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Driving licence confusion

Driving licence confusion

Old Jun 9th 2023, 4:19 pm
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Default Driving licence confusion

I'll be starting in Kentucky when moving to the US. It appears that KY is one of the few States that has foreign licence reciprocity with the UK. From the website...

"All non-U.S. citizens may drive in the U.S. on their valid foreign license and International Permit for up to one year from the date of admission into the U.S. provided their home country is part of the Foreign License Reciprocity​. Drivers must obtain a Kentucky license within 30 days of establishing residency in Kentucky.​"

So when I move into my wife's place in KY, does that mean I have 30 days to get a KY licence but at the same time I can still drive in the US for up to a year with my UK licence and permit?
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

The 1968 Vienna Road Traffic Convention says:-

driving licences issued by a contracting party shall be recognised in the territory of another contracting party until this territory becomes the place of normal residence of their holder;
But the US didn't sign the 1968 convention, they did sign the 1949 Geneva one. So they are still bound by the earlier one which gives you a year on your UK license. Best of luck getting a State to abide by the 1949 Convention.

Last edited by lansbury; Jun 9th 2023 at 5:08 pm.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 5:56 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk

So when I move into my wife's place in KY, does that mean I have 30 days to get a KY licence but at the same time I can still drive in the US for up to a year with my UK licence and permit?
As you're resident, you have 30 days. The 1 year thing is to cover visitors who have a permanent residence outside the state of KY and are there for a short(ish) period of time. Any more than a year is considered you live there now. You've chosen to live there, so you have to acquire a KY license after 30 days or risk driving without a valid licence.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by postbox134
As you're resident, you have 30 days. The 1 year thing is to cover visitors who have a permanent residence outside the state of KY and are there for a short(ish) period of time. Any more than a year is considered you live there now. You've chosen to live there, so you have to acquire a KY license after 30 days or risk driving without a valid licence.
That makes sense now, thank you!
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 8:52 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk
That makes sense now, thank you!
Hypothetically, even if you could make an argument for driving on your UK (non-US) licence for upto 12 months, there really isn't any good reason to do so, even if; like most of us here, you have to do a road test, as the written and road tests in the US set such an astonishingly low bar to pass that for anyone with a year or two's driving under their belt, they might as well give you a license free inside a box of breakfast cereal.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by Pulaski
Hypothetically, even if you could make an argument for driving on your UK (non-US) licence for upto 12 months, there really isn't any good reason to do so, even if; like most of us here, you have to do a road test, as the written and road tests in the US set such an astonishingly low bar to pass that for anyone with a year or two's driving under their belt, they might as well give you a license free inside a box of breakfast cereal.
Well to my surprise, according to the KY Drive website, if you're a permanent resident and hold an "International Driver Permit from a Foreign License Reciprocity Country" (which the UK is listed as one) you only need to do the theory and vision test, which is a nice bonus. I'm guessing this is not the norm for most States.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk
Well to my surprise, according to the KY Drive website, if you're a permanent resident and hold an "International Driver Permit from a Foreign License Reciprocity Country" (which the UK is listed as one) you only need to do the theory and vision test, which is a nice bonus. I'm guessing this is not the norm for most States.
It's a confusing website because it says that but then in a separate section it says "All non-U.S. citizens transferring from a foreign country and applying for a first-time Kentucky permit/license must take the written, vision, and road tests. Drivers holding a valid license from a foreign reciprocity country will not be required to hold a permit." That makes it sound like every non U.S. citizen from a foreign country has to take the test but that a learners permit might not be needed from a foreign reciprocity country. At least that's how I read it anyways.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by EdgeAA
It's a confusing website because it says that but then in a separate section it says "All non-U.S. citizens transferring from a foreign country and applying for a first-time Kentucky permit/license must take the written, vision, and road tests. Drivers holding a valid license from a foreign reciprocity country will not be required to hold a permit." That makes it sound like every non U.S. citizen from a foreign country has to take the test but that a learners permit might not be needed from a foreign reciprocity country. At least that's how I read it anyways.
Yes I noticed that discrepancy too. I'm guessing one of those pieces of information is out of date. I'm hoping the former is the most up to date! I'll find out either way. I'm going to the Post Office to get an International Permit just in case.

Last edited by epiphanyuk; Jun 9th 2023 at 9:23 pm.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 10:13 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk
Well to my surprise, according to the KY Drive website, if you're a permanent resident and hold an "International Driver Permit from a Foreign License Reciprocity Country" (which the UK is listed as one) you only need to do the theory and vision test, which is a nice very small bonus.
FIFY ..... The road tests administered by US states are an utter joke, so taking the test is just an annoyance, not a challenge. That is likely part of the reason why the standard of driving in the US is so attrocious.
I'm guessing this is not the norm for most States.
Correct. (If that is the case, I see per recent posts the point is still not certain) until today I wasn't aware that Kentucky would swap a UK license. The only other state I know of that will do so is NJ. I do know many states that require a road test for someone with a UK licence - NY, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, TX, CA, AZ, IL, CT, MA, ....

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 9th 2023 at 10:17 pm.
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Old Jun 9th 2023, 10:37 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by Pulaski
FIFY ..... The road tests administered by US states are an utter joke, so taking the test is just an annoyance, not a challenge. That is likely part of the reason why the standard of driving in the US is so attrocious.
I hear ya. Path of least resistance (and annoyance) is always welcome though. I'm the kind of person who laments part of their day being taken up by an MOT. I don't know how I've survived this long.
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Old Jun 10th 2023, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Note that Permit and License are two very different things. A Permit is a Learner's Permit which someone who does not have a acceptable foreign license needs or someone who has never held a driver's license.

A driver's license is a full license to drive a vehicle without someone else in the car with you as is needed by someone who holds a Permit only.
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Old Jun 12th 2023, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk
I hear ya. Path of least resistance (and annoyance) is always welcome though. I'm the kind of person who laments part of their day being taken up by an MOT. I don't know how I've survived this long.
No worries there. There is no MOT or emissions inspection in KY. You will be able to drive a 25 year old vehicle pumping out toxic pollution and no-one will care.

I'm very surprised you can simply exchange a UK license for a KY license. When I arrived in TN back in 2005 I had to take the theory test (30 questions on a computer) and take my practical which was once around the block at 30mph. No 3-point turns, parallel parking or reversing into an empty space. I can't see how anyone can fail.
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Old Jun 13th 2023, 12:10 am
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by OldEastEnder
No worries there. There is no MOT or emissions inspection in KY. You will be able to drive a 25 year old vehicle pumping out toxic pollution and no-one will care.

I'm very surprised you can simply exchange a UK license for a KY license. When I arrived in TN back in 2005 I had to take the theory test (30 questions on a computer) and take my practical which was once around the block at 30mph. No 3-point turns, parallel parking or reversing into an empty space. I can't see how anyone can fail.
Looks like Kentucky makes it easier…

https://drive.ky.gov/Drivers/Pages/New-To-Kentucky.aspx

UK is on the list…

Non-US Citizen

  • All non-U.S. citizens transferring from a foreign country and applying for a first-time Kentucky permit/license must take the written, vision, and road tests. Drivers holding a valid license from a foreign reciprocity country will not be required to hold a permit.
  • Non-U.S. citizens transferring from another U.S. State with a valid license or already licensed in Kentucky are not required to retest.​​​
  • ​For more information, click here.​​

https://drive.ky.gov/Drivers/Documen...-Countries.pdf







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Old Jun 13th 2023, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by OldEastEnder
No worries there. There is no MOT or emissions inspection in KY. You will be able to drive a 25 year old vehicle pumping out toxic pollution and no-one will care.

I'm very surprised you can simply exchange a UK license for a KY license. When I arrived in TN back in 2005 I had to take the theory test (30 questions on a computer) and take my practical which was once around the block at 30mph. No 3-point turns, parallel parking or reversing into an empty space. I can't see how anyone can fail.
I agree with the MOT in principle. It's a reasonable requirement and probably does make the roads safer over the long term. But yes, according to the KY website apparently only a theory and vision test is needed with an international permit from a country that has a reciprocity agreement. I'm anticipating some discrepancy with what is written and what someone tells me in person though...
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Old Jun 13th 2023, 4:17 am
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Default Re: Driving licence confusion

Originally Posted by epiphanyuk
I agree with the MOT in principle. It's a reasonable requirement and probably does make the roads safer over the long term. But yes, according to the KY website apparently only a theory and vision test is needed with an international permit from a country that has a reciprocity agreement. I'm anticipating some discrepancy with what is written and what someone tells me in person though...
For some strange reason, the Kentucky DMV web site lists over 180 countries with a reciprocity agreement, which is virtually all countries (I noticed that Burma and North Korea are missing), including Cuba and Iran, which are both countries that the US has had very long term sanctions against. So I am not even sure what Kentucky thinks a "reciprocal agreement" means, and I would eat my hat if the UK has agreed to swap a KY license for a British one.
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