Can You Rent a Car With a Passport? Car Rental ID Rules Detailed

Short Answer: You cannot rent a car with just a passport. To rent a car in the U.S., you must present a valid U.S. or international driver’s license. If you are traveling outside of your home country, you may need to show your passport or an international driver’s permit along with your driver’s license. For more details, see below.

Can You Rent a Car With a Passport?

You cannot rent a car in the U.S. with a passport. Car rental companies require that you show a valid driver’s license in order to rent a car — no other form of ID is acceptable.

We contacted the following car rental companies and were told by customer service representatives for each company that you’ll need to present a valid driver’s license to rent a car. A few companies also consider your driving history; we’ve noted these below.

  • ACE Rent a Car
  • Advantage Rent a Car
  • Alamo Rent A Car
  • Avis (will order a report of your driving history)
  • Budget Car Rental
  • Dollar Rent a Car
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • EZ Rent-A-Car
  • Fox Rent A Car
  • Getaround (will order a report of your driving history)
  • Hertz
  • National Car Rental
  • NextCar (will order a report of your driving history)
  • Payless Car Rental (will order a report of your driving history)
  • Rent-A-Wreck
  • Silvercar by Audi
  • SIXT
  • Thrifty Car Rental (will order a report of your driving history)
  • Turo (will order a report of your driving history)
  • U-Save Car & Truck Rental
  • Zipcar

Driving Permits and Temporary Licenses

Rental car companies won’t let you rent a car with a driving permit, but some will let you rent a car with a temporary driver’s license if you are a U.S. citizen or resident. For more details, see our related article on which car rental companies accept temporary licenses.

International Driver’s Permits

If you are traveling to the U.S. from another country, you must provide a valid driver’s license from your country of residence in order to rent a car. A passport or international driver’s permit, alone or combined, will not be enough. If your license is in a language other than English, an international driver’s permit is recommended. If your license is in a language that does not use a Latin-based alphabet, the rental company may require an international driver’s permit for translation purposes.

Policies vary by company and by state, so you may want to contact the company you wish to rent from or the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state you will be visiting to find out its specific requirements.

Note: Beware of international driver’s permit scams.

Renting a Car While Traveling Abroad

As a U.S. citizen or resident, you may be asked to show your passport along with your driver’s license when renting a car while traveling outside of the U.S. For example, SIXT locations in England and Ireland require customers who live outside the U.K. to show a valid driver’s license and passport.

Other documentation, such as an international driver’s permit, may also be required to rent a car abroad — but this varies by location and rental car company.