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International Drivers Permit

Jim Zurer

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
In a recent phone call with AutoEurope, I was advised that AutoEurope rentals will now require drivers to show an IDP at the time of rental....in the past, the IDP had been encouraged but not required. Has anyone else heard that?
That is news to me. I have always had an IDP but have never (ever) showed it at a rental office or anywhere else. We last rented through Autoeurope in April and May 2018 (both Eurocar and Hertz) and were never asked to show it.


100+ Posts
My husband almost always gets an IDP but he has never been asked for it at the rental office - we always book with AutoEurope and normally end up with EuropCar or Avis. On one trip, probably around 10 years ago, when he did not get one we were stopped at a Carabinieri random stop in southern Tuscany where they pulled over about 75% of cars and asked for ID, My husband gave his US drivers license and we told them we were American tourists and where we had come from that day and were going to - were sent on our way with no other questions. I believe it is technically illegal to drive without an IDP in Italy if you only have a US drivers license.


100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I have an upcoming AE booking with Europcar, and the voucher says
"An International Drivers license is mandatory for any non-European license or any license which is not in the Roman alphabet, must presented in addition to home license." That's a copy and paste that's off grammatically, in addition to it not officially being called a "license." In my last few AE rentals made with Hertz, the wording was odd but seemed to say it was only mandatory for non-Roman-alphabet licenses.
The issue may not be with the rental companies but with Italian law. Our experience living here is the laws for driving are numerous and not always enforced UNTIL something goes wrong. The IDP issue may not be a problem until you are either stopped in a regular check by the police and asked for your IDP, or worse case something happens (accident) and the police require you to show an IDP.

They are inexpensive and easy to obtain, and sounds like from the rental contract wording you have been warned...just in case ;)
We were stopped a couple of years ago in a random roadside check and the police immediately asked for our IDP. Have never been asked to produce it at a car rental counter, but would not risk traveling without it.
We always get an IDP, and have been stopped randomly twice in the Tuscan Countryside over the years. They DO ask to see our IDP, so I think it's a good idea to get one. We always get ours through the Triple A office. We are not members, but they have never turned us away.
On a visit to Siena last October, we were told by the Budget rental agent when we arrived at the rental counter that no rental was possible without an IDP. I have always gotten one "just in case" but did not this time as 2 others wanted to do the driving and that seemed to be enough. But one of those two had only her British DL, no IDP because she's never been asked for one before. No go. We wound up with only one driver, because he had taken my advice and had an IDP... wish I'd gone ahead and gotten one for myself, would have made the trip a bit easier.


100+ Posts
Wow - thanks for all the reports that an IDP is now seems to be required. Run to AAA will be added to the pre-trip checklist.
From AutoEurope: "An international driver's permit in Italy is required by law if you plan to operate a vehicle in Italy - whether you're renting a car in Italy or booking an international rental which will take you briefly across the Italian border. Once you arrive in Italy you will be ineligible to obtain the license, so it is important that you do so before departing on your trip. We recommend that you apply for an IDP at least one month before you need it. "
hi Jim
ROFL the thread that never dies. All the way back to 1998 and the aol Italy travel board.
Last summer both Hertz and Auto Europe asked to see our IDP at Gatwick. We were also asked for it in Dublin. That spring we were stopped twice at various points by various italian government entities. The Garda Finanza in one case! We were always asked to show the IDP.
italy is not a signatory to the international agreement where countries accept each others drivers licenses.
Save yourself potential hassle. Believe me the last people in the world you want to deal with is the US embassy in Italy. Thats assuming you can get them to answer their phone.

The Hertz in Siracusa required it when I rented there in 2012. I saw someone turned away that didn't have one. They also insisted in it in Athens last year. The Hertz in Florence barely glanced at it this July. I think it's better to have it just in case as it seems to be required but also random as to who enforces it.


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