an IDP for her rental.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 07:47 AM
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You can't obtain the IDP without an actual driver's license in hand.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 09:26 AM
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You need an IDP for Spain. The Spanish police can get cranky if you do not have an IDP, one can only assume they would thoroughly irritated if you don't have an original license, even if the rental car company did not require, which is doubtful.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 09:31 AM
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I don't understand why she didn't apply earlier for a new licence, especially knowing it had to be forwarded from the US.>>

presumably because she didn't know that she was going to want to rent a car.
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Apr 8th, 2016, 09:35 AM
  #20
 
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You can get a license within a few minutes where I live, for renewal. The OP waited until the last minute to renew hers and then did it online. Where I live, you can get it immediately if you go in person. But if you do it online (which you cannot without vision certification by an authorized provider if over age 40), of course, it does take a couple weeks to receive it.
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