Can You Rent a Car With a Temporary License?

When you rent a car, do you always need a driver’s license? Or are other documents like a temporary license accepted? Discover what documents are required and accepted to rent a car.

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5 minutes




If you are considering renting a car for a long or short term period of time, like a road trip, but do not possess a driver’s license, you may be wondering if it is possible to rent a car with a temporary license. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car with a temporary license. 

What do you need to rent a car?

You typically need the following to rent a car:

  1. Valid driver's license: You must have a valid driver's license that is recognized in the country or region where you plan to rent the car. Make sure your license is not expired and meets any age requirements set by the rental company. More about temporary licenses below. 

  2. Age requirement: Most car rental companies have a minimum age requirement, which is usually between 21 and 25 years old. Some rental companies may also add additional fees for drivers under a certain age or restrict certain types of vehicles.

  3. Credit card or payment method: You will generally need a credit card in your name to make the reservation and pay for the rental. The rental company will place a hold on your credit card for the estimated rental charges, and the actual amount will be charged when you return the car. 

  4. Rental car insuranceYou may be required to provide proof of insurance coverage, either through your personal auto insurance policy or by purchasing the rental company's insurance. Check with the rental company about their specific insurance requirements.

  5. Reservation: It's a good idea to make a reservation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure the availability of the vehicle you want. You can usually make a reservation online, through a mobile app, or by contacting the rental company directly.

  6. Additional drivers: If you want to add an additional driver, they will need to meet the same requirements as the primary driver and provide their driver's license information at the time of rental. Additional fees may apply for each extra driver. With FINN, you can add an additional driver free of charge. Browse cars today.

  7. Other documentation: Depending on the rental company and the country you're renting in, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as a passport, proof of address, or international driver's license if you're renting in a foreign country.

What is a temporary license?

A temporary driver's license is a document  that allows someone to legally drive for a limited period of time while they wait for their permanent driver's license to be processed and issued. It serves as a temporary identification and driving permit until the official license is received. Typical situations where you might have a temporary license are:

  1. New drivers: If you’ve  recently passed a  driver's test and met all the requirements for obtaining a driver's license, the DMV may issue you a  temporary license that you can use while you wait for a  permanent one to be printed and mailed.

  2. License renewal: When you renew your driver's licenses, a temporary license may be issued if your current license has expired, but you’ve already applied for a renewal.

  3. Lost or stolen licenses: If you lose your driver's license or it gets stolen, you may be issued a temporary license as a replacement until you can get a new permanent license.

  4. Address or name change: When you update your address or change your name, a temporary license reflecting the updated information could be issued while waiting for the permanent one.

To get a temporary license, go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or website to learn what your state’s process is to apply. 

Can you rent a car with a temporary license?

Yes, you can rent a car with a temporary license. While waiting for your permanent license, it is possible to rent a car with these steps. 

How to rent a car with a temporary license 

  1. Check with the rental company: Start by contacting the rental company directly and inquire about their specific policies regarding temporary licenses. Not all rental companies may accept temporary licenses, so it's important to confirm their requirements beforehand.
  2. Valid identification: Even if you have a temporary license, you will still need to provide additional forms of identification. This could include a valid passport, a government-issued identification card, or another form of identification that the rental company accepts.
  3. Age requirement: Ensure that you meet the rental company's age requirements. Typically, you need to be a certain age (e.g., 21 or 25) to rent a car, regardless of the type of license you hold.
  4. Insurance coverage: Check if your temporary license is covered under your personal auto insurance policy or any other insurance coverage you may have. Additionally, some rental companies offer their own insurance options that you can purchase. With FINN, a rental car alternative, car insurance is included in your monthly fee. 
  5. Pre-booking: Make a reservation in advance to ensure availability and to notify the rental company about your temporary license. This allows them to provide you with any specific instructions or requirements.
  6. Provide necessary documents: When picking up the rental car, bring all the required documents, including your temporary license, additional identification, proof of insurance, and any other documents requested by the rental company.

Rental car companies that allow temporary licenses

  • Budget
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Dollar
  • Thrifty

Many of these companies may have stipulations such as the license not having any restrictions or having to provide other government forms of identification. Be sure to check with the company before renting to ensure you do not have any issues in the process. 

What if the license isn’t valid during the entire rental period?

If your temporary license is not valid for the entire duration of the car rental period, it is unlikely that you will be able to rent a vehicle from most car rental companies. Rental companies typically require a valid driver's license throughout the entire rental period to ensure compliance with legal requirements and to protect their interests.

If your temporary license is set to expire during your rental period, you may need to consider other transportation options or make arrangements to obtain a valid license that covers the duration of your rental. 

How long are temporary licenses usually valid for?

Temporary licenses are typically issued for a limited duration and are meant to serve as a temporary solution until the driver can obtain a regular, full-privilege driver's license. This is dependent on the state in which you reside. Some states issue temporary licenses that are valid for 90 days, others 180 days, and others 6 months. 

To get accurate information about the validity period of temporary licenses, it is best to consult your local DMV. 

Can I rent a car with a passport?

No, you can not drive a car with only a passport. A car rental company wants to know you are authorized to drive a vehicle. While a passport can serve as an additional form of identification, it will not be enough to allow you to rent a car alone. 

Can I rent a car with a photo of my driver’s license?

Most rental car companies will not allow you to rent a car with a digital version of your driver’s license. Your better option is to apply for a temporary driver’s license as those are more widely accepted. 

What about a suspended license? 

If your license is suspended, you will be unable to rent a vehicle. Because rental companies require a valid driver’s license. In the case of a suspended license, it indicates that the person’s driving privileges have been temporarily revoked or restricted by the relevant authorities. Rental companies have policies and legal obligations to ensure that the person renting the vehicle has a valid license and is legally allowed to operate a vehicle. 

An alternative to car renting

If you are undecided whether you should rent a car or not while you do not have a driver’s license, consider an alternative: a car subscription. This is a solution that affords you flexibility and a lower commitment. Browse the many models offered to see which vehicle meets your needs with FINN.

Final thoughts

If you do not have your driver’s license and are considering renting a car, acquiring a temporary license should afford you the opportunity to rent. 

For a car rental alternative, consider a FINN car subscription to have access to a vehicle on six to 12 month terms with maintenance, roadside assistance and insurance included in a monthly rate. 

Can You Rent a Car With a Temporary License
Can You Rent a Car With a Temporary License

Final thoughts

If you do not have your driver’s license and are considering renting a car, acquiring a temporary license should afford you the opportunity to rent. 

For a car rental alternative, consider a FINN car subscription to have access to a vehicle on six to 12 month terms with maintenance, roadside assistance and insurance included in a monthly rate.