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Rent a car in the U.S. with a Thailand driver's licence?


JTXR

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17 hours ago, JTXR said:

Can it be done? 

Its a lot easier to get an International license----(from same place you get your Thai license) I did this 2 years ago in Oz as my license there had expire.

Recognized in most all countries.

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27 minutes ago, sanuk711 said:

Its a lot easier to get an International license----(from same place you get your Thai license) I did this 2 years ago in Oz as my license there had expire.

Recognized in most all countries.

Yes, in normal times, but there's no telling now when DLT will be open and issuing international licenses again.

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There have been many, many, many confirmations of this here. Obviously thousands of Thai people go to the U.S. and rent cars.

 

You should be prepared to deal with the insurance question at the counter. Obviously not an issue of you take coverage, but if you waive it you may be asked further questions. I have been since ~ 2016-ish.

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Most of the rental car agencies have web sites now a days. With tons of information.  This whole intere web thing is really  starting to take off. Now if people would only know how to use it. 

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I’ve done it in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco (using places like Hertz, Dollar and Enterprise) and never been denied.

 

Enterprise did initially have an issue, but after they called the local DMV for guidance on the legality of me (as a US citizen but non-resident of that state where the rental took place) using a Thai license, they were more than happy to accommodate me.

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1 hour ago, JTXR said:

Yes, in normal times, but there's no telling now when DLT will be open and issuing international licenses again.

What area are they closed in, because- " I thought" -they were always issuing Licenses ----just the driving test was halted. I renewed for 5 years last month. Small sub office Udon--Just 30 people a day when I went--go in A.M. appointment for the afternoon session ---watch Video etc.

 

DLT offices are now open for pre-booked applicants who have applied without needing a driving test, such as those renewing a driving license. ...thainews.prd.go.th › detail › TCATG200608162333496.

 

 

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1 hour ago, sanuk711 said:

Its a lot easier to get an International license----(from same place you get your Thai license) I did this 2 years ago in Oz as my license there had expire.

Recognized in most all countries.

  How many times has a poster on this forum use the term "international drivers license"? There is no valid "international" license or drivers license, which is accepted as a substitute for a government issued drivers license. What can be obtained is an "International Drivers Permit" that is only a translation of some foreign "government issued" drivers licenses. This Permit, along with your valid government issued license can allow you to legally operate a motor vehicle in another country, but only if the country accepts the licenses validity.

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2 hours ago, sanuk711 said:

Its a lot easier to get an International license----(from same place you get your Thai license) I did this 2 years ago in Oz as my license there had expire.

Recognized in most all countries.

I'm a U.S. Expat and have been living and working abroad for the last 30 odd years.  In the U.S. no international license is required.  Just present your Thai Driving License and they don't bat an eye.  As another poster stated, and as is true in most countries, so long as the driving license you have is currently valid and in both English and your host country's language, you are good to go.  International Driving Licenses were essentially to translate your host country's language and are no longer required if your host country includes English on their driving licenses, which Thailand does.  These days IDLs are still hawked by the tourist/travel industry to generate profits.  You can get one if that gives you peace of mind, and I get that, but it is not required in the U.S.

 

And hey, they figure if you can survive driving here, you can survive on U.S. roads!  🙂 

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1 hour ago, Thai Dan said:

I'm a U.S. Expat and have been living and working abroad for the last 30 odd years.  In the U.S. no international license is required.  Just present your Thai Driving License and they don't bat an eye.  As another poster stated, and as is true in most countries, so long as the driving license you have is currently valid and in both English and your host country's language, you are good to go.  International Driving Licenses were essentially to translate your host country's language and are no longer required if your host country includes English on their driving licenses, which Thailand does.  These days IDLs are still hawked by the tourist/travel industry to generate profits.  You can get one if that gives you peace of mind, and I get that, but it is not required in the U.S.

 

And hey, they figure if you can survive driving here, you can survive on U.S. roads!  🙂 

 

The International Driving License that many are referring to here is really not a license; it's a "permit "which essentially is a translation document only valid when presented along with the original driver's license. So, as Thai Dan correctly pointed out, if the regular license is in English, you do not need the IDP.

20210121_231030.jpg

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23 hours ago, lopburi3 said:

Although it might be an issue trying to use my pink lifetime - which is all in Thai and shows me 50 years ago.   🙄

You can get the current format license endorsed 'lifetime' based on the original.  My wife traded hers in a few years ago. But then, I doubt that you will be jetting off to the USA to rent a car any time soon. Stay safe 😷

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From on if the major car  rental company in US website 

 

International renters traveling to the United States or Canada:

It is important that customers check with the appropriate Department of Motor Vehicles in the States or Provinces in which they intend to travel to ensure compliance with their various licensing laws. The following practices are used to ensure the customer is presenting a facially valid license at the time of rental.

Customers traveling to the United States and Canada from another country must present the following:

Their home country driver's license, and

If the home country driver's license is in a language other than English (or French, for rentals in Canada) and the letters are English (i.e. German, Spanish, etc.) an International Driver's Permit is recommended, but not required, for translation purposes in addition to the home country driver's license.

If the home country driver's license is in a language other than English and the letters are not English (i.e. alphabet is not an extended Latin-based alphabet like German or Spanish but is Russian, Japanese, Arabic, etc.) an International Driver's Permit is required.

If an International Driver's Permit cannot be obtained in the home country, another professional, type-written translation may be substituted. In either case, the home country driver's license must also be presented.

Customers may not rent a vehicle solely with the International Driver's Permit. The International Driver's Permit is a translation of the individual's home country driver's license and is not considered a license nor is it considered valid identification.

In some US locations, customers not holding a US driver’s license may be asked to provide additional documentation.  Examples of this may include a valid passport or, in certain states (AZ, CA, NM, TX) a valid Mexican voter registration card and/or inbound and outbound travel documentation.

Please Note:

Photocopies of driver's licenses are not accepted

Learner's Permits are not accepted

Any license which, on its face, restricts the licensee to the use and operation of a vehicle equipped with a form of a breathalyzer apparatus is not accepted

 

Temporary driver's licenses may be refused if the renting location is unable to otherwise verify the customer's identity or verify the authenticity of the temporary license. Additional government-issued identification may be required.

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I have done this many many times.

 

The reason I used my Thai license when booking rather than my US license was often times you get a better rate when you do the online reservation, rentalcars.com is my preferred choice.

 

Doesn't stop you using your US license should you get stopped by the cops, but at the car rental desk you are just fine using your Thai license

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I am wondering what the police in some remote town in America will think if you are stopped for a traffic violation and are asked to see your drivers license. "Yes officer, it's really a Thai drivers license. I read on google that I could use it when I visit the USA."

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On 1/30/2021 at 7:03 AM, khaepmu said:

I am wondering what the police in some remote town in America will think if you are stopped for a traffic violation and are asked to see your drivers license. "Yes officer, it's really a Thai drivers license. I read on google that I could use it when I visit the USA."

 

Hand over the rental agreement, along with your Thai license. The rental agreement (essentially your registration) matches your Thai DL so not seeing an issue generally.

 

Proof of insurance may be an issue in some states so make sure your familiar with those requirements.

 

They might ask for additional identification - I'd have my passport/passport card/Global Entry card (REAL ID-compliant) in hand - and use that to see if you have any outstanding warrants.

 

Rental cars are a bit of a pain as they often have out-of-state plates and unique inspection/registration stickers on the windshield, so you do stand out a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

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