Driving License Requirements for Car Hire in USA

requirement for driving license to hire a car in the USA

What is the requirement for driving license to hire a car in the USA?

  • To rent a car in the United States, you need to have a valid driving license from your country of residence.
  • While a few car hire companies demand that your home country driving license must be one-year-old, there are some exceptions where your rental car company, for instance, ACE Rent a Car and Dollar Car Rental – may not make it a mandatory requirement.
  • Note that If you have been banned from driving in your home country, you are not eligible to hire a car in the United States.
  • Read further as we answer the most commonly asked questions about driver’s license requirement for the nationals of Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom (UK), China, Japan, and the European Union (EU).

Is a Canadian driving license valid in the USA?

Yes, as a citizen of Canada, you can rent and drive a car within the US borders, provided you have a valid Canadian driving license.

However, do not forget to get a prior authorization from your supplier if you want to cross an international border in a rental car from the USA.

Can I hire a car in the US with a Mexican driver’s license?

Yes, a valid Mexican driving license is all you need to hire and drive a car in the United States.

However, there could be a federally imposed time limit specifying the maximum duration for which you can continue to use your home country driving license in America.

Certain restrictions are in place for Mexican drivers on crossing an international border in a rental car from the USA.

Can I rent and drive a car in the US with a UK driver’s license?

A widely accepted rule is if an individual can legally drive a car in the UK, he/she can drive a rental car in the US. The same rule is applicable to driving bans, implying that you can hire and drive a car in America following the completion of driving ban in your home country.

Since 2015, the paper replica of a UK photo ID driving license is no longer a valid document in the USA. At present, a UK driving license comes in two forms – a simple photo ID or a paper license. Both these forms of licenses are accepted as a valid document to collect a rental car in the US.

Useful Information for UK Drivers

Obtaining a code from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is no longer required to hire a car in the USA.

Faxed copies from the DVLA or photocopies of the driving licenses are not accepted by rental car companies in the United States.

As the UK endorsements’ system on a driving license is not recognized by the United States, speeding tickets etc will not put a negative impact on the driver.

What is the driving license requirement for nationals of China and Japan?

As in the case of non-English speaking countries, drivers from China and Japan need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is also known as International Driving License (IDL), in addition to a valid driving license from their home country. Also, the existing driving license must be one-year-old with no major endorsements.

Do remember that the US Government does not issue IDLs or IDPs to foreign nationals. You will need to get in touch with the motor vehicle department of the country that issued your driving license. Besides carrying a cost, an IDP remains valid for one year from the date of issue.

Can we drive a rental car in the US with an EU driver’s license?

Yes, citizens of the EU nations with an EU driving license can hire and drive a car in the US. However, there are two important things that you, as a native of the EU, need to take care of.

Driving Licence With Roman Alphabets – If your home country driving license is printed in Roman alphabets, you are not required to present an IDP.

Driving Licence With Non-Roman Alphabets – If you belong to a non-English speaking country and your home country driving license is not printed in Roman alphabets, you are required to procure an IDP, in addition to your existing driving license.