Can I Drive with a Foreign License in the U.S.?

Can I Drive with a Foreign License in the U.S.?

A valid driving license from any nation allows you to drive for up to one year in the U.S. However, the laws vary from state to state in the United States.

If you are a visitor to the U.S. and renting or sharing a car, then you might need an International Driving Permit over and above your valid driver’s license. If the state you are travelling to requires an IDP, then you must get it before entering the country. The United States does not issue any IDPs to visitors. The motor and vehicle department of your country will issue you an IDP.

For a non-citizen resident of the U.S. who is eligible for a driver’s license, it is better to apply for that than to apply for an International Driving Permit. A U.S. driver’s license will allow you to drive in all states of the U.S.

The driver’s license, of course, is not part of the process of acquiring citizenship for the U.S., so don’t view it as such. Long-term visitors, such as international students and those on work visas, will eventually find a U.S. driver’s license practical enough to pursue.

What are the Requirements to Drive in the U.S.?

Some traffic rules vary from state to state in the U.S., but you will find that most standard rules apply nationwide.

You must be 16 years and above with a valid driver’s license to drive in the United States. It is also important that you do not have a medical condition that makes you unfit to drive.

If you are renting a car in the United States, then the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • License: The rental company will need you to produce your driver’s license issued by your home country. The company will also check your driving record. If any violations are found, your car booking might get cancelled.
  • Deposit: The car company keeps a security deposit on your payment card. It is important to read the rental agreement carefully to understand the fees and deposit rules. The fees may include fuel charges, driver charges, airport surcharge, equipment rental, and taxes.
  • Other charges: Any cost due to the damage to the vehicle, including dents, breakage, scratches, and flat tires, might come back to you. Understand the rental terms prior to picking up the car from the rental company.
  • Insurance: It is good to have insurance when renting a car. Your car insurance can be covered under an auto insurance policy. Check the terms of these policies first to understand what is and is not covered for the rental.

While the roads and driving etiquette in the U.S. are impeccable, you can’t rule out the risk of an accident, particularly if you’re not used to driving on the right-hand side of the road. Drive carefully, and be sure to follow all traffic safety rules and regulations.

What Are the Standards of Driving in the U.S.?

Driving in the U.S. is the most convenient way to get around. You will need to self-drive a car on a leisure or business trip. To drive safely in the U.S., it is important to understand the traffic rules and regulations.

It is important to follow all the traffic rules in the U.S. to prevent any violation tickets. With many monitoring cameras in place at stoplights and on toll roads, you might get a ticket even if a police officer never pulled you over. The driving rules are different in different states, but some basic rules are the same throughout the country.

  1. Drinking and driving is a serious offense.
  2. Hitchhiking is illegal in some states of the U.S.
  3. Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  4. Do not cross the double yellow line.
  5. Follow the solid white lines to stay in your lane.
  6. Use the left lane to pass other vehicles.
  7. Respect all the pedestrians. Stop your vehicle completely when you see a pedestrian crossing a street.
  8. Avoid using your horn unless absolutely necessary.
  9. Stop and make way for an emergency vehicle at an intersection.

It is important to be well-versed with your state’s traffic laws and best practices before taking your vehicle out on the road.

How to Get a U.S. Driver’s License

If you are planning to stay for longer than a year or applying for a permanent residency in the U.S., then it is better to get your driver’s license. A U.S. driver’s license lets you drive in all 50 states. According to the country’s laws, you can apply for a driver’s license.

The local branch office of the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue your driver’s license. The process is simple: Complete the form, provide the required documents, pay the fees, and appear for the test. When you pass the test, the department issues you a temporary driver’s license that is typically valid for 60 to 90 days. A permanent driver’s license will be mailed to you within this period.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?


For visitors, travel, student and other international travel medical insurance.

Visit or call +1 (866) INSUBUY or +1 (972) 985-4400