What is an International Driving Permit or License?
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by one hundred forty-one countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
On the other hand, an International Driving License is not legally accepted and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an IDP work in Greece?
Your driving license is valid only for six months, and you must have an international driving permit to drive on Greek roads. You can use an IDP for one year, but you should have obtained it less than six months before visiting Greece. You may also use your IDP as an identification document while traveling. If your driver’s license is in a foreign language, an IDP can be used as a translation of your license.
How do you apply for an IDP in Greece?
You can apply for an IDP in Greece through our website.
How long will it take to get an IDP in Greece?
A digital IDP takes up to 2 hours to land in your inbox. However, we will process your application in 20 minutes if you choose an Express Order.
A printed IDP can be delivered to your home in 2-30 days, depending on your selected delivery method.
Benefits of Carrying an IDP in Greece
Functionality as an ID
An IDP is a valuable travel document since it also serves as identification, and this is handy if you wish to keep your passport secure for security reasons. An IDP can be used in place of a national ID card – mainly if your national ID card is in a language that is not widely used globally.
Quicker traffic authority stops.
Having an IDP ensures that policemen can quickly note down your details and send you on your way. This is especially useful during emergencies and car accidents.
Car rental companies
Foreign companies may be cautious about hiring vehicles to foreigners who do not have an international driving permit. An IDP is a legal document recognized by the United Nations and therefore is accepted as a legitimate driving permit by most foreign and local automobile rental firms.
Laws requiring an IDP
You are required by law to have an International Driver’s Permit issued within six months of your visit to Greece if you are not from a select group of countries. While car rental companies might rent you a vehicle without an IDP, Greek law states that you and the rental company will be charged fines of up to €1,000.00 if this is done. You are also liable to be charged if you are found driving a vehicle without an IDP.
Driving Requirements for Non-Citizens in Greece
Short-term visitors vs. residents
It is beneficial for short-term visitors to use their original license with an IDP, while long-term visitors will find it helpful to get a Greek driving license.
You will only be able to drive in Greece for six months and need an International Driving Permit.
How to get a Greek driver’s license
To exchange your license for a Greek driving license, you need to do this through the Citizen Service Center (KEP) or the Transport and Communication Department. You will need to submit a filled form that is downloadable from their website.
Suppose you are from the EU, the EEA, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Norway. In that case, you need to submit a copy of your passport, a valid driver’s license, an IDP, two recent passport-sized color photographs, and the receipt of payment for stamp duty that is payable to the Public Revenue Office.
If you are from Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, or the USA, you must submit a copy of your passport, a valid driving license, and an IDP. You will also need to prove residence issued six months before the application, one passport-sized color photograph, and receipt of payment of stamp duty that is payable to the Public Revenue Office. You should also submit an authorized document from the license issuing authority of your country stating your license is valid, health certificates by a general practitioner, and an ophthalmologist registered with the local Transport and Communications Department.
You are only eligible for a license that allows 2-wheel and 3-wheel vehicles below 25 km/h from 16 to 18. You must be over 18 for a license to drive any other vehicle category. Suppose you are not from any of the above countries; you will then have to follow the normal procedure for getting a license from scratch in Greece, including the driving and written tests.
Renewing Your IDP or Original Driver’s License While in Greece
Renewing your International Driver’s Permit
You can renew your IDP while in Greece through our website.
Renewing your original driver’s license
An IDP can only be used when accompanied by a valid, unexpired driver’s license. If your license expires while traveling, you must renew it to continue driving in that nation. The method for renewing a license varies greatly by nation.
Car Rental in Greece
Requirements for car rental
You must have a valid license before renting a car in Greece. You should be above 21 years of age and generally below 70 years for a car rental company to rent you a vehicle. Some companies will request that you have held a license for one year or more before allowing you to rent a car.
Foreigners must provide their passports and licenses as proof of identity. If you are from a country not on the select list, you need an International Driver’s Permit obtained six months before you arrive in Greece.
Deposit and costs for car rental
If you are under 25, most rental agencies will have a surcharge. You will need a credit card as most companies will not accept debit cards. You can expect to pay €300 to €1,000 as a deposit for your rental car, and this will be returned to you when you return the vehicle to the rental car company. The daily rental rate for a car ranges from €15.00 to €30.00. You can expect to pay about €150.00 for a week’s rental.
You must have fire and third-party insurance of up to €85,000.00 to drive on Greek roads. When renting a vehicle, you are recommended to get full coverage, including theft and a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). You may also get a Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) which will cover all damage incurred irrespective of the amount. SCDW coverage ensures that you do not need to pay for any damages incurred during an accident out of your pocket.
The crime rate in Greece is high for a developed country, the past decade showing some of Greece’s highest crime rates in the past century. It is wise to get travel and car insurance when traveling there. Some points to look out for when getting your travel insurance are given below:
Coverage for doctor’s appointments and hospital stays in case of an accident
Coverage for damaged, lost, or stolen baggage
Rental car excess in case of a road traffic accident
Funeral costs in case of an extreme situation
Driving and Safety in Greece
Where can you get a driving handbook with the road rules?
The Greek driving handbook (or Highway Code) is available online on several websites. You may use https://www.eef.edu.gr/media/2598/em0001.pdf as the official version. Contacting a driving school for an English translation is recommended as they are much rarer.
Overtaking on Greek roads
You are advised to only overtake from the left-hand side as long as there have been no signs signifying otherwise. You must check your mirrors, judge the speed correctly and make sure that the lane ahead is sufficiently clear for you to enter back into its traffic. You cannot cut in on the vehicle that you are overtaking. Overtaking during nighttime or with poor visibility should be undertaken with extra vigilance. Not overtaking correctly is a traffic violation, and you may be penalized by local authorities.
Turning and right of way on Greek roads
Drivers on the main road have priority over a lane coming into the main road. You should slow down before junctions that don’t have signs or traffic lights. In Greece, you must go slow enough to stop at a junction if you have to give way to a motorist coming on the other road.
If you are entering a roundabout, you have to give way to vehicles already in the roundabout. You should also pay attention to the speed at which the traffic is moving and the signal lights used by the vehicles in the roundabout when entering one.
Speed limits on Greek roads
The speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph) in built-up and urban areas. Rural roads have a speed limit of 90 km/h (56 mph). On motorways, you may go to 110 km/h (68 mph) and 130 km/h (81 mph) on expressways. If you are driving vehicles beyond 3.5 tons, the speeds on rural roads, expressways, and motorways are further limited. In urban areas, the driving limit is 50 km/h (31 mph).
Tips for driving in Greece
People drive on the right side of the road in Greece
The minimum age to drive 2-wheel and 3-wheel vehicles is 16, while 18 to drive vehicles of any other type.
You are required to wear a seat belt while driving
You are not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands-free device
Drivers and passengers must wear helmets while driving motorcycles or scooters
Children below the age of 5 are not allowed to go on scooters or motorcycles
Drinking and driving
You are only allowed a blood alcohol level of 0.50 grams per liter when driving in Greece. If you are a novice driver, you are only allowed a BAC of 0.20 grams per liter. If caught driving while intoxicated with a BAC of 0.50 to 0.80 grams per liter, you will be fined €200.00. If your BAC is 0.80 to 1.10 grams per liter, you will be fined €700.00 and banned from driving for three months. If your BAC is over 1.10 grams per liter, you will be fined €1,200.00, banned for six months, and imprisoned for two months. If you have a BAC of over 1.10 g per liter as a repeat offender within two years, you will be fined €2,000.00, get a 5-year ban on driving, and be imprisoned for six months.
Top 3 Destinations to Visit in Greece
Santorini is called the diamond of the Aegean, with thousands drawn to this beautiful island every year. It is considered the most scenic of all Greek islands. The waters of Santorini are turquoise and transparent, making them perfect for swimming, while the gorgeous beaches are great for sunbathing. You will also be able to enjoy its picturesque sunsets. The villages on this island are filled with high-quality restaurants and lots of shops where you can buy monuments and other local delights. This romantic getaway destination is perfect for couples and an adventure for families.
Nafplion is known as the playground of the elites of Athens. If you have the spare cash to delve into the lives of the rich and famous of Athens and its many visiting EU high-rollers, then Nafplion is the place to be. Each empire that took over this scenic place, such as the Ottomans, Byzantines, and Venetians, has left its mark here. The hillside next to Nafplio is filled with citadels and fortresses built to protect this piece of paradise. There are lots of beaches and restaurants in this town for you to kick back and relax. You can also enjoy its gorgeous architecture by strolling through its narrow winding roads. This openly hidden spot in Greece is great for both couples and families.
This island is known as Kerkyra in its native Greek. Corfu is known for gorgeous beaches that can be enjoyed with a view of its rugged mountains. While some of the beaches are touristy, if you want peace, you may find yourself a little slice of personal heaven by exploring this island by yourself. The beaches are white sand, and the water is clear and inviting. You can also find some ruins of pirate castles and Venetian structures littered across the island. You can see some of this island’s satellite islands in the Ionian Sea. You can enjoy modern amenities in the island’s principal city, which is also called Corfu. This island has a lot of history as it has been intertwined with Greek history and mythology from the beginning of recorded history. This island was a major theatre of war for the Battle of Sybota that catalyzed the Peloponnesian War.
Am I required to have an International Driving Permit in Greece?
Having an IDP to drive in Greece is highly recommended as many countries require you to have a valid driving license and an IDP.
Can I drive a vehicle with a foreign license in Greece?
You can drive for six months with a foreign license in Greece if you are not from a select group of countries. If you are from a select group, you can drive indefinitely.
How long will my International Driving Permit be valid in Greece?
Since Greece was contracted to the Vienna Motor Traffic Convention in 1968 and the Geneva Motor Traffic Convention in 1949, you can get an IDP valid for one year.
How long will transferring my license to a Greek license take?
The transfer process can take between 2 weeks to a few months to complete, depending on the efficiency of the local branch of the ELPA.
On which side do you drive in Greece?
Vehicles must drive on the right side of the road in Greece.