What a foreigner needs to know about driving in Canada?

Foreigners are allowed to drive in Canada as long as they have the proper documents and they follow the local traffic rules and regulations. Documents you’ll need to have with you depend on the country you’re coming from, but the traffic laws are the same.

Driving licenses issued in your own country are the main document allowing you to drive in Canada. They can be valid with an international permit or on their own depending on which country issued the license.

An International Driving Permit

An international driving permit is a document you’ll need to drive in Canada. It’s issued by the same authority that issues your national license and you’ll need to have both of them with you for them to be valid. The permit expires within a year or when your national license becomes outdated, whatever comes first.

The permit takes about 7 days to be produced if you’re doing the whole process online. You’ll need two photos, a form, a paid fee, and your driver's license. It can be renewed after a year even when you’re abroad.

Driving for US citizens

US citizens don’t need to have an international permit while driving in Canada. They are allowed to drive with their own license issued by the state as long as it’s valid. You’ll need to have proper car insurance and that usually means that the one you have from home isn’t enough. Make sure to buy short-term car insurance before visiting Canada in case something happens on the road.

The most basic insurance should cover collision damage and personal accident insurance. That’s what you’re able to get at any rental company. There are other options as well, but they come with more fees.

Extra Fees

There are some additional fees that you may need to cover when renting a car in Canada. There’s a fee if a driver is under 25. Having more than one driver also comes with a fee as well as a one-way drop-off.

For the most part, you’ll be charged a fixed fee but there may be additional charges depending on how long the drive will be. After a certain distance, you get charged by the kilometer traveled. There are also fees from going outside the province you’ve rented the car in. In the end, there’s a sales tax of five percent.

Driving Age in Canada

The driving age in Canada is set by the provinces. For the most part, it’s set at 16 but there are differences. However, this doesn’t mean you can rent a car in Canada at the age of 16. That’s only allowed if you’re over 21.

There’s also an additional restriction to be aware of. You need to have at least some driving experience before you’re allowed to rent a car. Some rental agencies restrict young drivers from renting a specific type of vehicle and almost all have a young renter fee that you’ll have to cover if you’re under 25.

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