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What are the requirements to rent a car in the US if I am a foreigner?

Are you a foreigner planning to travel to the United States and rent a car for a road trip? Here are the requirements for those who want to rent a ride.

¿Planeas viajar a Estados Unidos y rentar un auto? Aquí los requisitos que tienen los extranjeros para poder alquilar un coche en USA.
Rebecca CookReuters

The winter holiday season is approaching, and if a road trip in the US is part of your holiday plans, you need to take some factors into account. If you intend to rent a car, there are certain requirements that foreigners must comply with in order to do so.

Renting a car offers freedom, as well as the convenience of being able to get around the city or state you will be visiting. Many car rental companies entertain foreign tourists, as long as they meet the requirements.

Know the law and policies of rental companies

It is recommended that foreigners familiarize themselves with the policies of the company they are looking to rent a car with, the specific requirements, as well as local traffic regulations to ensure safe driving and a hassle-free experience.

Check rental insurance and coverage

Before renting a car, you should know the insurance options you have and those offered by car rental companies in case of an accident or theft.

We recommend that you check your personal automobile insurance from your home country, if you have any. It is important to review the policy benefits or ask an agent if this insurance covers renting a car abroad. If so, find out to what extent it does.

You can also review your credit card coverage terms. If you do not have personal insurance, ask the car rental company about the coverage options they offer.

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What are the requirements to rent a car in the US if I am a foreigner?

In addition to confirming the status of insurance and coverage, it is important to know the requirements or documents you will need to be able to rent a car.

Driver’s license

When renting a car as a foreigner, it is important to have a valid driving license. According to the usa.gov portal, depending on the states you visit, you may need an international driver’s permit (IDP), apart from a driver’s license from your country.

Because not all states require an IDP and some allow foreigners to rent a car only with their country’s driver’s license, we recommend that you contact the state department of motor vehicles for each state in which you plan to drive. You can find the list for all 50 states here.

Passport and credit card

In addition to your driving license, rental companies generally require an identity document, such as a passport, as well as a credit card for payment and security reasons and to cover possible damages or extra fees.

Read the contract

It is essential to read and understand the rental contract thoroughly to ensure that the rental company’s terms and conditions are met, as well as to avoid extra fees and unpleasant surprises.