We will be in Australia for a few days and I was considering renting a car. Is a standard European license (we have Polish and Italian) good enough, or do we need "international driving license"? We live in London, so getting the latter one is a major obstacle.

  • 2
    Also see this question. travel.stackexchange.com/questions/441/… The accepted answer specifically talks about Australia.
    – Ray
    Feb 27, 2012 at 21:27
  • If your driving licence is in the new EU common format then it should be instantly recognised regardless of language. But bring the international driving permit anyway, just in case. May 26, 2015 at 5:29
  • @MichaelHampton Please note that this is not correct. Bringing the translation is not optional - it is a clear requirement in Australia. The Police might let you get away with it (I did on 2 occasions), but I was warned by the officer that I should have had an english translation and he could fine me for driving without a license.
    – Chris
    May 26, 2015 at 9:00

3 Answers 3


This is a common misconception. There is no such thing as an "International driver's licence". What you need is a "International Driver's Permit" which is a translation into multiple languages of your original licence, and is only valid when presented with said licence at the same time. The IDP does not give you any more rights to drive in a country than you had before (there's no tests or anything), but allows others to decipher your license.

According to Austroads (which was linked from an AU Government Site) it appears you do need an IDP, OR (and this may help you) an English translation (but also strangly seems to say you need an IDP if it is in English, but I think that's just a grammatical error).

Please be aware that a person who is driving in Australia must carry the overseas licence with them at all times whilst driving along with either an International driving permit OR an English translation if the overseas licence is not written in English.

Also note that each state can have different rules, so check here (archived link, information may not be current):

  • Ah OK. But do I need one for Australia? Our driver licenses are NOT in English sadly.
    – Grzenio
    Feb 27, 2012 at 21:03
  • @Grzenio, updated with official source. It appears you do, or a translation.
    – Ray
    Feb 27, 2012 at 21:24

Australia is liberal for renting cars - and a foreign (not necessarily, "international") license will suffice, as long as the credential can be deciphered. I would recommend purchasing insurance from the rental company for additional peace of mind. Lastly and most importantly, remember to look right :)

  • This might be true for renting the car - however, dealing with the police is another matter - they can demand a recognised translated version of your drivers license.
    – Chris
    May 26, 2015 at 8:56

A quick search on Google got me this info -

From About.com

If you’re a visitor and hold a valid driver’s licence (in English) from your own country, fine, you’re allowed to drive throughout all of Australia. (But an international driver's licence, if you have one, does not by itself give you the right to drive in Australia.)

If your driver's licence is not in English, a translation may be necessary and you may also need to have an international driver's licence.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .