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I am traveling to Italy in 6 weeks and would like to rent a car.

I passed my driving license in Norway in November last year, all rental companies I have contacted require you to have held your license for a minimum of one year before renting a car.

Is this a legal requirement?

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All the Italian companies I've checked requires the driver to be at least 21 years old and a driving license held for at least an year, claiming that the second one is a European requisite. Problem is, I can't find the exact law anywhere.

But given my long personal experience with renting car, I can tell you that if all the major companies are doing it then they all must have a good reason to do it.


I made some more research, and I cannot find anywhere the normative that rental companies are referring to; mostly because the just say (when they say it) that it's a European thing without any reference at all.

But I've found a possible explanation: there are many limits in place for drivers younger than 21 years old and/or with a driver license held from less than a year, at least in Italy (I found the law reference in their Driving Code). Basically if you fall into those two categories you need a special (more expensive) insurance and can drive only de-powered cars (plus other small tibidids).

That would make really complicate for rental companies to rent cars, because they would have to keep some car only for young and/or new drivers, with a more expensive insurance and a different engine. Now, I don't know if this applies to the entire Europe or not, and in which way...

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    E.g. Sixt operates with very different regulations in different European (EU?) countries. In Austria and Germany, you must have held your driver's license for at least one day. In France it is two years and in Spain three years. There is obviously no EU wide regulation on this subject. Jun 12, 2017 at 8:27
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    I agree with Tor-Einar, I have seen different regulations for different countries. I am wondering specifically about Italy. I have also read in several places that a surcharge can be paid to bypass some of these requirements. Jun 12, 2017 at 8:34
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    Not sure how reliable this link is, but according to europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/vehicles/cars/car-rental-abroad/… there is no EU Wide regulations regarding Car Hire. Jun 12, 2017 at 8:37
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    Why would the policemen fine him? For being a new driver? For driving without the rental company's permission? Both are civil violations that are settled in court, not by traffic police.
    – JonathanReez
    Jun 12, 2017 at 9:30
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    No. My responsibility is to ensure I am legally entitled to drive. I hold a full EU driving license, therefore I am fully entitled to drive almost anywhere in the world. I also need to ensure I have valid insurance, when I rent a car from a car hire firm that car is rented with full insurance. If there is a clause which means I am not entitled to drive the car then it is the rental companies responsibility to ensure they do not rent the car to me. Jun 13, 2017 at 6:51

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