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International Drivers License

Make Sure You Get Your International Driver’s License

International Driver’s Licence the United States

Despite the widespread availability of public transportation options, many Americans still rely on their vehicles to get them where they need to go. A valid international driver’s licence is the primary qualification for operating a motor vehicle on public highways in the United States, as is the case in every other country.

However, if you are a foreigner and do not know the laws and customs, things can become complicated. This article will cover the fundamentals of driving in the United States, including the length of time a foreign international driver’s licence will be valid.

Is It Possible To Drive In The USA With A Foreign Licence?

By federal law, all drivers in the United States must have a valid driver’s licence at all times while operating a motor vehicle on public roads. It might be granted by a state in the United States or a country outside of the United States. Therefore, you can legally drive in the United States with an international driving licence.

But that doesn’t imply there aren’t restrictions of some kind. You, as a foreign national residing in the United States, must be cognizant of and must adhere to such regulations.

The language of your international driver’s licence must be English

First and foremost, the licence must be issued in English. The letters, numbers, and symbols all need to be written in clear English. If you do not have one, you will need to obtain an International driver’ licence from your home country. An IDP is preferred by some government officials and travel agents over a national international driver’s licence. There shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s current, written in English, and you don’t plan on driving for longer than three months (we’ll explain why further down).

An alternative is to get your local licence translated into English by a professional translation firm. Even though states like Texas will accept a Spanish translation of your licence, we strongly advise against it. Contact the US Consulate in your country to have the licence translated.

Absence of Impairing Medical Conditions

You also shouldn’t have any obvious health problems that might prevent you from driving. Medical requirements for obtaining an international driver’s licence in the United States include testing for things like vision and whether or not the candidate has ever had a seizure. You should ideally be without any of these.

The length of time you can use an international  licence for driving is:

Visitors to the United States can use their foreign licences to drive for up to three months during their stay. The clock starts ticking on this from the moment they first set foot in the United States on record. After this, your out-of-country licence will be invalid. Obtaining an IDP is essential if you want to keep driving. You should be aware that the United States does not provide IDP to tourists staying for a short period. The only place to get it is in your home country.

However, the process of obtaining the IDP varies for permanent residents compared to temporary visitors. Accordingly, the approach you take should be adjusted.

Visitors vs. Permanent Residents

People who are coming to the United States for a stay of six months or less are considered short-term tourists. Visas can be extended if necessary, but in most cases, they are valid for no more than six months. Those who have been granted permanent residency are referred to as “residents” or “permanent residents.” As was previously indicated, the processes for obtaining an IDP are distinct for each of these categories.

Transient Guests

The United States does not grant IDP to short-term travelers. As a result, you should finish all your responsibilities at home before organizing a trip abroad. Getting an IDP is as simple as visiting your country’s department of motor vehicles.

To Those Who Are Not United States Citizens

You should apply for a state international driver’s licence before the IDP if you meet the requirements for one. For further details, please contact your state’s motor vehicle agency. This international licence is valid for a longer period and can be used to drive in any of the 50 states. Since you plan to remain in the USA for an extended period, or even permanently, this will be very useful to you.

Drive Legally in the United States: What You Need to Know

Driving legally in the United States is discussed in greater depth above. To sum up, here are the prerequisites:

  • You need to be 18 years old to get behind the wheel.

  • Should have a valid driver’s licence from their home state, a valid licence from another country, or an international driver’s permit. All licences must be valid at all times.

  • Must be physically and mentally capable of operating a motor vehicle without risk.

  • Should adhere to all state driving laws and regulations.

Prerequisites for Car Rentals

The chances are good that you will use automobile rental services at some point during your trip to the United States if you plan to do any driving yourself. You may get services like these all around the US at a fair fee. They have needs, too, though, such as

  • Laws requiring permission to operate

  • Contracts for Lease

  • Exceptional driving history

  • Insurance

  • Money put down and paid

Authorization is needed

The rental agency will need to see your international driver’s licence in one of three forms: state, foreign, or IDP. The automobile rental firm might not give you the keys if you don’t provide this information. They have the option of keeping a copy for themselves or only verifying the information before returning it. Be sure to bring one with you when you go car shopping.

Contracts for Lease

You’ll sign a lease with the corporation. Everything from the length of your rental to the total price will be listed here. The paper will also include a compensation clause in case of damage or breakage midway through the contract. You should at least once thoroughly read it.

Exceptional driving history

Potential employers may inquire about the past driving experience. They have the right to terminate your agreement or reservation if they discover any infractions.


Insurance is highly recommended for car rentals. You can pay for it with a motor club membership, a credit card, or your personal auto insurance policy. Your company may take care of your medical expenses while you travel for work. Avoiding unnecessary duplication of coverages is crucial.

Money put down and paid

The company’s policy may require you to make a down payment before picking up the car, with the balance due when you hand it back.

What Are the Steps to Obtaining an international driver’s Licence to Drive in the USA?

Obtaining a valid international driver’s licence from a state in the United States may help you when applying for a visa extension. You can get one for yourself if you’re a foreign national and apply for one.

Since you won’t have a Social Security number, you’ll need to provide two forms of identification that include your name, date of birth, and photo. Additionally, proof of residence is required. The next step is to go ahead and take the driving exam after the necessary costs have been paid. If you do well on the test, you will be issued a temporary licence that will be valid for 30 to 90 days while your permanent international driver’s licence is processed and mailed to you.


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