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International Driver's License

Do you need one for Greece?

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Greek rental car

Greek rental car - clearly labelled for the benefit of Greek drivers.

Photo of Greek rental car by deTraci Regula; licensed to About.com
If you are planning on driving a car in Greece, you may want to get an International Driver's License, more correctly known as the International Driving Permit.

Technically, Greek car rental and motorcycle rental agencies are supposed to require an International Drivers License, but in practice, standard driver's licenses are routinely accepted. But technically, Greek law requires that you have the offical International Driving Permit to show along with your own driver's license.

If you are stopped by the Greek traffic police, the automatic translation provided by the international license may make things go just a little bit more smoothly. Think about it - you respond better to materials printed in your own language, and the international driver's license provides that courtesy to the Greek officer who may be deciding your fate. The permit and original license must be shown together, so bring your license with you.

Applying for an International Drivers Licence

In the United States, only two organizations are empowered to issue international driving permits. They are the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National Automobile Club (NAC).

To apply, you need to fill out the application, pay the current fee, and provide two passport-sized photographs and a copy of your state-issued driver's license. The photos do not need to be the same as your passport photograph, but if you are also applying for a passport, it's convenient to order extra copies to use for visas to other nations or for situations like this. If you go through a major AAA office, they can usually take the photo for you at the time you apply.

You do not have to be a member of either the AAA or the NAC to get your IDP issued through them. But read the individual instructions carefully as the application process varies slightly for each organization.

The International Driving Permit can only be issued up to six months before your trip, so it isn't something you can get far ahead of your departure date. Once you have the permit, it's good for one year as long as your regular license is still valid for that period.

AAA Application Instructions

NAC Application Instructions.

These are the only two US-based groups who are legimiately offering the official International Driving Permit. Any other offers are not providing the official document, and may not be accepted if you need to show it.

United Kingdom citizens go through the AA for their "licence".
Canadian citizens can go through the CAA
US Department of State - Road Safety Overseas
Traffic and Road Safety in Greece

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