Renting Car in Europe with SA Driver's Licence

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Aug 10, 2018
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#1
Hi
I am going to Europe in September 2018 for the first time and I am considering using a rented vehicle for a portion of my trip.
Is my South African Driver's Licence sufficient enough to hire a vehicle or would I need to get an international driver's licence/permit? I am there for two and a half weeks, travelling between The Netherlands and France. Thanks for your help!
 

Sinbad

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#2
Should be fine. No harm getting the permit though...
Maybe confirm with the car hire company you plan to use
 

Arthur

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#4
Have rented in Europe many times. Always used SA licence, no issues. Have never been asked for AA-issued Intl Dvrs Licence even when I had it.
 
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#5
SA License is fine. If you have the card version. The old one in the ID isn't allowed.

No issues what so ever.
 

Voicy

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#6
As long as you're over 25 and had your license for over a year there's no questions.

Just familiarize yourself with the actual rules of the country you're going to. Some might surprise you and they have this weird rule where you have to give way to cars to your right. Except when you don't.
 
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#7
As long as you're over 25 and had your license for over a year there's no questions.

Just familiarize yourself with the actual rules of the country you're going to. Some might surprise you and they have this weird rule where you have to give way to cars to your right. Except when you don't.
Also, prolonged stays like in your case, they would eventually start forcing you to convert. But for let's say a stink of 6 months to a year, SA license is fine.
 

diabolus

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#8
Yea, should be fine, the International License thing is mostly relevant if you are from or going to a country that doesn't use english or the normal alphabet (i.e China or Russia etc) . Europe should be fine without it, but since you could get it at an AA store immediately, i usually ended up getting it for in case...however no one ever asked for it or looked at in the USA or Europe.

However as Pitbull mentioned, i ended up converting my license to a european one due to my length of stay in NL. (If you're lucky, you can just pay a small fee and get it converted administratively, if less lucky you need to retake the whole driver's exam in europe , which costs a fortune in NL....i was lucky :) )
 
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Voicy

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#9
Also, prolonged stays like in your case, they would eventually start forcing you to convert. But for let's say a stink of 6 months to a year, SA license is fine.
Nope.

Mine was valid for 2 months, thereafter I had to do the entire course to get a local license from scratch. I couldn't even convert my SA license I've had all the years. It only cost me R45k. :sick:
 

Sinbad

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#10
Nope.

Mine was valid for 2 months, thereafter I had to do the entire course to get a local license from scratch. I couldn't even convert my SA license I've had all the years. It only cost me R45k. :sick:
You mean like 50 euros?
 
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#11
Nope.

Mine was valid for 2 months, thereafter I had to do the entire course to get a local license from scratch. I couldn't even convert my SA license I've had all the years. It only cost me R45k. :sick:
You I think Norway is an exception though. They have the best drivers in the world for a reason :p

But you get the jest of what I'm saying. Normally European countries are fine with a license from another country. But after a while the cops start to give you shyte.
 

diabolus

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#12
Nope.

Mine was valid for 2 months, thereafter I had to do the entire course to get a local license from scratch. I couldn't even convert my SA license I've had all the years. It only cost me R45k. :sick:
Yea, in Netherlands, same thing, however depending on your visa you get a once-off chance to convert your license within 3 months of arrival for a cheap fee. If you miss that or are on a different visa, you have to do the entire course which is about 1000 - 2000 eur in NL (R15k - 30k ?) . They don't exactly advertise it here, so alot of people realise it after it is too late.

So i guess tip for those moving to NL , if you know you're going to be there longer than a year, start asking the municipality about license conversion within the first 2 months of being there. Even if you think you're not going to need or get a car (you mostly don't need a car) , but you will want to rent cars in europe eventually.
 
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garp

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#13
There shouldn't be any issue renting a car anywhere in the EU with an SA drivers - there's some kind of reciprocal treaty recognizing each other territory's driver's licenses. Just in case, though, I prefer to get an international license as well - quick and easy at any AA shop (~R200, I think).

Just be aware that the insurance/deposit on a rental can be heavy, especially if you weren't aware or hadn't planned for it. Last time in Ireland, had the option of either paying a fat daily insurance surcharge (non-refundable) OR a deposit (equivalent to about R18000!) BUT the deposit was refundable whereas the insurance was not. So obviously if you have the spare cash it's cheaper to pay the deposit. Also note, the deposit took a good few weeks to be returned. Recommend getting a quote on this in advance.
 

diabolus

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#14
There shouldn't be any issue renting a car anywhere in the EU with an SA drivers - there's some kind of reciprocal treaty recognizing each other territory's driver's licenses. Just in case, though, I prefer to get an international license as well - quick and easy at any AA shop (~R200, I think).

Just be aware that the insurance/deposit on a rental can be heavy, especially if you weren't aware or hadn't planned for it. Last time in Ireland, had the option of either paying a fat daily insurance surcharge (non-refundable) OR a deposit (equivalent to about R18000!) BUT the deposit was refundable whereas the insurance was not. So obviously if you have the spare cash it's cheaper to pay the deposit. Also note, the deposit took a good few weeks to be returned. Recommend getting a quote on this in advance.
Yep 1500 EUR "hold" on your card is pretty common (especially in Ireland) , you get forced to take out additional insurance to avoid that. So do your research indeed, we've arrived at the rental company to just sign papers pick up keys, only to find out someone's credit card does not have a limit of that much...it can quickly become messy if you were planning to use your cc for travel expenses. I know NL doesn't seem to do such high amounts , but they tend to load up the insurance options by default (much like SA) .
 
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garp

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#15
Yep 1500 EUR "hold" on your card is pretty common (especially in Ireland) , you get forced to take out additional insurance to avoid that. So do your research indeed, we've arrived at the rental company to just sign papers pick up keys, only to find out someone's credit card does not have a limit of that much...it can quickly become messy if you were planning to use your cc for travel expenses. I know NL doesn't seem to do such high amounts , but they tend to load up the insurance options by default (much like SA) .
Yeah, you're right, it was a "hold" not a deposit, but at the end of the day effectively the same thing to me.

I had the option of the 1500 EUR "hold" OR an outright 80 EUR (I think) daily insurance fee. So obviously the hold was the better option. Good point, though, ensure you have the credit limit for it plus your other expenses. I know people end up in difficulty as they agree to the hold then find they can't pay for accommodation because it blocks out that amount from your available balance.
 

f2wohf

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#16
Get an international license, I’ve had issues with the police in France (and I’m french) for my SA license not being in french or translated.
 

MirageF1

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#17
In the UK( as a South African ), you are expected to convert your license within 1 year of living/residence there.
That's what it was a few years ago....google is your friend if in doubt.
 

f2wohf

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#18
In the UK( as a South African ), you are expected to convert your license within 1 year of living/residence there.
That's what it was a few years ago....google is your friend if in doubt.
And for your license to be written or translated in the local language (which is not an issue with UK but is with Netherlands or France).
 

surface

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#19
Get a idp from aa shop. Takes 48hrs
Did it change to 48 hours recently? Till last year, we used to walk-in to shop, fill application, submit photos and that's it. IDP was immediately given. They have couple of terminals where you can apply online as well and they can take photos (at a cost) if you don't have them.
 

rakabos3

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#20
Did it change to 48 hours recently? Till last year, we used to walk-in to shop, fill application, submit photos and that's it. IDP was immediately given. They have couple of terminals where you can apply online as well and they can take photos (at a cost) if you don't have them.
Did it last year in march.... 48hrs, had to go back
 
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