Can I drive with the Australian driving license in Spain?

While renting a car in Spain it is uncertain whether our Australian license will be accepted. We will clear the uncertainty in this article.


Please select your rental company branch

Differnet rental branches may ask you to show an IDP.
Please select your upcoming trip rental branch for the most accurate guidelines.

At this point in time, we have not yet collected the rental terms of rental companies in Spain. Please visit us again in a later time to get more specific details.

Do I need an IDP?

Full laws breakdown for driving with the Australian license in Spain

To determine with confidence whether you need an IDP or not, we check multiple data sources. Please review the following legal terms of: the Australian laws, the local laws in Spain, the rental company requirements and real life reports we collected from other Australian travelers in Spain.

What do the Australian laws say about driving in Spain with the Australian driving license?

We have not yet collected the Australian laws. Please visit us again in a later time.

What do the laws in Spain say about driving with a foreign driving license?

The laws in Spain say the following:
Permits issued in countries of the European Union and the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are fully valid for driving in Spain as long as they are valid. The following licenses from other countries are also valid for driving in Spain: Permits from countries that are written in Spanish or are accompanied by an official translation of the same. Permits from countries that are issued in accordance with Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention, or with Annex 6 of the Vienna Convention , or that differ from these models only in the adoption or deletion of non-essential headings. These permissions will be valid as long as: The maximum period of six months has not elapsed since you acquired normal residence in Spain. The driving license is valid. The holder must be of the age required in Spain to obtain an equivalent Spanish permit. After this period, the aforementioned permits are no longer valid for driving in Spain, and, if you want to continue driving, you must exchange your permit for an equivalent Spanish one.
Source: Dirección General de Tráfico - España

It means that:
1. Holders of an Australian driving license can drive in Spain under certain conditions. Since Australia is a party to the International Road Traffic Conventions (Geneva 1949 and Vienna 1968), and the Australian license complies with Annex 6 of the Vienna Convention and Annex 9 of the Geneva Convention, it is recognized in Spain. The Australian license includes all necessary details such as the driver's photo, name, birth date, address, expiry date, and the classes of allowed vehicles to drive. Therefore, as long as the Australian driving license is valid, the holder has not been a resident in Spain for more than six months, and the holder meets the age requirements for the equivalent Spanish permit, they can drive in Spain with their Australian driving license.
2. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is not strictly required for Australian license holders to drive in Spain, as the Australian driving license is already in compliance with the international conventions that Spain recognizes. The IDP serves as a translation document and is not a standalone form of identification; since the Australian license is in English and Spain accepts licenses in accordance with the international conventions, the IDP is not necessary in this case. However, it is worth noting that having an IDP might be helpful in practice for ease of communication or in case of being stopped by authorities who may not be familiar with the Australian license format. But based on the information provided and the Spanish regulations, it is not a legal requirement.

What are the rental agency terms for driving with a foreign license?

Different rental agencies might still require an IDP even while the local laws do not require it. Please find your appropriate local supplier in the list above to verify.

What do Australian travelers report after being pulled over by the local police in Spain?

We don't have any real life reports by Australian travelers in Spain.
If you've been there and was pulled over by the local officials, please share your experience with us and we will publish it to help others.

Where can I get an IDP?

Facts check reviewed on 6 March 2024 at 10:51 pm by PaapmPaapm editorial team.

Help us get it right!

Have you found a mistake or rented a car and can report with an up-to-date status?

Please help us helping other travelers with recent actual requirements of your rental agency or after being pulled over by the local police.

Why we created this website?

For years there's uncertainty of whether the driving license can be used abroad as is. We see travelers taking the effort of driving to the offices to purchase it, which is sometimes a non trivial effort, and at the end - nobody asks them to show the IDP.
This is frustrating as the IDP wasn't cheap or easy to get.

Some travelers say that they didn't need it while others say their trip was ruined due to the fact that they didn't hold an IDP in hand and the rental company refused to rent them the car. Some have reported that they've also lost their rental car pre-payment completely due to not holding an IDP.

The truth about the IDP is that there are multiple legal factors by the destination country laws, the rental agency rental terms and what happens in real life, when you meet with the local police or rental company agent. Sometimes real life is different from what the laws or terms state.

We hope that if an agent of the law or the rental company asks you for an IDP which you don't hold, you may refer them to the laws and rental terms we have collected here. Our experience shows that most of the time, the agents get confused and don't know the requirements, so showing them the proper snippet might help you out.

Please help us and report back whether our information is correct or not, so we can keep it up to date for other travelers like you!

Hold an IDP to be on the safe side

If you have the time, we always recommend to purchase an IDP, even if the information on our website says with confidence that you won't need one.

You better hold an IDP during 2024
Cover image by Dino Reichmuth published on Unsplash taken at Arches National Park Entrance Station, Moab, United States