The Necessary Documents and Requirements for Driving in Europe

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There’s nothing as exciting as a European driving holiday! Driving through the stunning landscapes and soaking up the sights, sounds, and the many rich and varied cultures of Europe is an experience like no other. Whether you’re going on a short business trip or an extended holiday, you need to be aware of what documents you must take with you and what the requirements are to legally drive in Europe. Even the process of renting a car can be difficult if you don’t have the right paperwork! 

Hire a car with Europcar and we’ll do our best to ensure you can experience everything that Europe has to offer. Our friendly customer service team is always happy to help with any questions or issues you might have during your European driving holiday. 

We’ve put together this quick guide on the necessary documents and requirements for driving in Europe. Take a look and make sure that you start off your European adventure the right way.

What Documents Do You Need to Drive Through Europe?

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If you’re an EU citizen, then all you need is your driving licence, as long as it’s valid. If you have a visa in an EU country or are a permanent resident of an EU country, then you’ll need to have a valid driving licence from your current country of residence. 

For non-EU citizens, the rules are a little more involved. Some countries in the European Union will accept a driving licence from your country of origin, while others will require you to have a document known as an International Driving Licence (IDL). If you’re not from an EU country and plan on driving through the continent, then it’s a good idea to get an IDL just to be on the safe side. Technically, UK citizens don’t need an IDL, but you may if you have a paper driving licence or a licence that was issued in Guernsey, Gibraltar, Jersey, or the Isle of Man. Obtaining an IDL is a simple and inexpensive process, so it’s better to get one and then you won’t have to worry. 

To get an IDL you must be 18 or older and hold a valid driving licence. Applying involves paying a small fee, filling in a form, and submitting your application along with two passport-sized photos. You can apply for an IDL at the Post Office or via motoring and automobile associations. Usually, you can get your IDL over the counter right away or in a few days via the post. 

Keep in mind that an IDL is not a replacement for your driving licence, although it is a valid form of identification. Always carry your driving licence and your IDL with you when driving abroad. 

The additional documents you need when driving through Europe are your passport, or your national ID card if you’re an EU citizen. EU permanent residents and visa holders should carry their residence permits and visas. Non-EU citizens will need a passport valid for at least three months after the date you are leaving the EU and issued in the last ten years. Depending on your country of origin, you may need a visa to enter the EU. 

What Are the Requirements for Renting a Car in Europe?

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To be legally allowed to rent and drive a car in the EU, you must be at least 18 years of age and hold a current driving licence issued from the country where you reside. Your driving licence must be valid for at least the duration of your stay. 

All rental cars in the EU must be covered by third-party liability insurance. Make sure that you have the rental documentation of your car close at hand, as this will have all the insurance details on it should any authorities wish to see them. If you are going to drive your rental car from the EU to a non-EU country, for example, Switzerland, then you need to let your car rental company know so they can arrange for the right registration plates. 

How Europcar Can Make Your European Trip Easier

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Europcar makes car rental on the continent simple! You can arrange a car in advance via our website and pick it up at the airport when you arrive. Our friendly customer service team will assist you with all the details. There are 3835 Europcar locations in over 140 countries, so there’s sure to be an outlet at your destination!

H2 Easy Car Rental Solutions with Europcar

At Europcar, we’re all about helping people experience Europe the easy way. Take a look at our blog post on How to Organise Business Travel for great tips on getting ready for your next trip!

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