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International Driving Permit?

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Edmonton, Canada
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International Driving Permit?

Can someone please advise, it is necessary to obtain an International Driving Permit to drive in France? We have valid licenses for Canada.

Thank you.

Tampa, Florida
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1. Re: International Driving Permit?

No, it's not.

Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: International Driving Permit?

Thank you sunshine, but may I ask, why do people get them?

Ohio, USA
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3. Re: International Driving Permit?

1) Because it is required in some counties including a few in Europe.

2) Because they are not savvy enough to ask as you did.

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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4. Re: International Driving Permit?

Hi Winnipeg!

I've rented cars and driven in more than 40 countries. The only one that ever asked me for an International Driving Permit is the Republic of China, and I believe they did so only because of that country's unique status being recognized by so few nations.

One after another, I've gone to countries where it says, in guide books and External Affairs websites, that an International Driving Permit is required. With the sole exception that I mentioned, no one has ever asked me for one. In Spain, for example. And Turkey. Argentina. Thailand, and I could list many more.

Yes, but what if you're stopped by the police? I've been stopped literally hundreds of times (mostly at internal checkpoints, not because I'm a bad driver). Zero requests.

But what if you have an accident! Well, I have been. I was rear ended in the biblical town of Thyatira, Turkey, and had to fill out the necessary forms at the police station. (Turkish police are courteous and even offered us tea! Absolutely no Turkish jail. But we're getting off the topic.) No one asked for an International Driving Permit, not the cops, nor the insurance people.

I've rented cars in France about 15 times over the years. No one in France ever asked me for an International Driving Permit.

Here's what your car rental company will need: Your state-issued Manitoba Driver's License with embossed photo ID, your passport, and a credit card. You'll need a driver's license and passport for each driver.

Why is there such a thing as an International Driving Permit at all? It goes back to an international treaty called the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Back in Cold War days, crossing borders in a car was a lot harder than it is today. The treaty required countries to let others' drivers in, provided we met an assortment of treaty requirements,

The Cold War is long past, and what with the advent of the European Union and open borders, this sort of obscure red tape is not taken seriously any more for ordinary people.

Happy travels, and if you can find a single case of someone in Europe, other than a diplomat, being asked for an International Driving Permit by anybody authorized to demand it, I'd like to know!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

Paris, France
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5. Re: International Driving Permit?

Absolutely not necessary in France. Obligatory in Italy and Austria.

Paris 4th Arr
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6. Re: International Driving Permit?

We've been considering buying a car in France and our research into insurance has revealed that insurance companies are increasingly using the absence of an IDP as a reason to deny a claim.

I can't help but think the car rental companies (who are now enjoying the big profits from the "damage waver" add-ons) will jump on this as a way to deny claims when they are presented.

The law (according to an agent we spoke to two weeks ago) requires an international driving permit.

Edmonton, Canada
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7. Re: International Driving Permit?

Thank you everyone for shedding light on this...and especially David!

I think we will go without the IDP.

Cheers,

Leslie

Lunenburg, Canada
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8. Re: International Driving Permit?

Thank you Leslie!

Check your car rental firm's web page. I'm highly confident that you'll see no mention of an International Driving Permit, except perhaps for a few extraordinary situations, such as licenses that are not written in the Roman alphabet.

Let me add an addendum.

One of the writers listed Italy as a country where an International Driving Permit is "obligatory."

We rented in Italy though. No one ever asked me for an IDP when we rented our car. Nova Scotia Driver's License, passport and credit card were what they wanted to see at Milan Linate Airport. Nor did the police when we were stopped several times at checkpoints.

But that's only because we didn't have an insurance claim, right? Well, actually we did have a big insurance claim. Someone stole our car where it was parked on the street right in front of our hotel in Naples. We never saw that car, an Alfa Romeo, again.

(As an aside, crime does happen in Europe, as we found out the hard way. Some places, like Naples, are worse than others. After our car was gone, we began to notice that at least half the vehicles in Naples are equipped with "The Club" and other security devices to deter thieves. You shouldn't find France bad like this, though.)

We had to report the theft to the car rental company and the police. There were many forms to submit, with copies to be shared with the car rental company, Avis.

No one ever asked us for an International Driving Permit. Certainly not the police. Avis replaced the stolen car so that we could continue on our way.

But that must just be because the local office people were lenient or perhaps didn't know any better, surely! Well, no, I don't think so. To replace a stolen car apparently requires special authorization from a higher-up in Rome (one who made it evident that he didn't relish being disturbed on a Sunday, let me add). The higher-up took nearly twenty-four hours to give his approval, but he did sign. No requests for an International Driver's Permit, either from Avis in Naples or from the supreme headquarters in Rome, and you'd think the brass in Rome would know!

If even a tiny fraction of the fear mongering is true, why doesn't anyone in Europe ever, ever ask me for an International Driving Permit?

David

Edited: 26 June 2010, 00:02
Sydney, Australia
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for Train Travel
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9. Re: International Driving Permit?

I was asked to provide an International Driving Permit when I rented from Hertz in Italy last year.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: International Driving Permit?

This is a case where following someone's erroneous advice could cost you dearly. Just because someone has rented cars all over the world and has not been asked for an IDP does not mean they are not a legal requirement in some places.

Greece is an example. Have a look at this excerpt from a rental agency website:

"You must have a valid license as well as an international driver's permit (IDP); failure to have both documents may result in police detention and suit as the Vehicle may not properly be rented without the IDP. All parties will be held accountable for failure to have one in the event of an accident; being open to civil suit as well as for the entire vehicle value and 3rd party expenses."

The site itself is here:

acerentacar.gr/rent-a-car-athens-greece/spec…

So jail, fine and on the hook for the damage to the car.

Will Capetian step up and pay for this for you? No.

When I picked up a car in Greece I was NOT asked for my IDP but that does not mean it is not a legal requirement.

So no, an IDP is not a necessity in France but it is in Greece, Italy, Austria and other places.

I always get one before going to Europe. The cost is minimal. And it does have other uses... sometimes you are asked to leave your passport or drivers license as a deposit for audio guides... I leave my IDP as it's less valuable to me than my passport.

So get one or not for France but if you travel elsewhere check the requirements. Or it could cost you dearly.

Edited: 26 June 2010, 04:19