I am traveling to Spain in summer and plan to rent a car online (Sixt, Avis, Budget etc.). I have a Tunisian driving license plus an international version (which is just some worldwide recognized translation). The problem is that my name on the passport is "Mehdi" but when translated from Arabic it can be either "Mehdi" or "Mahdi". Unfortunately, when my driving license was issued several years ago, the name "Mahdi" was written on it. Since I don't live in Tunisia, I didn't really have time to fix that. How strict are regulations when it comes to one character difference? Would I have problems when picking up the car? What is better to do, write "Mahdi" or "Mehdi" when booking a car online?
This is unlikely to present a problem.
- The passport and driving licence have nearly identical names and matching photos, which offers strong proof that you have the right to drive in Spain.
- The fact that names can be translated differently into English is fairly well known. And if anyone raises this as a concern you can argue convincingly that the names are not actually different, only the translation is different.
- The person reviewing this will be a low-level employee at the rental car desk, who, in my experience, is unlikely to be a stickler about these sorts of things. They will probably just dutifully copy your documents without noticing or caring about the discrepancy.
However, if you want to be completely sure, contact the rental company in question.
I'm not sure which name would be better to enter on the application. It may be best to choose the drivers' licence, as suggested by a commenter, but I don't have any real basis for that. I would perhaps choose based on the proximity to other information when filling out the online form.