If you search on the internet for, ‘Do I need an International Driver’s License in Greece’ the vast majority of the information is out of date because of a change to Greek Law in November 2021, but also because of changing preferences of rental companies in some locations. In this most up-to-date article, you’ll learn exactly who does and doesn’t need an International Driving Permit (IDP) in Greece and why, even if you don’t legally need one, you may run into trouble without one.
- What’s the Difference between an International Driver’s License and an International Driving Permit?
- Who needs an International Driving Permit to drive in Greece and what does Greek Law state?
- Car Rental Agencies
- Scooter and ATV/Quad Bike Rentals
- What to do if I’ve forgotten to get an International Driving Permit?
- Am I eligible to get an International driving license?
- Frequently Asked Questions About International Driving Licence Requirements in Greece
What’s the Difference between an International Driver’s License and an International Driving Permit?
There’s no such thing as an International Driving license but when people use the term they are almost always referring to an International Driving Permit, or IDP which is simply a translation of your existing regular license so that you can legally drive in foreign countries.
An International driving license sounds like a lot of red tape and a hassle to get, but an international driver’s permit is simple, fast, and inexpensive to get so long as you already have a valid driver’s license in your home country.
Who needs an International Driving Permit to drive in Greece and what does Greek Law state?
In November 2021 there was a change to the number of countries that do not have to provide an international driver’s permit in order to legally drive in Greece if you are staying in the country for less than 6 months.
Greece recognizes the national licensing system of some countries as equivalent to the Greek system. In November 2021, the law was changed to recognize the American, Canadian, United Kingdom, and Australian licenses as equivalent to a Greek license.
This means that these countries join the list of European countries that don’t need to get an international drivers license (IDP) to legally drive in Greece.
This is the Greek Government website that lists the countries that don’t need an international driver’s permit: https://www.gov.gr/en/sdg/vehicles/acquiring-and-renewing-driving-licence/driving-license-recognition-and-validity/non-eu-driving-licenses-exchange-recognition
Greek law requires any foreign driver not on this list to produce an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in addition to your regular license.
Car Rental Agencies
Companies are able to set their own terms and conditions so even though you may not have to produce a valid international driving license if pulled over by police, you are most often not able to get a car rental as a foreign driver without an international driving permit.
Car rental agencies in the Greek islands are particularly resolute on this issue if you’re from any foreign country.
In fact, I’ve been told it’s not necessary to see my state-issued driver’s license, only my international driving permit, even though I don’t need an international driving permit under Greek law!
This selective interpretation of Greek law doesn’t just happen when renting cars or with car rental companies – it applies to any type of vehicle you want to rent in Greece.
My most recent adventures driving in Greece (it’s an adventure because I don’t ‘regularly’ drive on the right-hand side of the road), were with two reputable companies, one on Naxos Island and the other on Tinos Island, where I needed to show my International driving permit on both occasions.
On Tinos Island, I also had to show my regular driver’s license. And of course, you need to give your credit card because there’s usually a large security deposit they take from your card (€ 700!)
Scooter and ATV/Quad Bike Rentals
Again this is highly variable from one rental company to the next. On many islands, you are increasingly being asked for an International driving permit, such as on Corfu Island.
So again, even if you don’t come from a country where Greek laws require you to have an IDP, it is such an easy process to get one, it makes sense to do so.
What to do if I’ve forgotten to get an International Driving Permit?
Getting an international driving license in Greece is easy because there are several companies that offer an online service, so you can get an IDP from anywhere in the world quickly.
I can recommend the International Drivers Association. They are incredibly highly rated, they have unlimited replacements free of charge, and, best of all, 24/7 live chat with humans!
In addition, the downloads of the permits are available within eight minutes, and if you choose the print plus digital version, they have free worldwide shipping for the physical version of the documents that are super speedy.
You can check out their website here.
Am I eligible to get an International driving license?
That’s easy – two quick questions you need to answer “yes” to:
🚗 Are you 18 years or over?
🚗 Do you have a driver’s license?
If you answered yes to these two questions, you can have an international driver’s permit in 8 minutes and be renting a car straight after that!
Frequently Asked Questions About International Driving Licence Requirements in Greece
1. Do you need an international driver’s license to drive in Greece?
If you come from one of the countries that Greece recognizes as having an equivalent licensing system, and you are staying less than six months, then legally, you don’t need an international driver’s license to drive in Greece.
This includes American citizens.
However, the reality is that you will almost certainly be asked to produce an international driver’s license in Greece at a car rental company so it makes sense to get one before you leave as a failsafe.
2. Do Brits need an international driving Licence for Greece?
Legally, Brits don’t need an international driver’s license for Greece.
However, the terms and conditions of almost all rental agencies on both mainland Greece and especially on the Greek islands will require an international driving license, regardless of your home country and regardless of Greek Law.
It’s better just to get one before you leave – they’re fast, cheap and easy to get and they save you arguing with rental companies in Greece on your holiday.
3. Can I drive in Greece with EU license?
If you have an EU driving license, that is, you have a license from an EU country, then you can legally drive in Greece with your license, and without an International Driving Permit.
4. Do I need an international driver license for Santorini?
5. Can you drive in Greece as a tourist?
You can certainly drive in Greece as a tourist if you have a valid driver’s license from your home country and, if you have an international driving permit if you come from one of the countries that require one under Greek Law.
If you need to hire a car, scooter, quad, ATV, or other vehicle in Greece, you’ll need to check the minimum age requirements and you’ll most likely need to have an international driver’s permit (license).