Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My boyfriend and I are planning a roadtrip to California in June. We'll both be 26 at the time, and we both have drivers' licenses - just different kinds. Mine is a Class 5 license, which is the "full license" standard in our home province of BC. His is a Class 7, which is the "new driver" license, and comes with a few restrictions.

If we're going to be on the road for a week, it would be great if I didn't have to be behind the wheel the whole time. Will we have any difficulty renting a car with him as an additional driver, if he doesn't have the full Class 5 license?

share|improve this question
Where are you renting the car? – Karlson Feb 27 '14 at 21:21
Either San Francisco or LA airports - depending on flights. – Sarah Feb 27 '14 at 22:15
Does it say Novice Permit anywhere on his license? – Karlson Feb 27 '14 at 22:26
I can't recall; it does have the restrictions written on the back though. I'm more concerned about the legal implications - if we got into an accident would the insurance cover him? – Sarah Feb 28 '14 at 16:59
This seems relevant:… – Nate Eldredge Mar 1 '14 at 1:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Bit late to the party, but for the benefit of future readers:

I am Canadian, and I have rented a car in several US states and Germany using an Alberta class 5 license. The process involved exactly zero questions or even a raised eyebrow. An international permit / translation was not required, they speak the same language down there (well, reasonably the same. They can't spell).

However, your boyfriend will remain a passenger - learner's permits won't be accepted by any rental company.

share|improve this answer

You should not run into any trouble renting a Car.

Some notes about driving in the US: Most states recognize canadian drivers licenses, you can check the rules for every state here:

It is usually a good idea to get an international drivers permit (IDP), which as far as I remember does not contain the License class.


share|improve this answer
You should not run into any trouble renting a Car. - Can you elaborate? – Karlson Feb 28 '14 at 20:45
The main purpose of the IDP is to provide translations of the information on the license, allowing the police or other inspector to confirm that the holder is adequately qualified according to an authority. It is not issued by the government, but by various private auto clubs around the world. And while it does not hurt to carry it, especially when renting, it is not strictly necessary for a Canadian to carry one simply to drive in the U.S. – choster Feb 28 '14 at 20:49
This doesn't address what seems to be the main question, which is whether the restricted license will be an issue. – Nate Eldredge Mar 1 '14 at 1:00

I just phoned ICBC. You can drive with an N. You need to sometimes provide your drivers abstract as they are not familiar with N licenses in the states and what they mean. Some companies will allow you to rent a car, others will be unsure and deny. Legally, you can drive with an N, but still must display your sign and follow all restrictions.

share|improve this answer
your sign? In Canada (certainly in Ontario) learners do not have a sign to display. And what is an N? – Kate Gregory Mar 7 at 17:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.