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What Types of Driver's Licence Do I Need to Rent a Car in the UK?

licence types

If you are planning to rent a car in United Kingdom, you will need to present a driver's licence that is currently valid in your home country and must meet specific driver's licence requirements before being permitted to drive. VroomVroomVroom has compiled the types of driver's licence usually accepted by major car rental companies in the UK and other driving licence requirements when hiring a car.​

Driving Licence Requirements

You will need to possess a full driver's licence that you have held for at least one year to rent a car. Note that the conditions below may apply depending on the issuing country of the driving licence.

UK Driving Licences

  • A valid and up to date DVLA licence check code or a printed DVLA endorsement record must be provided for all Approved Drivers
  • Drivers under 23 years of age must not have any endorsements on their licence.
  • For drivers 23 years of age and older, the maximum number of points on the licence is 6. However, some endorsements on your licence may restrict your ability to drive the vehicle, even if you have 6 or less points on your licence.

EU Driving Licences

  • ​Valid driving licences of all other EU countries may be accepted in the UK without further preconditions.

All Other Licences

  • ​Driving licences printed with non-Roman Alphabet (Arabic, Japanese, and Cyrillic) must be accompanied by a valid International Driving Permit.
  • Chinese driving licences, no International Driving Permit is required, however you must provide a valid translation form for the licence.
  • Indian driving licences will require an International Driving Permit if the original licence does not contain a small electronic chip on the front of the card.
  • For all non-European licence holders, it is the responsibility of the renter to check whether an international Driving Permit is required.

​What type of licences are not accepted?​

Expired photo card licences will not be accepted and rental will be refused.​ In the UK, if any driver has any unspent driving convictions for:

  • careless, reckless or dangerous driving, or attempting to drive whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks
  • theft or unauthorised taking of a vehicle – or,
  • been disqualified (or anything similar) in the last 10 years – or,
  • if you have 2 or more unspent convictions for offences not listed above, your rental will be refused.

Learn more about the rental rules for each car rental agency below.

Car Rental CompanyValid Driver's LicenceInvalid Driver's LicenceMinimum Age
Alamo
International driving permit is required with all non European licences if the driving licence is written in a language or characters different to those of the renting country. Even when an International Driving Licence is required, a domestic licence must be provided.

UK residents that hold a non-EU licence may drive in the UK for up to 12 months from the time they become a resident. After 12 months, the overseas licence will be deemed illegal in the UK and it must be exchanged for the UK equivalent. A renter holding a non-EU licence must produce a full valid passport at the time of rental and the reservation name must match the name on the driving licence.​

No expired driver's licence are accepted. Photocopies of driver's licences are not accepted.

All drivers must be 25 years of age or older. Driver's aged 25 - 29 can rent all vehicles except full size MPVs, small premiums, large premiums and 4x4s.​

Avis
After 8 June 2015, the UK driving licence will only have 1 part - a plastic, credit card-sized photo card licence. You must bring this the original valid photo card driving licence with you if it is a new style UK licence. Failure to bring a valid photo card driving licence may result in the rental being refuse. Avis may require customers to consent to their licence records being accessed as needed.

All UK customers will need to hold a full and valid licence free from any endorsements excluded in Avis terms & conditions. If your licence is in non-roman alphabet (e.g. Japanese), you will need the original licence AND an international driving permit.​
Expired photo card licences will not be accepted and rental will be refused.​
Those under 25 will be subject to a Young Driver Surcharge per day.
Budget
All UK customers will need to hold a full and valid licence free from any endorsements excluded in Budget terms & conditions. If your licence is in non-roman alphabet (e.g. Japanese), you will need the original licence and an international driving permit. For rentals in other countries, the licence is typically required for at least one year (please check the terms and conditions of the renting country prior to booking).

Non-EC residents can use own licence for max 12 months after entry to UK. Drivers will need to be in possession of a valid credit card in their own name, to cover the damage excess deposit. UK residents should also provide 2 forms of proof of address e.g. utility bills / bank statements (or similar). None UK residents should provide their passport.
Expired photo card licences will not be accepted and rental will be refused.​​
If you are aged between 23 and 25 years old you must pay a young driver surcharge​.
Enterprise
International driving permit is required with all non European licences if the driving licence is written in a language or characters different to those of the renting country. Even when an International Driving Licence is required, a domestic licence must be provided.

UK residents that hold a non-EU licence may drive in the UK for up to 12 months from the time they become a resident. After 12 months, the overseas licence will be deemed illegal in the UK and it must be exchanged for the UK equivalent. A renter holding a non-EU licence must produce a full valid passport at the time of rental and the reservation name must match the name on the driving licence.

Expired Driver's Licences are not accepted.
All drivers must be 25 years of age or older.​ Driver's aged 25 - 29 can rent all vehicles except full size MPVs, small premiums, large premiums and 4x4s.​​
europcar logo
A full and valid driving licence must have been held for a minimum of 12 months. For rentals starting from Plymouth, Exeter, Taunton, Carmarthan, Pembroke, Aberystwyth and Llanelli the driving licence must have been held for a minimum of 2 years prior to picking up the vehicle.

Licences issued overseas must be clearly identifiable as a driving licence, otherwise an International Driving Licence will be required. Some Licences are only valid in the country of issue e.g. India, so an International Driving Licence is required. A Passport, ID showing home address and proof of entry/exit into/out of the UK (e-tickets acceptable) must also be produced.
No expired driver's licence are accepted. Photocopies of driver's licences are not accepted.
Minimum age for rental is 22 years old​. Young drivers are restricted to certain vehicles with an obligatory underage surcharge.​
Green Motion
A full driving licence or international equivalent, issued by authorised authorities at least 2 years prior to commencement of the hire is required, typed in Roman letters, Latin alphabet. After 8th June 2015 holders of a UK driving licence regardless of country of residence, are required to bring their DVLA Check My Licence Code with their driving licence and ID.

The customer (main driver and any additional driver/s) will also be required to provide secondary photographic identification (passport or national ID card) and proof of address or residence matching the driving licence address. Any International Driving Permit must be accompanied by the national drivers licence.
Expired driver's licence are accepted. Photocopies of driver's licences are not accepted.
The minimum driver age for all other groups is 25 years old with two years driving experience​.

Young drivers may be subject to a different pre-authorisation amount​.
Hertz
Drivers with the current issue UK driving licence must present both photocard and paper parts until the paper part is abolished in June 2015. Failure to present one part may result in the local Hertz staff being unable to provide the car. Some locations in the UK might still be able to verify the licence even if only the photocard is presented, by contacting the DVLA; this may only happen if the rental takes place during DVLA opening hours and only at the discretion of the pickup location - a fee will be charged.

From June 8th 2015, the paper counterpart of the UK photo card driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by the DVLA. This change applies to Great Britain only and not Northern Ireland.​
Expired driver's licence are accepted.​ Photocopies of driver's licences are not accepted.
The minimum age for Hertz rentals in the United Kingdom is 25 years of age for all vehicle groups except for Luxury 4-Door, Special 4-Door and Hertz Prestige Collection for which the minimum age is strictly 30 years old.

Young drivers are restricted to certain vehicles with an obligatory underage surcharge.​​
Sixt
Valid driving licences of all other EU countries are accepted in the UK without further preconditions.

Driving licences printed with non-Roman Alphabet (Arabic, Japanese, and Cyrillic) must be accompanied by a valid International Driving Permit. Chinese driving licences, no International Driving Permit is required, however you must provide a valid translation form for the licence. Indian driving licences will require an International Driving Permit if the original licence does not contain a small electronic chip on the front of the card.

For all non-European licence holders, it is the responsibility of the renter to check whether an international Driving Permit is required.
Photocopies of driver's licences are not accepted.
The minimum age for UK licence holders is 21 years (having held the driving licence for at least 3 years). A deviation from the minimum age is possible depending on the vehicle.

A surcharge applies for young UK licence holders under 25 years.​
Thrifty
Anyone who will be driving the Thrifty vehicle must present a valid driving licence (both parts of the new UK Licence are required)​ with their current address in person, at the time of collection. No copies of licences will be accepted. If the licence does not show current home address (this includes licences issued in EU countries and driver resides in UK), a valid passport or national identity card must be presented. For non UK-resident, the primary driver must present a passport (or national identity card if European citizen if this has been used to enter the UK), a valid driving licence from country of residence (licence must show an English translation if not issued in Europe).
Thrifty cannot accept expired official photo ID​
All drivers must be over 21 years of age. Drivers aged 21-24 may only rent vehicles up to Standard category, Economy and Short Wheel Base Vans.

Drivers of vehicles categories Prestige and Luxury must be aged 30 or over.

Please note that some car hire companies have different requirements, so make sure to check our Terms and Conditions​​ pages for complete details.

Read more about Licence Requirements​ for renting a car in the UK.

Important:

A few things to remember

Visitors to the UK must be in possession of a full and valid driving licence for at least one year, including the correct entitlement to drive the desired group of car. Licences issued overseas must be clearly noticeable as a driving licence and should be written in English, otherwise an International Driving Permit will be required​. Depending on your country of permanent residence, most rental car companies will ask you to bring original proof of the required documents, such as passport or other government issued ID showing home address and proof of entry/exit into/out of the UK.


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