My partner has driven a motorbike for many years, but only qualified to drive a car in November last year (~9 months ago).

He would like to hire a car whilst on vacation in Portugal, but most car-hire places seem to require having had a license for one year - for instance Hertz states:

At the time of rental, the driver must present a valid national driver's license which has been held for at least 1 year.

I think this may be wishful thinking, but does anyone know if experience of having had a motorbike license (UK) for many years may count towards this one-year license requirement? Or if there is any hire-firm without such a condition?

2 Answers 2


I have been working as a rental sales agent (RSA) for some time (not with Hertz though). The motorbike license does not help at all in order to fulfill the one-year license requirement. After all you are renting a car and not a motorbike.

There are two points to this problem a) having someone accepted as an additional driver b) insurance coverage in case of an accident

For a) it is mostly up to the RSA and the rental system whether your partner is accepted as a second driver. The RSA will have to enter the license details into their rental system. The rental system then may or may not check whether the license to drive a car has been issued more than twelve months ago. Especially with a foreign license and having a motorbike license for a long time they may enter the wrong date and the rental system will be fine with that. Also the RSA may or may not either look at the wrong date or not care at all.

Regarding b) if your partner is accepted as a driver and entered into the rental agreement and he/she causes an accident the rental company may demand compensation even if you have proper insurance. Simply because insurance only covers drivers that have had their license for more than 12 months. So even if your partner is added to the rental agreement as an additional driver you are at risk if damages occur.

There may be hire-firms without the one-year condition but in my experience you will not find an international hire-firm without that condition. This might be different for local hire-firms but I wouldn't bet on that.

  • 6
    As someone who has both ridden bikes and drives cars, I agree that they are not the same thing. What the OP would like to do is almost like trying to apply your car driving experience to a truck that requires a commercial license to operate.
    – Peter M
    Aug 2, 2022 at 14:11
  • Thanks; to clarify he would be the primary (only) driver not a secondary driver since I cannot drive myself, however I do not think this would affect substantially your answer. Aug 2, 2022 at 14:50
  • 1
    @PeterM - I can appreciate that. I am not a driver myself, but I imagine there are two distinct components to driving - understanding the vehicle itself, and understanding the road. I can see that riding a bike would not offer any help with understanding how a car operates, but I could see it helping you to gain an intuition as to the behaviour of other road users, how traffic flows, and how to navigate under specific conditions. Aug 2, 2022 at 15:15
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    @NeilTarrant One of my biggest eye openers was jumping off my bike and immediately getting into my car, and then trying to drive my car through a gap that was only suitable for my bike. And this was after doing years of both riding and driving.
    – Peter M
    Aug 2, 2022 at 15:53
  • This will absolutely not work. A lot of rental companies won't even take an international license that's been renewed within the last year under that rule. Aug 2, 2022 at 16:33

The back of the UK driving license (as well as other EU-format ones) shows the dates when you've qualified for a given type of permit. So your driving license will make it clear that they've been a driver for less than a year and thus the rental agency should reject them if they're paying attention.

table on back of license with rows for every vehicle type, most blank. Example filled row: B (car), valid from 11.03.98, valid to 10.03.46, codes 01,15,20,25,42

  • 3
    That's quite cool, I've never seen that before. Do you know, if you moved to the UK or EU from a foreign country and transferred your licence, do these dates show when you transferred or do they try and reflect the information from your original foreign licence? In Australia, our licences only show an expiry but we can obtain certified records that show obtainment dates.
    – James D
    Aug 2, 2022 at 22:43
  • @JamesD Can't say about transfers from Australia, but if you transfer within the EU (back when you could do that to/from the UK...) you keep your original dates on the license. Aug 3, 2022 at 8:12
  • I recently talked about these "new" drivers license with an older friend of mine (80+) who recently gave up his old one and received one of these. Now each category has the date in it on which he got his first drivers license. This being a motorcycle license about 2 years before he got his drivers license.
    – SirHawrk
    Aug 3, 2022 at 11:24

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