5 Most Needed Documents for Car Rental in Canada if You are a U.S. American living in Germany

Traveling is a wonderful thing. I have come to the point to believe it would be easier to rent a car in Uzbekistan and drive it into Turkmenistan. At least, security could not be much tighter. Our rental procedure is so complicated as we are heading to an exotic country… such as Canada.

We have been having a challenging time trying to get a rental car for when we arrive in Halifax/Canada. We could not anticipate the difficulties we would encounter when a U.S. American, residing in Germany, wants to rent a car in Canada AND take it across the U.S. border.

The first stage included finding a car rental agency who would even rent a car to an U.S. American in Canada. Out of the about 30 car rental agencies on the Canadian market, only two were willing to let us rent a car. We settled on Alamo as they had the better offer of the two.

Then we gathered the four extra required documents.

* International driver’s license in English. Strange as it might seem, official German paperwork such as the International Driver’s License is issued in German, among various other languages. The very last page is in English. We are still awaiting their confirmation that one page in English is sufficient as we were told “When renting a car in Canada, you must provide an international drivers license that is issued in English.  All the documents that you have to provide must be in English and must be original.”

We have run into so many unexpected challenges along the way, we need to make very sure that one page in English is sufficient.

* German registration

* Certified English translation of the German registration

* Proof of our return tickets

* We also decided to bring my husband’s confirmation of employment in Germany.


Now, if you are foolish like us, you might think “Why not combine our trip to Canada (where we attend a wedding) with a short visit down to Maine?” This is part two of the fun:

* For taking the car into the U.S., we have to get a written addendum in our rental contract that specifically permits us to drive the rental car into the US.

 or we will get into trouble at the Canadian/U.S. border.

Not to mention my German nationality, being the spouse of a U.S. citizen without a green card puts me in the second highest risk group for illegal immigration. If we get through with the car – and myself included – we get to visit a friend, spend some U.S. Dollars, then turn back to Saint John/Canada to visit another friend.

As a German citizen, I have never flown into Canada trying to rent a car with my American husband and his driver’s license. And I don’t think I will ever do this again.

Getting a Costly Driver’s License in Germany

A couple of years back, I had written about this topic, when are son turned 17 and the first neighborly inquiries were made about whether he was getting his driver’s license soon.

Coming of age in Germany means getting your driver’s license. And of course, this is the case for most other industrialized countries too. But in Germany, the average cost is between euro 2.000 and 3.000.

Almost prohibitively expensive, I’d say. So when I read the ad “Sparen für den Führerschein” (Saving for the driver’s license) with the capture “Originelles Weihnachtsgeschenk” ( fancy Christmas gift idea), I had to chuckle a bit again.

The ad goes on saying “… by saving money now, you can help fulfill the young one’s dream of getting the driver’s license or car… save 15 euro monthly, earn 0.5% – 1.7% interest and after 18 years of saving, you can afford going to driving school…”

Wow. I got my U.S. driver’s license for US $ 20 and so did my husband. Our son (U.S. American and German citizen, born in Japan) now resides in the U.K. where he is not likely to get his driver’s license while going to college.

Germans, on the other hand, are quite eager to get this six-month Fahrschule started and done with. Life would seem incomplete without the Fahrvergnügen and Führerschein.

We are more keen on getting his “Collegeschein” (I’ve just made this one up) and be able to pay for it till the end… at a much higher cost.

Germans love their cars and some recycle old ones into furniture, see recycled Trabiant Sofa.