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If you have a restricted license from the U.S. can you drive in Europe?

Each country in Europe and the E.U. have their own laws and requirements. We do not know of any country in Europe that will allow you to drive with a restricted drivers license.

For example, in France you may drive with a valid U.S. driver's license. In addition to that, it is recommended (not required) to carry an International Driving Permit or attach a French translation to your US driver's license. Also, you are to be at least 18 years old to drive in France.

In Great Britain, all drivers must comply with British minimum age requirements; generally, these are 17 years for cars and motorcycles, 18 years for medium sized vehicles and 21 years for large lorries and buses.

Americans visiting Italy as tourists and intending to drive should obtain an International Driving Permit before leaving the U.S.

To apply for an international driving permit, you must be at least age 18, and you will need to present two passport-size photographs and your valid U.S. license. The cost of an international driving permit from these U.S. State Department authorized organizations is under $20.00.

The United States is a party to two multilateral treaties regarding roads and transport:

  • Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic (1943)
  • Convention on Road Traffic (1949)

The United States is not a party to:

  • Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Traffic Accidents, (1971) , which is now in force in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Belarus and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.N. Convention on Road Traffic, (1968) , or, the
  • Agreement on the Adoption of the Inter-American Manual on Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways, (1979) , now in force in: Colombia.

If you intend to drive overseas, check with the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their driver's license, road permit, and auto insurance requirements. If possible, obtain road maps before you go.


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