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international drivers licesnse?

Swansea, United...
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international drivers licesnse?


Leaving next friday to visit hubbys family, will be hiring a car whilst over there and just had a thought as to if we will need an international license or if our regular ones are ok?

Your help is appreciated

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1. Re: international drivers licesnse?

No the UK licence is, although take both the photocard and the paper copy of your licence to be sure, some car hire web sites mention that a international licence is required although I have never been questioned.

Cape Town
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2. Re: international drivers licesnse?

Certainly not if you have new UK Photocard type licences - it is absolutely legal in South Africa for all purposes. Well I say "new" but the old ones haven't been issued for around 13 years! Bring the paper part of your licence just to be sure although it is rearely ever asked for.

Even if you do have an old UK all paper licence without a picture. That, together with your passport (which does have a picture and the same name and signature details), has always been found to be acceptable. No-one has ever reported on here that they have had any problems with that combination - despite much "hot-air" discussion!

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: international drivers licesnse?

As well as taking the good advice above.... what does the firm that's renting your car say?

Cape Town
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4. Re: international drivers licesnse?

The "hot air" starts!

If you want to do that make sure that you phone them at the office in the city in South Africa where you are picking up the car (check the number on the web) NOT some central office in a country thousands of miles away!!

The terms that matter are those in force locally NOT some "international terms". Most of the hire companies are local franchises not subsidiaries.

I repeat that a current UK driving licence is 100 percent legal for ALL purposes in South Africa - PERIOD!

Edited: 04 November 2011, 22:12
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for Cape Town
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5. Re: international drivers licesnse?

Totally agree with Van-de-Caab - we have been every year for the past 12 years hiring at least 2 cars (and up to 4 cars) each visit - NEVER been asked for an IDL, just my UK licence.

Gros Morne National...
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6. Re: international drivers licesnse?

What about CDN drivers licences?

Cape Town
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7. Re: international drivers licesnse?


As long as your province has licences in English (or English plus French) and has your picture on it, it is legal in South Africa.

To, hopefully, avoid any futher hot air, here is the background that I have posted on here before when some of these threads went round and round in circles :

The technical basis for recognition of driving licences around the world is the Vienna Convention of 1968, as amended as recently as 2007. This provides specifically the basis for International Governments to legally recognise other driving licences.

The law in South Africa, based on this convention, says that a driving licence is acceptable from another country providing it is 1. A signatory of the convention - and 2. The licence is in one of the eleven SA National Languages and has your photo and signature. So, as no other country, issues licences in iZulu, iXhosa, Sesotho etc., or even in Afrikaans, any licence in English, with a photo and signature, fully complies with regulations for legality and hence for insurance.

The document you refer to is an International Driving Permit. An "International Driving Licence", which is commonly used, is an incorrect term, as there is no such thing as a International document which is a licence to drive anywhere. The only possible reason to have an IDP (which also must have your licence to go with it) is as a translation of your licence if it is in an unusual language. The only document, in South Africa and nearly every other country in the world, which is a signatory of the Vienna Convention, that proves current authority to drive, is a National Driving Licence. In South Africa you must carry this with you when driving. The IDP is an internationally recognised document for use, together with your licence, in countries who do not understand the language that your licence is written in. If you carry one on it's own it legally means nothing.

No one with a UK (current type), Australian, US, Canadian, Irish etc photocard licence has ever posted on here that they have either been prosecuted in South Africa (by the legal authorities) for not having an IDP (the law here is clear) or has ever been refused car hire because they only had one of these licences and not an IDP - or have ever had an insurance claim turned down because they only have a valid National Licence in English with a picture.

Here is how each of the major Car Rental companies in South Africa (mostly franchise companies trading as the International Name), interpret this law.

Avis South Africa – “In March 2005 Barloworld Limited acquired the full ownership of Avis Southern Africa, Avis is now proudly a division of Barloworld South Africa (PTY) Ltd.”

“Renters and additional drivers must be in possession of a valid driver's license of country of residence. If driver's license is non-roman alphabet, an international driver's license is required. Please note that Foreigners must also produce a valid passport.”

Hertz South Africa – “"Hertz" means Alisa Car Rental (Pty) Ltd, trading as Hertz Rent a Car;”

“….every person authorised in terms of this agreement to drive the vehicle will have a valid licence to drive the vehicle, and that such person will comply with all applicable laws and will comply in all respects with the provisions of this agreement.”

Europcar South Africa – “Europcar, a division of Imperial Group (Proprietary) South Africa, Limited, (referred to as Europcar)”

“Government Legislation requires that whilst driving, the driver/s is/are required to have a valid driver’s licence in their possession.”

Budget South Africa – “Budget Rent a Car South Africa is an operation of the Bidvest Group Limited”

“International visitors are required to produce their passports when collecting their vehicle. Foreign Driving licences are acceptable provided the language used (printed thereon) is English and there is a photograph present. Should a licence be in any other language, other than English, we require an International Driving Licence to be produced at commencement of the rental or an official translation by a consulate / embassy.”

Thrifty Car Rental

“In the event that the Hirer is not a South African/Namibian citizen, or does not have a valid South African/Namibian driver’s license, must in such event, produce a valid driver’s license of his origin / resident country for the hire of the vehicle, in the alternative an international driver’s license.”

8. Re: international drivers licesnse?

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