Can I use my overseas drivers licence to hire a car in Australia?

Can I use my overseas drivers licence to hire a car in Australia?

We often get asked on our Facebook page and through our customer support line from overseas tourists as to whether we will or will not accept there drivers licence when renting a car with us. Short answer…. it really depends.

Just to give some background, laws and driving regulations differ from state to state for overseas drivers. The relevant road authorities in each state and territory provide information about driving with an overseas licence while visiting Australia and we suggest you check them out to be 100% sure you comply.

However to make things easier, we’ve stepped out our rental ID validation process that you can use to check to see if your licence will be accepted when renting a car here in Australia.

Step 1: Are you a temporary overseas visitor?

If you’re planning to stay for just a short period of less than 3 months, you can use your current overseas drivers licence when renting a car with Redspot (as long as it meets the below steps). If you are planning to stay a little longer, you will likely require to obtain a temporary overseas visitors licence from the state that you are residing in. This is more a road traffic authority requirement that a rental process requirement, but we like to look out for our customers rather then sending them into a potential fine or illegal driving act.

Step 2: Is your Licence written in English?

In order to rent a car from Redspot, you must have a English written overseas drivers licence. If you don’t; don’t freak out, all we need is a English translated document of your licence from your embassy or road traffic authority in your home country. Most will do these, and we see them come through a lot. We can then use this alongside your actual licence to complete the rental process.

Step 3: Is your drivers licence photo up to date?

Some countries don’t issue identification photos with there drivers licences (weird right?). Most countries do, but then there are some countries that issue drivers licences that never expire, meaning the photo of you when you are 17 is unlikely to look anything like you now that you are clearly now over 60. No matter what, we will need to identify you against a legal document that has your photo that looks like you and has your name on it. Whether this is your passport (easiest option), a credit card with your photo ID on it, or a government agency ID, as long as we can tell its you, we’ll accept it no problems.

Step 4: Is your drivers licence home address up to date?

Now this part is very important. Often people forget to update there licence details when they move. I’ve done it, we’ve all likely done it. And then there are some drivers licences that don’t actually display your home address at all.

In both these cases, we ask for a utilities bill/bank statement or something similar that clearly shows your full name as well as your current home mailing address. Without this, we have no way to send you any potential lost property you left in the car, as well as any traffic infringements that you might have incurred on your road trip.

Step 5: Am I allowed to drive this car?

If your drivers licence in your home country only allows you to drive a specific size vehicle, the same will apply in Australia. For example if your drivers licence only allows you to drive 4 cylinder vehicles back home, you are not going to be able to hire a 6 cylinder vehicle during your trip to Australia. If you do, your risking a potential hefty fine from local law enforcement offices if caught and may have to appear in court.

Unsure still?

At the end of the day, if you are still unsure, you are probably best just to organise an international drivers Permit (IDP). They are slightly larger than a passport, have also a multi-language translation of the drivers licence and is complete with your up to date photo ID, as well as other useful information. Its also honored as a valid drivers licence throughout most countries globally, so if you have the travel bug and plan to tick off many countries its probably a good asset to have.

These can be obtained at a cost from your countries road transportation authority or national auto club.

 Need a rental car?

Redspot Car Rentals is an Australian owned and operated car rental company with locations at airports and downtown throughout Australia. If you are looking for a great deal on a rental car, check our our car rental deals page or subscribe for future deals via our email newsletter subscription.