Edit: This article was written with US travelers in mind – all EU licenses can be used in Greece without needing an IDP.
Greece is a very popular tourist destination and has been increasing in its attraction over the last couple of years. It is a beautiful place that mixes beautiful beaches, iconic sceneries, and historical locations. If you want to see a lot of the country on your own, you are going to need a car but you better have this permit!
Traveling to Greece? You Need this Permit If You Rent a Car
If you are a frequent international traveler, chances are pretty good that you have an International Driving Permit in your travel bag. In case you are wondering, “What is an International Driving Permit?”, an International Driving Permit is a document that basically tells other countries that your government-issued driver’s license is legitimate. The International Driving Permit (IDP) does not give you permission to drive but just verifies that your license is valid.
You may be thinking, “Of course you need an IDP to rent a car in Greece!” Well, the thing is that you never really had to show it over the past several years. I have rented cars in Greece dozens of times and never had to show it even once (though I always have one).
That has all changed as of last year. Greece now requires rental car companies to verify that you have an International Driving Permit before renting out the car. If they do not do this, they can be fined thousands of euros and you can as well. Not a very nice way to spend your tourist dollars!
How Do You Get an International Driving Permit?
If you are in the US, an International Driving Permit is relatively easy to get. All AAA offices issue them and you will walk out with it right then. An International Driving Permit is valid for 1 year from the date that is written on the front (you can specify a starting date up to 6 months from the day you apply).
What You Need to Get an International Driving Permit
- To start, download the application here.
- Get your state-issued driver’s license
- Next, go to a AAA office
- You will need 2 passport-sized photos (they will do it there for a fee or you can do it yourself)
- The fee for the International Driving Permit is $20
That’s it! Having this with you will help anytime you rent a car (even if they don’t ask for it). If you are renting a car in Greece, you definitely need to have the International Driving Permit or you will not have a rental car. If you had to prepay for that rental car, that will hurt twice as much!
I did want to make travelers aware of this since some companies and travel agencies are not yet notifying drivers in the e-mail that they need the International Driving Permit when renting the car.