International Driving Permit requirements in Italy?
November 2, 2006 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Can a Canadian rent a car in Italy without an International Driving Permit?

My brother is going to Italy in two weeks time, which is a bit tight to arrange an International Driving Permit before he leaves Canada. Will car rental companies in Italy still rent to him? Plenty of online car rental sites will accept a reservation without mentioning the IDP, but I'm worried that when he gets there, they won't actually rent to him if he doesn't have it.

Also, how much trouble will he be in if he gets stopped by traffic police without one?
posted by louigi to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
I was able to recently rent a car in Italy with only a US driver's license, passport and credit card. We were renting from an international auto rental but I doubt if that makes any difference.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:36 PM on November 2, 2006

Generally, yes. I don't remember the specific time limits, but if you are a short-stay tourist from a western country you will have no problem renting a vehicle in the EU using your own driver's license. The International Driving Permit is necessary if you're staying for an extended period (i.e. several months). And if you become a resident, you have to switch your driver's license over.
posted by randomstriker at 3:48 PM on November 2, 2006

We had our IDPs and they never asked for them in Sicily -- they looked at us like we were crazy.
Be prepared for them to be a little puzzled/concerned if there's no obvious "date of issue" on the DL, though. I don't know how Canadian licenses are, but ours only had date of expiration. The Italians want to know you've had a license for a certain period of time (I think a year or more).
posted by katemonster at 3:51 PM on November 2, 2006

BTW...99% of the time, the rental company will not check how long you've been in the country or your resident/non-resident status. They'll just assume you're a tourist when you show them your passport & foreign driver's license.
posted by randomstriker at 3:56 PM on November 2, 2006

go with a major company, no problem at all
posted by matteo at 4:02 PM on November 2, 2006

He will need either an IDP or a translation of his Canadian driver's license (see In practice, he may well get away without either but he may not. If he lives in a major city he can probably get one on the spot from the CAA (
posted by TheRaven at 4:05 PM on November 2, 2006

He can get an IDL in one day if he feels he needs it. Just go to an AAA outlet and they'll take care of it in 5 minutes.
posted by Neiltupper at 6:12 PM on November 2, 2006

posted by krautland at 11:02 PM on November 2, 2006

FWIW I just rented one in Portugal without an IDL or even the hint I might need one, just my Canadian driver's licence. Asking CAA or equivalent would be a good idea. They arrange that stuff all the time. They may be quick to arrange but they also cost money.
posted by Rumple at 11:03 PM on November 2, 2006

« Older First NYC visit   |   Matching your external self to your actual self Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.