I was searching for info about the need of updating my Greek driver's license to international, but I can't get a clear answer about whether it's needed for use in the US. A friend told me that he's recently rented a car in the US with his Greek license and he never had a problem. Does anyone know for sure?


2 Answers 2


This page is helpful.

Tourists may drive in the US for up to a year with a foreign driving licence, provided the issuing country is party to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (see art. 1 and art. 25 para. 1) or to the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic (Washington, 1943); most countries are contracting parties.

If your foreign licence doesn’t contain a photograph or is written in a language other than English, it’s wise (but not mandatory) to obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Always carry your foreign licence as well as your IDP. Without an IDP it may be necessary to obtain a certified English translation of your foreign driving licence, usually obtainable from your country’s embassy in the US.

  • The Florida exception was repealed shortly after it started, and thus Florida is no longer any different to any other state.
    – Doc
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 16:58
  • OK. I thought it was repealed only for Canadians. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 17:00
  • 1
    No, it was repealed outright. Canadians were the ones most impacted (simply due to quantity), but there were other issues, such as it going against the Geneva Convention you mention above.
    – Doc
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 17:34

In general there's a very simple rule as to whether you should get an International Drivers Permit or not.

If your license is in English, or in any of the official languages of the country that you're visiting, then you do not normally need an International Drivers Permit.

If your license is NOT in English, or in any of the official languages of the country that you're visiting, then you would be best to carry an International Drivers Permit.

That's not to say that you'll necessarily need it, but even if you are able to rent a car using your foreign license, it's likely that if you were pulled over by the Police for any reason that they would not accept it if it's not in English.

The other reason for getting an International License is if your normal license does not have a photo on it. Most countries/states, including all in the US, have licenses with photos of them, so a license without a photo would likely be treated with suspicion.

At the end of the day, the laws are important here - but more important is how you are likely to be treated. Even if the letter of the law doesn't require it, it's still a good idea to carry an International Drivers Permit if any of the above conditions are true.

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