Updated: Apr 23, 2019
When planning a road trip in Iceland, you're going to have a million questions. This is completely understandable if you're going to a new place for the first time. Things will inevitably be different. It's natural to wonder which things are similar which things are different to back home. One of the many questions that pops up is if motorists need a special license to drive a motorhome or campervan rental in Iceland. As with many things, the answer is: it depends. While most drivers do not need a special license, there are some exceptions. There are also certain conditions that need to be met, such a the driver’s age.
The Same Driver's License for Both Countries
So for the majority of motorists, the standard driver’s license issued by your home country is recognized as valid. In Europe, this means a Type B driver’s license. This driving permit allows you to operate vehicles that weigh up to 3,500 kg (around 3.5 tons or 7,716 pounds). Just to put this in perspective, a regular car is around 2,000 kg and most motorhome rentals in Iceland are less than 3,500 kg. Camper vans fall somewhere in the middle. If you have a Class D driver’s license in the United States or G class license in Canada, for example, the Type B driver’s license is the European equivalent. You don’t need a special license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive a campervan or motorhome rental in Iceland.
Australian drivers can use their licenses as well, but please remember that in Iceland we drive on the right side of the road, so a large vehicle like a motorhome might be a completely new experience.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are of course exceptions the the guidelines mentioned above. If you have the equivalent of a Type B driver’s license from a non-European (EEA) or non-Nordic country, the license needs to be printed in Latin/Roman characters in order to be valid. In other words, if you’re coming from China (characters), Saudia Arabia (Arabic), Russia (Cyrillic), or another country with a non-Latin script, you’ll need to bring either an International Driving Permit (IDP) or an official translation of your license. The translation can be in Icelandic, Engish, Danish, Norwegian, or Swedish.
Another exception is for drivers from India. The standard Indian license only permits drivers to operate vehicles that weigh less that 2,500 kg. This puts some limitations on the types of vehicles you can rent with this license, so speak to your Iceland rental company to see the options available.
Obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP)
An International Driving Permit (IDP) should not be confused with a standalone license. Rather, it’s a translation of your license into ten different languages that you must carry alongside your license. The IDP is not valid by itself, and there’s no such thing as an “international driver’s license”. The IDP simply certifies the validity of the license issued by your home country and makes it easier for traffic authorities in the countries you visit to understand. It’s accepted as a valid form of identification in 150 countries, as long as it’s accompanied by your original license. Be wary of scam artists trying to sell licenses to unlicensed drivers or ones with expired or suspended licenses.
The application process is fairly simple and quite straightforward. You’ll need to go through an official government organization (like AAA in the United States) and apply online. Here is a list of officially recognized agencies and vendors that can issue an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Age Requirements to Drive a Motorhome or Campervan in Iceland
While it’s likely that you’ll be able to use your home country’s driving license to rent a motorhome or campervan in Iceland, there is another factor to consider. Just as car rentals have a minimum age requirement, so do motorhome and campervan rentals. The minimum age to rent a car, campervan, or motor home in Iceland depends up the type of vehicle you want to rent. Here is a basic summary.
Age Requirements for Car Rental in Iceland
20 years and up: Normal cars and medium-sized SUVs
23 years and up: Large SUVs and multiseaters
Age Requirements for Campervan Rental in Iceland
20-23 years of age: Varies depending on the model of campervan
Age Requirements for Motorhome Rental in Iceland
25 years of age: All motorhomes
Do I Need a Special License to Drive a Motorhome or Campervan in Iceland?
So in summary, most drivers don't need a special license to drive a motorhome or campervan in Iceland. The exceptions to the rule are drivers who have licenses with a non-Latin script and drivers whose licenses do not permit operating vehicles that weigh up to 3,500 kg. And of course, make sure that you are the correct age for a motorhome or campervan rental in Iceland. Once you’ve got your ducks in a row, it’s time to browse our selection of campervan and motorhome rentals to find your perfect vehicle for an amazing Iceland road trip.