Can You Use An American Driver’s License In Europe?

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Commonly, each country will have some particular rules when it comes to official documents like ID, passport, and driving license. Therefore, if you are planning to travel to some other country, you should read more about these requirements.

For example, if you want to rent a car after getting there, keep in mind that not all countries will recognize your existing driver’s license. In that cases, you will need an international driving permit. You can read more about this document here.

Moreover, be aware that things can be much different on the roads outside of the US. If you are planning to visit Europe, be sure to research the vehicles you want to rent, especially if you never drove a manual. This type of transmission is most common in Europe.

Besides that, the streets are not as wide as it is the case in the US. They are using the kilometers instead of miles, while most of the signs on roads are the same. Also, the validity of your license depends on where you are planning to travel. We are going to analyze more on this topic in the following article.

Where You Can Use Your License?

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There is not a great list of countries that are recognizing the US license as a valid document. When it comes to Europe, there are only several options available, and these are Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.

It is quite convenient since you won’t need to deal with more papers. However, if you are planning to extend your trip and visit some other European place as well, there are no other countries where you could drive the car without the additional document called International Permit.

Besides these several countries from Europe, there are only two more where you could drive without the additional document as well, and they are Canada and Mexico. Therefore, if you are planning to go on adventure through central and south America with your vehicle, international driving license will be necessary.

How To Get International License?

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The process of getting it is quite simple. All you need to do is to visit the website and fill out the form. You will need only a couple of minutes of that. The main advantage is that there is a system that connects more than 150 countries where you can drive by having this document.

Still, it is crucial to learn more about the requirements whenever you are planning to drive in some other country to be sure that it is part of this system. For example, if you want to visit China, you will need their license to drive.

Learn More About The Laws In Europe

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After getting the valid document that allows you to drive in Europe, there are some other important things to learn about the old continent as well. We already mention the difference in common transmission.

The fact is that most Europeans are driving manual vehicles. It might be a problem for you if you don’t check the car you want to rent, and end up by getting the manual shift. Even though it is not that complicated even if you never tried it, the problem is that you won’t be so safe on the road. In that matter, always be specific that you want an automatic.

Moreover, we also mentioned the roads. They can be much narrower when compared to those in the US. That might make it more difficult for you to relax and enjoy while driving. Also, you should get used to a lot of traffic roundabouts all over Europe. It is quite simple and efficient way to resolve traffic jams.

Pay attention to speed limits. The penalties are much higher here, especially for foreign citizens. The average speed limit is 130 kph, unless you go to Germany and drive on famous Autobahn, where there are no speed limits at all.

Furthermore, there could be some differences in the age required for renting a vehicle, and that might also lead to different prices. For instance, if you recently turned 18, you are eligible to rent a vehicle, but keep in mind that some agencies might refuse to provide you with one, or they will ask for an additional security fee that can be over $30 per day.

Besides that, drivers who recently got their licenses can drive only during day time, between 6 am and 11 pm. IN case you are planning to drive to Greece from some Central-European country, you will need to pass a couple of borders as well, the Serbian and north Macedonian. Passing through these countries will require some additional expenses for toll fees.

Don’t be surprised with the prices of gas as well. Even before the crisis that we are facing at the moment, where the gallon costs over $5 in some states, it was common that the gas in most European countries was over $1.5 per liter. That is one of the reason why they prefer smaller and more efficient vehicles, with less powerful engines and manual transmission.

Last Words

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The key is to read more about the requirements of some country before getting there. Also, even if you are planning to visit a place where your current license is valid, be sure that you won’t change your plans and change the location to some other country. In that cases, your might won’t be able to drive unless you have a valid document.

The main issue is that most countries will require drivers to already have the international permit upon arriving. Therefore, the only remaining alternative would be to get a local license, but it can be time consuming and expensive. It is a good solution only for those who are planning to stay for a longer time. The standard international paper can be valid for up to three years, which also depends on the laws in the particular country. For example, you can use one for only one year in Spain.