My wife and I are German citizens. I am 60 and my wife is 55. We will be staying in Florida for 1 month and we would like to know if our German driving licence would be good enough to rent a car for 1 month or do we also need an International Driving Permit (IDP)? Are there any maximum age restrictions to rent a car in the USA?
German driving licence would be good to rent a car for 1 month or do we need an international driving licence?
You can usually rent a car and drive with a valid driver's license from your home country in USA. An international license may be helpful in convincing the car rental agent that you really have a valid license when they cannot recognize or understand your license.
From the official USA.GOV:
If you intend on getting an IDP, you must do so in advance of your travel:
- The United States does not issue IDPs to foreign visitors. To get an IDP, contact the motor vehicle department of the country that issued your driver's license.
- If you want to rent a car, you may need both your license and an IDP. Find out the rental company's policies and other requirements in advance."
Also From Florida HIghway Safety And Motor Vehicles:
Visiting from another country?
Visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here are required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from their country of residence.
If renting a car while visiting Florida, we suggest you check with the rental car company prior to your visit to see what they require. However, it’s our understanding that rental car companies have not changed their procedures or requirements for having a valid driver license from any state, U.S. territory or foreign country.
Similarly when we look at rental car company requirements because it is recommendation from official USA.GOV website we get the following result:
1 Enterprise :
Customers traveling to the United States and Canada from another country must present the following:
- Their home country driver's license, and
- If the home country license is in a language other than English (or French, for rentals in Canada) and the letters are English (i.e. German, Spanish, etc.) an International Driver's Permit is recommended, but not required, for translation purposes in addition to the home country license.
- If the home country license is in a language other than English and the letters are not English (i.e.alphabet is not an extended Latin-based alphabet like German or Spanish but is Russian, Japanese, Arabic, etc.) an International Driver's Permit is required.
Also when we look at another rental car company Hertz, we also get the same recommendation:
" If the driver's license is in a language other than English, and the rental is in the United States, an International Driver's Permit is recommended. In all cases, a valid driver's license issued from your home country must be provided, whether or not you possess an International Driver's Permit. You will not be allowed to rent a Hertz vehicle with only an International Driver's Permit."
Therefore, your German drivers licence would be acceptable licence in USA, however you will also need an international driver permit (IDP) because it is recommended by both USA.GOV and by car rental companies. Also you need a valid credit card in order to rent a car in USA.
Any age restrictions to rent a car in USA?
No. Provided you have a current valid driving license. There is additional surcharge for younger drivers under the age of 25, for both of you with the age of 60 and 55 there would be no problem for renting a car in Florida and USA.
Source: US Car Hire
We rented a car in Chicago O'hare International airport this summer from Avis car. When we made a car rental booking from Germany, we received an email that German driver licence and an international driver licennce (for translation) would be required upon booking along with a credit card as a security deposit. We were also asked to present our German driver licence and international licence at car rental at airport, also they made a photo copy and returned those immediately and made an authorization on our credit card before lending the car.
Speaking as a citizen of Florida, the are three answers.
- Yes you can drive with just your German licence provided it is valid. If you license has any restrictions on age or medical needs (like glasses) you have to comply with those. But, as a general rule, if you can drive in Germany you can drive here in the same license.
- There are no age restrictions in Florida. There are "health" restrictions, but they are really just common sense. You must be able to see. You must not have a medical condition that would effect your driving (like frequently passing out). But that said, no one would know if you have an issue unless you volunteer it. There's no screening, or anything unless you get into an accident.
- As for renting a car, you will need to check directly with the rental company. There is no law that says you can not. Only company policies. Most around here have no problem. Some may, specially smaller ones, but your "chain" ones like Avis, Enterprise, etc. Likely wont.
Good answers already. Just to add some personal experience since I got all three licenses: German, US and International.
- I have driven with my German license in the US
- I have driven with my US license in Germany
- I have driven with either one in about a dozen other different countries
- I have NEVER driven with or used my international license anywhere.
These days I pretty much use my US license exclusively simply because it's the smallest and easiest to carry around.
@Ali Awan already gave a comprehensive answer, but I would like to add this:
The credit-card like EU drivers license document indeed uses numbers to label the fields, but there also footnotes. I guess "Name" and "Vorname" can also be understood by non german speaking Americans, "Geburtsdatum" (date of birth) also is some kind of obvious. Together with your passport, it should be clear. Since the vehicle classes are labeled with pictograms, an American should be able to verify your EU drivers license.
This german site states about the USA that
- most rental companies are quite relaxed about an EU license only, but some won't accept it.
- Kentucky, Georgia and Florida have a low tolerance to foreign drivers licenses
- Police in general has very low tolerance
Personally, I was in Illinois and didn't think about an international license, but the company didn't even ask. But since that site mentions Florida, I wouldn't risk it.
Further more, with your age, you still might have that large, gray drivers license document, which for sure will not be accepted. When you get the international drivers license, your old license will also be exchanged with the new EU document.
(I wrote about the international drivers license, but of course, this document is just a supplement, you'll need your original license document, too.)