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  1. #1
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    I know that you need an IDP (international drivers permit) for driving in Italy, but do I need one for England? The AutoEurope and AAA websites say you need one for all of Europe - but I know that it is law in some countries that visitors have and IDP issued from their country, but not it others.

    Does anyone have a link to a British government website that gives the answer to this?

  2. #2
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    I know that you need an IDP (international drivers permit) for driving in Italy, but do I need one for England? The AutoEurope and AAA websites say you need one for all of Europe - but I know that it is law in some countries that visitors have and IDP issued from their country, but not it others.

    Does anyone have a link to a British government website that gives the answer to this?

  3. #3


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    Pauline, here is the DVLA site that addresses driving in the UK as a visitor, but unfortunately, I didn't see this question specifically addressed.

  4. #4


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    Pauline - this is the site we would go to in England for an international licence (and yes, I believe you do need one for England) International drivers licence This appears to deal with international applications but you probably have something similar in the States.

  5. #5


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    P.S. Pauline and apologies - I think I may have given you wrong information because on "advice to students" (and they are no different to any other driver surely) on the DVLA site, I have found that they say "Students who hold a non-Community licence (i.e. YOU) or an International Driving Permit may drive here for up to 12 months" so it looks like you are OK for a year after all! I think you have to take a UK test after that to apply for a British licence.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for that link Kim! It had a link to a pamphlet which has had a link to this page on www.direct.gov.uk/Motoring/ which says that you can drive for 12 months on a foreign drivers license and does not mention the IDP.

    Felicity, we have the same types of IDP in the US as you have in the UK - and you have to have an IDP to drive in Italy. We always bring one to England, just because we usually have one from a recent Italy trip - but this time we don't have one, so I am trying to avoid having to renew it.

  7. #7
    My husband and I have rented cars in England several times, and our valid US drivers license is all that has been requested by the agencies. If this is the first time you're driving there (or on the left side of the road), you may want to ask for a learners "L" sign to hang in your rear window. It'll help you get a little more slack from native drivers.

  8. #8
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    We have rented cars several times in England. It is not the rental agencies that need the IDP - it is the police if you are stopped. At least that is how it is in Italy. You do not need the IDP when renting, but if you are stopped they frequently want to see it (it is a translation of your license).

    Probably in England they do not need it because they can read your license - still, I wonder if it is law that you need one. How is a policeman in the Cotswolds supposed to know what a legal New Mexico driver's license looks like?

  9. #9

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    I thought an IDP was just a translation of your license, so presumedly not needed in Britain. As for determining the legality of a New Mexico license, they'll probably look for the date. (And wonder why it's not written in Spanish.)

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Marianne:
    ... (And wonder why it's not written in Spanish.) </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    When people ask us where we are from, we say the United States. If they want to know which state, I say "New Mexico" and quickly follow it with, "next to Texas" (everyone has heard of Texas these days). That stops inevitable confusion of New Mexico with Mexico!! Well, it mostly stops it.

  11. #11


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    My husband and I just rented a car in March in Central London for a trip to the Cotswolds -- we used our US license. I have rented numerous cars in Europe and have never needed anything in addition.

  12. #12
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    It isn't when you are renting that you need your IDP, it is when you are stopped by the police. But we are here now and picking up our car tomorrow and did not get an IDP for this trip.

  13. #13
    International Drivers License is not really a license...it is just a translation of the information on your regular license into an internationally-recognized format.

    Here is a link to the US State Department's webpage concerning IDPs:

    State Dept.

    Since the IDP is a translation device, it really is not necessary or helpful for Americans driving in the UK.

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