I'll be going to Germany in May for 3 weeks for a personal trip. However, there's a few places I want to visit that are not accessible by bus or train. I was thinking of renting a car. I was wondering if I have to be get myself an international driver license, or if I should just to make sure I can drive and rent a car. I'm from Quebec, Canada.

I already went to the Canadian government website, and it is stated the following:

Holders of a valid Canadian driver's licence can drive a car in Germany for up to six months from the date of their arrival.

I understand my driver license is normally valid, but I'm concerned that they might not understand the French part of the license.

So should I be getting an international driver license just to be sure everything will be fine, or am I just worried for nothing?

  • 1
    If your license is printed in English and is electronic, you should not have any problems. An international license just serves as a translation of your existing license (it is not a separate license, in fact, it is only valid when presented with your actual foreign license). Mar 6, 2018 at 4:27
  • @BurhanKhalid That's what I understood. It is written with latin characters, but is in French. And that's the part that worries me. What do you mean by electronic?
    – Rosme
    Mar 6, 2018 at 12:53
  • 1
    I'm pretty certain it won't be a problem - your Canadian Government website said as much. Anyway, think about it... what do French license holders (or any other non-German language license holders) do when renting a car in Germany. They just show their license and drive away in the car, unless there are specific restrictions laid down. If you are still unsure, you could ask your proposed car-rental company.
    – Nick
    Mar 6, 2018 at 17:17
  • @Nick that is actually a very valid point and idea. I will do so. Thank you.
    – Rosme
    Mar 6, 2018 at 19:05
  • 2
    @Nick Actually, all EU driver's licenses share a common format and are valid between each country. bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Artikel/LA/… mentions 3 conditions: not being from the EU/EEA and not being in german and not being conforming to a special international agreement on road traffic. The first and second are clearly not fulfilled but the third point might.
    – moggi
    Mar 6, 2018 at 22:29

1 Answer 1


Officially, according to the BMVI - Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure: If you hold an International Driving Permit:

You must carry a translation of your domestic driving licence if

it was not issued in a Member State of the European Union (EU) or a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), or

it is not in the German language, or

it does not comply with the provisions of the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 (Annex 6). You can find out whether your driving licence complies with the provisions of Annex 6 by enquiring at the appropriate authorities of the issuing state.

Annex 6 of the Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 states that each field on your driving licence needs to be numbered:

4 It is compulsory to indicate in the permit the data listed under the numbers given below:

  1. Family name;
  2. Given name, other names;
  3. Date and place of birth; 4.(a) Date of issue; 4.(b) Expiry date; 4.(c) Name or stamp of the authority which issued the permit;
  4. Number of the permit;
  5. Photograph of the holder;
  6. Signature of the holder;
  7. Categories (subcategories) of vehicles for which the permit is valid;
  8. Additional information or limitations for each category (subcategory) of vehicles in coded form.

5 If additional information is required by domestic legislation, it shall be entered on the driving permit under the numbers given below:

  1. (d) Identification number for the purposes of registration, other than the number under 5 of paragraph 4;
  2. Place of normal residence;
  3. Date of issue for each category (subcategory) of vehicles;
  4. Expiry date for each category (subcategory) of vehicles;
  5. Information for purposes of registration in the case of a change in country of normal residence;
  6. Information for purposes of registration or other information related to road traffic safety.

i.e. it should look something like this:

quebec DL

Notwithstanding the above, it's very likely that your driving licence would be accepted by any rental company and probably ok even if stopped by the police if your licence doesn't conform to the above. However, if it doesn't, it might be worth spending the $15 or so on an International Driving Permit.

  • Thank you. I have decided to pay for an international just in case something happen. The cost is low enough that's it worth I believe. Thanks.
    – Rosme
    Mar 15, 2018 at 18:04

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