When one goes to places like Avis (amongst others) to book a car it asks for the country of which you are a resident of and this does seem to change the price.

My question is, when they ask for "resident" do they really intend to ask people if they are official or permanent residents?

The Help isn't helping at all.

Please select the appropriate country of where you currently reside to ensure the appropriate surcharges and fees are applied and/or certain inclusions/exclusions are associated with your reservation. Certain surcharges and fees, such as GST and one-way fees vary by country and may be mandatory for residents in some countries. In addition to this, your selection will allow us to provide you with the most accurate rate information and total and will help eliminate delays at the rental counter.

I am a Indian citizen on an F1 visa and have been in US for over 7 years and have a US drivers license. Do I really tick "Indian" as country of residence since I don't have a Green Card?

  • 3
    I think you would use the common definition of "resident" - basically where you normally sleep at night. From your description, you definitely currently reside in the US. Having a drivers license reinforces that, as in most states only residents can get drivers licenses. May 11, 2015 at 23:56
  • 1
    Note that being a permanent resident just changes that you are residing permanently, it does not change your resident status (permanent or not, you are a resident).
    – Vince
    May 12, 2015 at 0:22
  • If you really think it matters, you need to get a definition, in writing, from whomever you are entering into an agreement with (eg. Avis). I've done this several times and usually there isn't actually a clear definition. In the case of ICBC, for example, their policy is to not define resident and defer to the court if/when the determination of residency is relevant (like to determine whether you're policy applies after an accident).
    – alx9r
    May 12, 2015 at 0:41
  • 3
    "Where you currently reside" could not be more clear. The OP resides in the US. May 12, 2015 at 2:25
  • I've always take this as a willingness to pay issue, or how to extract as much money out of you as possible. I've rented cars using Avis Romania's website if it was cheaper than Avis UK or Avis US.
    – Berwyn
    Jun 4, 2016 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


Resident means that you have US address where you normally reside. Since you have a driver's license, there is an address on it which will be accepted as proof of residency. That is usually the only document they ask for, plus a credit card to secure a deposit.

  • 1
    What are you basing this assertion on? I have never found the definition of resident to be anywhere near this straightforward.
    – alx9r
    May 12, 2015 at 0:33
  • @alx9r - There is a legal definition which is strictly defined but a drivers license suffices for rental agencies. Foreigners are often asked to provide a passport if they cannot provide a US drivers license. I have reserved dozens of times with Avis in various states and with other companies and have never seen them ask for more. Actually, even when reserving internationally, I have never been asked to prove my selection of Country of Residence in the reservation form.
    – Itai
    May 12, 2015 at 0:53
  • 2
    The legal interpretations of "resident" are manifold. Even the IRS and US Immigration use different interpretations of the word "resident". Providing the wrong country of residence won't stop you from renting a car, but it will certainly nullify insurance coverage and loss-damage waivers.
    – alx9r
    May 12, 2015 at 2:06

I do not consider that the matter is the driving license. The AVIS rate for US resident is 1179 USD, the rate for not US resident (for example the european resident) is 468 USD. Obviously with the same settings: car, rental options, protections/coverages, 8 days, etc.
The only difference is the "resident".
By looking at price details, the main difference is in Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) 115 USD for US resident versus zero (included) for european resident and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) 232 USD for US resident versus zero (included) for european resident.
I guess that the difference is the personal insurance that the not US resident should have when visiting US for business or as a tourist. That personal insurance normally covers ALI and LDW.


They ask for your residency to determine which country you likely have a driver's license from, the risk involved with drivers from that country in both accidents and fraud, the usefulness of personal auto insurance from that country and then this is used to determine which rates are available to you.

This can be beneficial in cases where citizens from high accident prone countries, now live in other countries with lower risk and have a DL from their new home, get to avoid paying the higher rates.

  • 1
    I doubt the basic premise, that they're fishing for where you might have another driver's licence. Have you any evidence that this is the case? After all, as others have commented, if you live in the US and have a US licence, you just put 'US' as residence and you're good to go. The Avis wording, 'where you currently reside' is crystal clear, and in the case of the OP, that would be the US. May 12, 2015 at 2:27
  • For starters no car rental company will provide with the exact reasons they offer different pricing, it is all a trade secret ... does McDonalds tell you why they charge more in the US than Thailand?
    – user13044
    May 12, 2015 at 4:08
  • And as I said, they use residency to determine where you likely have a license from ... ie if you claim US residency you likely have a US license, if you claim Bangladesh residency you likely have a Bangladesh license. I DID NOT say they use it to determine where ELSE you might have a license from. Read careful grasshopper.
    – user13044
    May 12, 2015 at 4:11
  • 1
    Like @CraigWelch, I reject your premise. In my case, the premise I reject is that rental companies are interested in "where you likely have a license from." They are uninterested in this because they know exactly where you have a license from, because they will not rent you a car unless you show your license to them.
    – phoog
    May 12, 2015 at 6:19
  • @phoog - Did you read the OPs quote ... they asked for that info because charges vary depending on your residency ... therefore they DO want to know your residency IN ADVANCE to quote you the correct rate.
    – user13044
    May 12, 2015 at 7:59

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