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?

  • Where are you renting the car?
    – Karlson
    Feb 27, 2014 at 21:21
  • Either San Francisco or LA airports - depending on flights.
    – Sarah
    Feb 27, 2014 at 22:15
  • Does it say Novice Permit anywhere on his license?
    – Karlson
    Feb 27, 2014 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, 2014 at 16:59
  • This seems relevant: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/16968/… Mar 1, 2014 at 1:01

3 Answers 3


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.

  • 1
    A class 7 BC licence is not a learner's permit. It is a "novice" or "new driver" permit that comes with extra limitations. You can drive alone with one, for example, but not with more than one passenger. Apr 24, 2017 at 4:15
  • As a canadian you should know the difference between a learner license and a new driver's license
    – njzk2
    Mar 2, 2019 at 3:22

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: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Motor-Vehicles.shtml.

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.

See: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/documents/international-driving-permit

  • You should not run into any trouble renting a Car. - Can you elaborate?
    – Karlson
    Feb 28, 2014 at 20:45
  • 3
    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, 2014 at 20:49
  • 4
    This doesn't address what seems to be the main question, which is whether the restricted license will be an issue. Mar 1, 2014 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.

  • 1
    your sign? In Canada (certainly in Ontario) learners do not have a sign to display. And what is an N? Mar 7, 2016 at 17:46

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