Non-EU visitors will be required to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP) coupled with a valid national driver's license if they wish to rent vehicles in Greece. The International Driving Permit is recognized world wide and no test is required but holders must also have a valid driving license and be 18 years or age or older. In most cases, issuing an IDP takes about a day and is valid for a year.
The recent law forsees hefty fines in the scenario of violation for both not only the customer but also the car rental company as well, including seizure of the vehicle. The Greek Car Rental Companies Association (STEEA), which representing the car rental industry in Greece has called upon the transport ministry to re-examine the law and make claifications. "The lack of clarity on the part of the ministry will lead to misinterpretation and heavy fines in cases where - wrongly so- drivers did not hold an International Driving Permit," said a spokesperson. They added the law "discriminates against car rental companies in that penalties apply only to the rental services."
"This may pose a problem for tourists who neglected to bring the IDP because they will not be able to rent a car in our country. The fines are huge and a circular from the ministry is needed to clarify the situation especially in view of the start of the summer season as it may impact car rental companies and tourism overall," STEEA director Anna Vlachava, said in a statement to local news. These new regulations will be implemented as the tourist season begins with millions of visitors will be arriving in Greece from North America, Australia, China and other non-EU countries. The US embassy has already informed tourists and temporary residents who plan to stay in Greece up to six months that they must carry a valid American license as well as the International Driving Permit.