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In British Columbia, Canada, there are two road tests that we have to pass and theory test in order to get a full drivers licence. We must pass the theory test, wait one year, pass a first road test, wait two years and then pass a second road test.

In between the two road tests, we have a N driving license. It allows one to drive unsupervised with the following 4 restrictions:

  • No blood alcohol
  • Display N sign
  • No electronic devices
  • Limit one passenger

See the ICBC website for more info. I could not find any general information about driving in a foreign country.

I will spend two weeks in Chile this summer and I'll only have a Canadian N driving license. Will I likely be allowed to rent a car and drive?

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While you may be considered a novice under Canada's graduated licensing system, you still have a driving license and are allowed to drive on your own. With that, you should be able to rent a car in Chile, as long as you meet the requirements there, as well as those of the car hire company.

Some require that you have an International Driving Permit, which you obtain through the Canadian Automobile Association. Note that the only license excluded is that of a learner's level, which should reassure you about your own license. You can use any Canadian Provincial or Territorial drivers licence to obtain the IDP.

In general, to hire a car in Chile, drivers must be at least 21 years old and have held their license for over a year. However, the age requirement varies, is higher with some companies, a some levy a young drivers' surcharge.

Sixt, for example, has a minimum age of 21 for its rentals in Chile.

  • The renter and the driver have to be in possession of a valid driving license.
  • International drivers also need an international driver's license and a valid passport.

In Chile, Avis and Budget are the same company, with the same requirements:

  • Be 22 years old at the time of removal.
  • Present your current driver's license and fit the handling of the leased vehicle.
  • Submit your identity card. If you are a foreigner, you must present your passport or ID along with your international driver's license as the case may be.

Chilean Rent-A-Car

  • Minimum age for all drivers: 23.
  • A valid driver’s license and passport for each driver. (An international permit is not necessary to drive in Chile)

EuropCar

  • Over 22 years old.
  • Identity Card or Passport: Validly issued and in force at the time of vehicle return
  • License validity at the time of the lease term and valid driver's vehicle reserved.

Alamo

  • Be over 25 years old, have your identity card or current passport, driver's license and bank credit card.

Among other tips on the the very useful guide on Rhinocarhire.com to driving in Chile

The Automóvil Club de Chile in Santiago can supply comprehensive road maps of Chile and you can contact them by phone on (2) 431 1000 or via their website at www.automovilclub.cl. If you are using car hire Chile then you need to have a credit card as a guarantee. A 20% tax is added on all rental vehicles.

And several notes while driving as a tourist in Chile:

  • always carry your passport and entrance card (if applicable)
  • make sure you have adequate insurance including for windscreen damage, which can be expensive.

And from Canada.com, a recommendation:

Although you can rent a car and drive with a Canadian driver's licence, it is recommended that Canadians visiting Chile for fewer than 90 days drive with an International Driving Permit, as your insurance may refuse to settle a claim for driving without a valid international permit.

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