I have always traveled with the assumption that if you are able to rent a car in a foreign country and you have in all honesty provided them with the appropriate information, you are set to go.

The question on US licenses in Spain made me wonder if this is really a correct assumption. I know that it is possible to rent a camper in the US/Canada with a EU-B license, even if the total weight of the vehicle is higher the the 3500 kg allowed in Europe.

So, if I rent a car and the authorities in the end don't accept my license, can I blame the renting agency?

  • Of course you can "blame" the agency. What you probably want to know is whether you can hold them liable in some way. But now you are asking for legal advice, and for that you need a lawyer, not a Q&A site. Therefore I'm voting to close this as off-topic. (However, if the answer is "yes", I'll be really surprised.) Sep 11 '12 at 18:20
  • Why don't you ask the staff whether your license is suitable? Sep 12 '12 at 4:08
  • @AndrewGrimm That is the point, if I ask them they usually say that I'll be okay, but am I really
    – user141
    Sep 12 '12 at 10:02
  • @NateEldredge I still assume that this is the case, mainly based on the fact that rental agencies often have stricter rules (e.g. >21). I am only looking for an answer where the opposite actually happened. I could be wrong, but aren't most of the answers here experienced based?
    – user141
    Sep 12 '12 at 10:44

The rental agency cannot be held liable or "at blame," an international driving permit is required and will be asked for to rent a car in Spain. For example, here is what Europcar says: http://www.europcar.com/EBE/module/render/faq

In addition, the below is taken from the U.S. Embassy site for Spain: (which can be found here: http://madrid.usembassy.gov/citizen-services/faq-spain.html)

Q: Can I drive with my U.S. driver’s license in Spain?

A: U.S. citizens visiting Spain who want to drive in Spain must obtain an international driving permit prior to their arrival in Spain. An international driving permit (IDP) translates your state-issued driver’s license into 10 languages so you can show it to officials in foreign countries to help them interpret your driver’s license. The IDP is not valid by itself and must be carried with your driver’s license. More information on driving overseas.

U.S. citizens who are residents of Spain must obtain a valid Spanish driver’s license. At this time, there is no agreement between the United States and Spain for the validation of a U.S. driver’s license; therefore, holders of a U.S. license must attend a Spanish driving school and take the Spanish exam. You can find more information on the Spanish Minister of the Interior’s website.


In all cases I know of you are always responsible.

"It is your responsibility to know the laws in effect where are you are." I am not sure about US where there are lots of weird stuff going on, but I doubt it is any different there. Pleading ignorance and blaming others for not educating you usually doesn't work in the face of the law ;)

  • 3
    Is this an assumption or do you know this for fact?
    – user141
    Sep 11 '12 at 17:09
  • @Andra as I said, "In all cases I know of...", and that's exactly what I mean. I know that pleading ignorance in Sweden does not work. And I also said I am not sure about US law, just that I believe it is the same. So I guess you can call it an assumption.
    – Alendri
    Sep 11 '12 at 18:21
  • In that case I am giving a -1. I prefer to have some real answers. I never indicated that I was pleading ignorance. I only want to know how valuable the rigorous checking by renting agencies actually is.
    – user141
    Sep 11 '12 at 19:13
  • @Andra My bad, I misunderstood what you were looking for, I just attempted to answer the "can I blame the renting agency?" part. As far as what their responsibilities are I have no clue, sorry.
    – Alendri
    Sep 12 '12 at 9:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy