Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Renting a car in the U.K. ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Renting a car in the U.K.
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: trolleyguy-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 29 Jul 2004 11:28 PDT
Expires: 28 Aug 2004 11:28 PDT
Question ID: 380872
Must a U.S. citizen with a valid U.S. driver's licence obtain an
International Driver's licence to rent an automobile in the U.K.?
Subject: Re: Renting a car in the U.K.
Answered By: joey-ga on 29 Jul 2004 11:48 PDT
In short, no.  "International Drivers Permits" (IDP) are most often
necessary when you're driving in a country that doesn't support the
language on your license, or when there are other reasons for
officials in that country to question the integrity of your own
country's license.

Based on this article from
     "For driving in Europe, travel officials say the IDP is more
necessary in some countries than others, but is advised for most. And
in more than 40 countries worldwide you cannot rent a car at all
unless you have an IDP.  Countries where English is the spoken
language, such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, North America,
Australia, and New Zealand, do not require an IDP."

If you think you may be venturing out from the U.K. into other
countries in Europe and would like to get one, please be aware that
there are only two U.S. agencies authorized by the government to sell
IDPs, contrary to claims all over the Internet.:
     "The U.S. State Department says it has authorized two
organizations to issue IDPs--the American Automobile Association
(enter your location carefully), and the American Automobile Touring
Alliance, which offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club .
These are the ONLY two authorized places for U.S. residents to get an
IDP: all other locations and sources on the Internet are not
authorized, and some are scams that promise a lot, and charge even
more, for a document that may not be accepted where you are

As a side note, from experience, with a valid Virginia US license, I
had no trouble renting a car in France or Spain.

Clarification of Answer by joey-ga on 29 Jul 2004 11:51 PDT
Oh yes, my searching strategy: idp permit necessary

Have fun on your trip.

Subject: Re: Renting a car in the U.K.
From: linuxcluster-ga on 29 Jul 2004 11:34 PDT
From my own experience you can rent a car anywhere within the EU if
you have a valid U.S. driver's licence.
Subject: Re: Renting a car in the U.K.
From: liner-ga on 29 Jul 2004 14:18 PDT
I personally have rented cars in Norway and Denmark with a US driver's license.
Subject: Re: Renting a car in the U.K.
From: owain-ga on 30 Jul 2004 14:26 PDT
In most other EU countries you may not require an IDP to *rent* a car,
but you *should* have the IDP to drive any car.

The IDP is a formal document which translates driving licence details into
several languages, enabling foreign authorities to interpret the entitlement
held, validity periods, age and identity of the holder.
(Explanatory note at

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs *recommends* one for Britain:
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recommended.

(but no, one is not required).

Additional information is available at
< All other countries>

The URL is all text between < >
Subject: Re: Renting a car in the U.K.
From: liner-ga on 30 Jul 2004 14:44 PDT
To expand on my comment:

Citizens of the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New
Zealand, and British subjects, need a valid passport to enter Norway.
You need to apply for a visa only if you want to stay more than 3

Your current domestic driver's license is acceptable in Norway. An
international driver's license is not required.

But as Owain states, an IDP might prove useful in certain circumstances.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy