Can You Rent a Car with a Passport – What You Really Need?


July 17, 2023

Reading Time:- 6 minutes

Can You Rent a Car with a Passport

Renting a car becomes a necessity for those who need to take trips abroad due to work or related purposes. But there’s a common question that most travelers wonder about. They ask, ‘Can you rent a car with a passport?’ The simple answer is no; it is not possible to rent a car with only a passport. You need to have a valid driver’s license. This document is necessary to be shown along with your passport to the concerned authorities when traveling outside of the United States.

This post will dive deeper into the answer to renting a car with only a passport. We will also talk about what you need to rent a car in the US.

Can You Rent a Car With a Passport?

As mentioned before, you cannot rent any vehicle in the US with a passport. Every rental company will need you to produce your driver’s license to rent a vehicle. Without a valid driver’s license, you cannot avail of a rental car reservation.

Further, this license must be issued in America or Canada and should have your name. No other identity document is acceptable to rent a car. Rental companies like ACE Rent a Car, Alamo, Avis, Budget Car Rental, FOX Rent a Car, Hertz, National Car Rental, and the like need you to show a driver’s license and not a passport to rent a car.

Some companies do not accept a digital driver’s license for rental car reservations. So, you should have a hard copy of this document at the time of the rental.

Rental companies need proof that you have passed a written and driving test. Only then will they deem you eligible to rent a car. You can show a temporary paper license if the full driver’s license isn’t available. It, combined with another kind of photo ID, such as a Costco card, is enough for the rental agency to extend the reservation.

Related – How Much Is Enterprise Car Rental Insurance

What Is the Driver’s License Policy for Car Rental?

Residents of the United States should present a valid driver’s license issued by the government. This license must be valid for the whole rental period. But there are some exceptions for those in the US Armed Forces. They can present an invalid home state license but only if they have an active Military ID. They comply with the state’s military extension policy that issued the license.

Procedures to ensure that a valid license is presented during car rental reservation

There are various practices to ensure that a valid license is presented by the customer traveling to Canada and US from another country. They must present the following things:

  • The driver’s license of their home country. It should be unexpired, valid, and with a photograph.
  • Suppose the driver’s license of the home country is not in English. But the letters are in English. In that case, the International Driver’s Permit should be there.
  • The International Driver’s Permit should be there if the driver’s license of the home country is not in English. In this case, even the letters are not in English.
  • The International Driver’s Permit can be replaced by another professional translation if you cannot get it in your home country. However, you still need to present the driver’s license of your home country.
  • You cannot rent a car only with your International Driver’s Permit. It does not present a valid identification or a license.
  • In some US states, those who don’t have a US driver’s license should give other documentation. This may be a valid voter registration card or a valid passport.
  • The following things are not accepted.
    1. Driver’s license photocopies
    2. Learner’s Permits
    3. A license that does not let the licensee use a car equipped with any kind of breathalyzer apparatus.
    4. Temporary driver’s licenses

What Are the Driving Record Requirements During the Rental Reservation

During the time of rental, the driver needs to fulfill the following criteria:

  • They should have a valid license.
  • The renter or the driver should not have had one or more reckless driving convictions in the previous three years.
  • The driver shouldn’t have one or more convictions for being under the influence while driving in the previous four years.
  • You shouldn’t have failed to make an accident come to the notice of authorities in the previous three years.
  • The renter or the driver shouldn’t have any stolen vehicle or one used in a crime.
  • There shouldn’t be three or more convictions for movement breaches by the driver in the previous two years.
  • The driver should not have had any three or more accidents in the last three years.

A Like Post – How Good Is Enterprise Car Rental

Can You Book a Rental Car Reservation with a Lost Driver’s License?

You might lose your driver’s license or misplace it at any point in time. If you lose this license, you are practically without evidence that you have passed a driving test. In such a circumstance, you can take some actions to ease the situation. These are explained below.

  • Get a temporary paper license issued: The first step is to go to the DMV and get a temporary paper license. You know that obtaining a proper driver’s license after losing one cannot happen overnight. As mentioned before, a temporary paper license with a kind of photo ID will make the rental agency consider your reservation request.
  • File a police report: Irrespective of whether your license is stolen or misplaced, filing a police report is crucial. This is because many rental agencies may let you rent with no license until you show a police report. Besides, if you cannot recover the license, you will need the police report to obtain the replacement.
  • Show a photocopy of your driver’s license: Backing up key information proves useful in many situations. The same is the case with your driver’s license. So, if you have a copy of your license on your phone, it will prove handy for you. You can get through the airport and withdraw money from the bank with a photocopy of your driver’s license on your phone.

POINT TO NOTE: Keep in mind that the success of these techniques is not guaranteed. It depends on the manager of your rental car agency. They may or may not approve your reservation request with the methods above.

Concluding Words

A passport is not valid proof for renting a car in the US. You must show a valid and unexpired driver’s license. Additionally, you must have a decent driving background or record. These two things are crucial for having your rental car reservation request approved.

Category: Industry News


Write By

My name is Alicia Smith, and I am the editor of the well-known informational website for Car rentals,

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