Driving & Car Rentals Abroad With

U.S. Driver's License

Contents

Check if you are allowed to apply for an International Driver's Permit (IDP)

IDP requirements and car rental policies

How to get an International Driver's Permit (IDP)

Why should you get an IDP

Check if you are allowed to apply for an International Driver's Permit (IDP)

You may need an International Driver's Permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. Your eligibility for application depends on:
1. The country you’re visiting
2. Meeting the age requirement of the destination country (usually 18 years old)
3. Having a valid U.S driver's license (learner's permit is not allowed)
4. The planned duration of your stay (usually 1-12 months)

IDP requirements and car rental policies

The countries or territories listed below are the ones most visited by U.S. citizens or U.S. driver's license holders. 

Country / Territories
Convention Ratified
IDP Requirements
Car Rental Age Requirements
Canada
1949
An US driver'slicense alone is valid to drive in Canada. No need to present an IDP.
Mostly, you need to be age over 21 to rent a car in Canada. Alamo, National, and E-Z RENT-A-CAR do have a lower minimum age requirement as 18 for certain car groups.
Germany
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver'slicense to be valid to drive in Germany.
A majority of the rental cars can be rent to drivers aging above 23 in Germany. Enterprise, Alamo, Sixt, Keddy by Europcar, and National have a lower minimum age requirement for certain car groups.
France
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in France.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in France.
Croatia
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Croatia.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Croatia.
Spain
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Spain.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Spain.
Mexico
1968
An US driver'slicense alone is valid to drive in Mexico. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be age 18 at least to get a rental car in Mexico. Some car groups require a higher age threshold like 21 or 25 to drive.
Italy
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Italy.
You need to be age 18 at least to get a rental car in Italy. Some car groups require a higher age threshold of 25 years old.
U.K
1949, 1968
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in UK. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be age 18 at least to get a rental car in the UK. However, the majority of rental cars require 22 years old to drive.
Ireland
1949
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in Ireland. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be age 18 at least to get a rental car in the Ireland. However, the majority of rental cars require 25 years old to drive.
Australia
1949
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in Australia. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Australia.
Japan
1949
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Japan.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Japan.
Austria
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Austria.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Austria.
Switzerland
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Switzerland.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Switzerland.
Norway
1949, 1968
You need an IDP supplemented with your US driver's license to be valid to drive in Norway.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Norway.
Portugal
1949, 1968
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in portugal. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Portugal. A majority of the rental vehicles require a minimum age of 21 to be eligible to drive.
New zealand
1949
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in New Zealand. No need to present an IDP.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in New Zealand.
Puerto Rico
None (territory of the USA)
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in Puerto Rico for up to 120 days after arrival.
(To be udpated)
Sweden
1949, 1968
An US driver's license alone is valid to drive in Sweden.
You need to be at least 18 years old to drive a rental car in Sweden.

Although we take great efforts in trying to maintain the information on this page as up-to-date and accurate as possible, however, there are chances you may fail to find information relative to your destination country or territory. In a case like this,  feel free to contact us by emailing to service@internatioanldrivinginstitution.com. We will do our best to find out for you by liaising with the pertaining bodies or companies.

How to get an IDP

Once you have confirmed that you are allowed to apply for an IDP, simply submit the materials through the internet.

The online application process is as follows:

  • Fill out the form with your driver's license information

  • Upload a recent passport size photo of yourself

  • Upload a copy or photo of your U.S. driver's license (full and valid)

Please note:

  • You must have a valid U.S. driver's license (learner's permit is not allowed)

  • Understand how long you plan to stay in the destination country

 

After submission and approval of necessary documents, you should be entitled to get your IDP. Depending on the number of demands, processing your application will take from 30 minutes to 2 days. We guarantee you the best price (check the IDP price here).

Why should you get an IDP

Undoubtedly, the U.S. driver's license can provide some convenience in English speaking countries. However, with an IDP you can easily cover more regions and countries. To some extent, an IDP is a must-have for international travelers, no matter how extensively their domestic driver's licenses are recognized. After all, bringing an IDP is no mistake, but the absence of presenting one could sometimes be a problem. Notably, some car rental companies would still prefer seeing an IDP before giving you the keys.