For all our customers, we want to help prepare you for renting a car and driving in Greece. You don’t want to realize at the last minute that you need an international driver’s license for a car rental at the Athens airport and that you won’t be able to receive your rent a car.
Important Update for Renting a Car in Greece: As of November 5, 2021, driving licenses issued by Australia, Canada, Gibraltar, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America are recognized for renting a car in Greece. Individuals who hold a valid national driving license from these countries will no longer need an international driving permit to be able to rent a car and drive in Greece. Further, visitors who have a valid license from a European Union country, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, also do not need an international driving permit for a car rental. The Greek law stating the recognition of these national driver's licenses is found in Law 4850, Article 25, Paragraph 3, published in the Greek Government Gazette A 208 dated November 5, 2021.
Questions and Answers about Car Rental in Greece and the Need for an International Driver's Permit
Question: What is an IDP, and why do I require it if I have a valid driver’s license from my country to rent a car in Athens, Greece?
Answer: An International Driving Permit is regulated by the 1949 United Nations Convention on Road Traffic, written in 10 languages, and serves as an officially recognized translation of a domestic driver’s license into many languages. An IDP allows the holder to drive a car rental vehicle in Greece and any country or jurisdiction that recognizes the document. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a requirement to legally rent a car in Greece. It is mandatory to accompany your valid domestic driver's license with an IDP at the time of receiving your car rental. The UN itself does not issue driving permits and uses authorized travel associations to administer the service. A passport-size booklet is administered, verifying that the motorist has a valid driver's license from his or her permanent place of residence.
Question: I am a US citizen and I have a valid Texas driver’s license. Do I need an International Driver's Permit to rent a car at the Athens Airport?
Answer: “U.S. citizen tourists and temporary residents with stays less than six months and a valid United States driver’s license can drive in Greece with their U.S. license.” Quoted from the website of the US Embassy in Greece. You may find more detail via the following link: https://gr.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/driving-in-greece/.
Question: I have rented a car in Italy, and they do not require that I have an international driver's permit to rent a car.
Answer: Laws can vary between countries, so you will need to make sure your license is acceptable or if you need to accompany it with an International Driver’s License for a car rental in Greece.
Question: What is the difference between an IDL and an IDP?
Answer: An international driver’s license (IDL) is also commonly known as an international driving permit (IDP). The term IDL is often misused when referring to an international driving permit. An international driving permit is a document containing an official translation of your national driving license.
Question: Why does your car rental company require the IDP and some other car rental companies do not require the permit?
Answer: Some car rental agencies do not require an international driver’s permit to rent a car at the airport in Greece. Many customers find themselves in a situation where they have traveled to their destination country, unaware that they should have obtained an international driver’s license in their home country. It may be the case that some car rental agencies are ill-informed or neglectful and agree to provide a car rental to travelers without disclosing the many problems that may occur if one is driving without the proper documentation in Greece. If an individual drives without an IDP, they may face high fines and/or be responsible for all expenses in the event of an accident. The latest Greek Traffic Law (May 14, 2018) stipulates that both the driver (renter) and the car rental company will be fined 1,000 euros each for this violation.
Question: Can you provide me with some of the countries that do not require the IDP to rent a car in Athens Airport?
Answer: A domestic driver’s license from the following countries does not need an international driver's permit and is acceptable: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. This list is periodically subject to updating; please confirm before traveling and renting a car in Greece.
Question: Where can I get my IDP from and how much does it cost?
Answer: In most countries, an IDP is issued by automobile associations or accredited online providers. The International Driver's Permit can be obtained in person or via postal mail. Some examples include AAA (the American Automobile Association), CAA (the Canadian Automobile Association), AAA (the Australian Automobile Association), ATC UAE (the Automobile & Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates), NAF (the Norwegian Automobile Federation) in Norway, and Riksförbundet M Sverige in Sweden, to name a few. Check your local automobile associations or apply for an IDP online before traveling and renting a car in Greece.
Question: Can I use my IDP instead of my driver’s license?
Answer: The IDP is not an official identification document and cannot be used as a replacement for a valid driver's license to rent a car in Greece. It is often required by car rental companies and frequently requested by traffic authorities to show your foreign driver's license.
Question: I am renting a car from the Athens airport, and I do not have an IDP. Can you make an exception?
Answer: No IDP, no car rental, and there may be no exceptions, so make sure you obtain your international driver's permit. The Greek Traffic Police does not accept a non-EU license independently (aside from the list of accepted licenses), so it is required that an International Driver's Permit accompany your valid domestic driver's license to rent a car from the Athens International Airport and other locations throughout Greece.
Question: How can I be sure I do not need an IDP?
Answer: The International Driver's Permit needs to be in the standard format of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, which is accepted in over 150 countries. The IDP is not needed in some cases, as your destination country may recognize your driver's license as valid on its own. The best way to confirm if you require an IDP is to contact your destination country's traffic authorities and confirm if you require an IDP to rent a car in Greece.
Question: My local driver’s license is in Arabic; can I use it to rent a car at Athens airport?
Answer: If your driving license is not in the Roman alphabet, you are required to bring both an international driving permit and your domestic license. In which case, an international driving permit may be required along with the customer's domestic license.
We hope that we have provided you with all the information required concerning the International Driver's Permit and renting a car in Greece. Check if you require an international driving permit (IDP) for a car rental prior to your arrival. If you still have questions or require additional information, we're more than glad to provide you with assistance. We will also continue to update the Q&A section with your requests to ensure hassle-free car rental travel in Greece.