Renting A Car With A Foreign License

We get this a lot: “ Hi, I’m from Ireland or Japan or Singapore or Jupiter or from wherever you are from and all I have is my Irish license. Is that ok? Do I need an international drivers license?”

Car Keys and Remote Foreign License Car Rentals

The short answer is YES and NO. YES you can use your Irish drivers license and NO, you do not need an international drivers license. That’s it. Plain and simple. As long as you can prove that you can legally drive in your country or on this planet, then you can rent foreign license car rentals in California. The International License charges with rental cars are a real scam. In most cases, it is expensive and unnecessary.

International Drivers License

While an international drivers license can be helpful for translation purposes, it isn’t required anywhere in California or the United States. Any rent a car company that tries to tell you different or charge you a fee for using the license from your country is not to be trusted. They are tacking on unnecessary fees.

Here it is in black and white, as quoted directly from the official California Vehicle Code section 14608(a):

  • A person shall not rent a motor vehicle to another person unless both of the following requirements have been met
  • The person to whom the vehicle is rented is licensed under this code or is a nonresident who is licensed under the laws of the state or country of his or her residence

There you have it. Try to be on the look out for foreign license car rentals and vehicle information close to your area. Have fun and be safe!