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-   -   Usa Driving Licence (https://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-57/usa-driving-licence-115105/)

inveresk Oct 31st 2002 12:51 pm

Usa Driving Licence
 
Can anyone help with advice about getting a US driving licence? I'm shortly to relocate to Ky and have held a UK driving licence for 30+ years. What's the procedure for obtaining a US driving license and would I be best to do this before I take out car insurance? My date for relocation is early December.

southcoast Oct 31st 2002 6:07 pm

Re: Usa Driving Licence
 

Originally posted by inveresk
Can anyone help with advice about getting a US driving licence? I'm shortly to relocate to Ky and have held a UK driving licence for 30+ years. What's the procedure for obtaining a US driving license and would I be best to do this before I take out car insurance? My date for relocation is early December.

I don't know about the rest of the states, but in Texas I had to go to the local DPS office do a written test (well on a computer) then take a driving test just to get a Texas driving license. It was a real pain in the arse as the driving test was a joke,(basically drive around the block and reverse into a parking space). I had a English driving licence and a International license but none of that made a difference, I don't think you can get insurance without a Ky state license. so good luck, but don't worry about the test, its all about common sense.

Rob S Oct 31st 2002 9:23 pm

Re: Usa Driving Licence
 

Originally posted by inveresk
Can anyone help with advice about getting a US driving licence? I'm shortly to relocate to Ky and have held a UK driving licence for 30+ years. What's the procedure for obtaining a US driving license and would I be best to do this before I take out car insurance? My date for relocation is early December.

1. Driving Licenses are the responsibility of the States.
2. Do a Google search for the KY DMV or RMV (department/registry of motor vehicles). This will tell you KYs requirements.

3. Most states require that you obtain a local license within a short period of becoming resident (10-30 days) - but ...

4. you will probably need a Social Security Number or Tax Identification number first (the SSA web-site will give you the details).

5. Your UK licence is valid for 12 months, but the individual state will still require you to apply for one of theirs, however this does mean you can normally drive as soon as you arrive in the states.

6. You may have to take a driving test, but don't be too fazed by this - there aimed at 16 year olds and nothing like the torture in the UK. (that said I don't take the MA test for another couple of weeks so I could still end up eating my words).

7. Finally, you can get insurance on you UK licence without too much difficulty - but you will have to explain the terms (in MA an edorsement is the extra bit that allows to drive school buses etc. - in the UK an endorsement is a penalty).

sequoyah Nov 1st 2002 4:02 pm

Driving Test Blues
 
I am a recent arrival from Australia and have been driving for 25 years. Now living in OK it never occured to me that i would have a problem passing a driving test. BUT i did, it took me three goes before i finally passed. The reasons? ..........well, although i can drive (never had an accident) i had forgotten all the idiosyncrasis (sp) that go along with taking the test. In the end i took a 30 minute driving lesson where i learnt exactly what they were looking for and passed straight away.

As a matter of interest, the driving examiner who passed me said that 90% of new migrants fail at least 2 tests unless they have had a prior lesson. Reason: .........all the bad habits we have picked up.

Just my two cents worth.......

southcoast Nov 1st 2002 5:28 pm

I can imagine it is easy to fail the test if you have picked up bad habits,
but the trick is to imagine your learning to drive again, keep both hands on the wheel at 10 to 2 etc, check your mirrors every 10 seconds and go the speed limit, this was way to easy for me, as I drove around the block I drove through a school zone (no faster then 20 mph) then basically reverse into a parking spot big enough to park a bus in.(altough I did witness a lady take 10 attempts and STILL pass, the mind boggles!)

Another tip buy a learning to drive book, it will help when knowing what to do at intersections and yielding to other cars etc.

The DPS in Dallas was SO busy, the examiners where basically just trying to get them out and on their way. It was a joke. But just like everything, each State is a different world.

dbark Nov 1st 2002 7:11 pm

Hi,

I had heard that whilst waiting to take a state driving test, especially if you are using the old-style UK licence (i.e. no photo), it is a good idea to have an Internation Driving Permit. They are available from the RAC or AA, cost £4 and last for a year. The reason the AA told me it was a good idea, is that if you are stopped whilst driving in the US, the police there expect photo ID, and the IDP provides this.

Check out: http://www.theaa.com/getaway/idp/

Good luck,

Debbie :)

southcoast Nov 1st 2002 7:29 pm

Yes, when I first came to the states I brought the international permit
(like you said it was only 4 pounds). That is fine if you intend to drive a hire car etc, the next problem is, to buy a car you need a license and Insurance even before you drive it off the forecourt.

I don't know 100% but I believe you need a State license BEFORE you can get vehicle insurance. Therefore any kind of License from the U.K will be invalid.

WARNING if you are stopped by the police, you may get away with the International license thing, BUT if you do not provide insurance on the spot you will be fined anywhere upto $400.00.

Basically my U.S wife drove me around until I passed my State test.
Also it was a job requirement to have a Texas state license.

dbark Nov 1st 2002 8:02 pm

I know that my fiance's vehicle insurance covers me - I drive his car when I am there. Basically it covers any driver. I am sure you are right though, if I need to get my own insurance I will need my own state license.

Debbie

idiotnonsavant Nov 3rd 2002 2:35 am


Originally posted by dbark
Hi,

I had heard that whilst waiting to take a state driving test, especially if you are using the old-style UK licence (i.e. no photo), it is a good idea to have an Internation Driving Permit. They are available from the RAC or AA, cost £4 and last for a year. The reason the AA told me it was a good idea, is that if you are stopped whilst driving in the US, the police there expect photo ID, and the IDP provides this.

Check out: http://www.theaa.com/getaway/idp/

Good luck,

Debbie :)

I got an international license the first (Chicago), second (Boston) and third (Atlanta) times I came over. In Chicago I didn't offer the UK license, in Boston they asked "don't you just have a UK license" and used it. In Atlanta I offered te choice and they said they would rather see the real thing. After that I just used the UK license.

When I finally got my act together and emigrated the California DMV just wanted to see my UK license, they said that was good enough for me to have a temporary license between the written and driven tests.

I was told the main reason for an international license is as a translation when you are in a country that uses a different language.

Vicky88 Nov 3rd 2002 5:42 am

In California you must apply for a local licence within 30 days of arrival, if you are here as a resident. That said you would have to be a village idiot to not pass the written test as it is so simple, multiple choice. Driving test is easy as well. Main thing to remember is not to exceed the speed limit in residential areas.

Rob S Nov 5th 2002 12:21 pm


Originally posted by southcoast
Yes, when I first came to the states I brought the international permit
(like you said it was only 4 pounds). That is fine if you intend to drive a hire car etc, the next problem is, to buy a car you need a license and Insurance even before you drive it off the forecourt.

I don't know 100% but I believe you need a State license BEFORE you can get vehicle insurance. Therefore any kind of License from the U.K will be invalid.

WARNING if you are stopped by the police, you may get away with the International license thing, BUT if you do not provide insurance on the spot you will be fined anywhere upto $400.00.

Basically my U.S wife drove me around until I passed my State test.
Also it was a job requirement to have a Texas state license.

This may vary from State to State and between insurers, but generally you don't require a US license of any description to get insurance, I have insurance on two vehicles in MA - both on my UK licence. I wasn't even a US resident when I bought and insured the first one.
The only requirement is that the foreign licence is in english - if not then an international licence is necessary.
Although I'm a recent resident, I have been visting and driving in the States for some time as have various (british) members of my family. None of us has ever had or required an international licence - if you have the old style UK licence you should (must?) carry your passport with you as well.

Vicky88 Nov 5th 2002 5:53 pm

In California they want to see a California licence when they give you their insurance. First time we insured we did not have our California licence but were given insurance on the basis that we would get a California licence within a month. Also insurance premiums here will decrease over time if you hold a local licence.

I think you may find it is illegal to drive on an international licence after a certain period of time if you are a resident.

Yorkieabroad Nov 10th 2002 2:23 am

I've just arrived in Texas, and have been thru the UK/International driving licence thing with the same result - no licence prior test, no Insurance prior Licence, and no car prior Insurance! Good job my wife is a local!

Southcoast - any lowdown on the written/computer test? Is it multi choice? Are they looking for facts and figures, or common sense....?

Thanks

Alex65 Nov 11th 2002 6:44 am

USA driving licence
 
My New Jersey experience is not applicable to KY, but anyway here's what happened when I applied for a licence in NJ in 2000.

Everyone told me that I'd have to take a driving test, but first of all, I'd have to do the written exam (which turned out to be computerized). So one day I turned up at my local MVS office in Burlington to take the exam. I had to prove that I was in the US legally, which wasn't a problem for me as I had conditional permanent resident status. I filled out a form, which required a Social Security number etc, and waited to be called for the test. Having been driving in NJ on a UK/International licence for some time, I didn't see the need to study for the exam - bad mistake. I failed, and spent the next few weeks studying the book the clerk gave me.

Next time, about a month later, I passed. Upon passing, the same man who told me I'd failed before asked me for my British driving licence, looked at it for a few seconds, and informed me that my passing the exam and holding a licence from the UK was adequate proof of my ability to drive in NJ - that I didn't need to take the driving test.

I don't know about other states but in NJ it is a discretionary procedure - the official has the right to waive the driving test for an alien. So shortly after getting my photograph taken I had my US driving license. The whole procedure took about two hours.

southcoast Nov 11th 2002 9:16 pm


Originally posted by Yorkieabroad
I've just arrived in Texas, and have been thru the UK/International driving licence thing with the same result - no licence prior test, no Insurance prior Licence, and no car prior Insurance! Good job my wife is a local!

Southcoast - any lowdown on the written/computer test? Is it multi choice? Are they looking for facts and figures, or common sense....?

Thanks

Hey there Yorkie,

Like I have said in the forum above, each state is different, and you will find having a Texas driving license is more important than a passport.
you will need it for buying beer (and believe me you can look 70 and still be asked for I.D), bank transactions etc, so its VERY important.

Anyways to answer your question, it is all about common sense, although I highly recommend you go to your local DPS office and get a "how to pass the written test" book. (I do not know the name of this book!). study it for a few nights, and ask your wife the do's and dont's of yielding at stop signs and highways etc.

The comp multiple test was 20 questions long, of which only 4 or 5 you can only get wrong (if you get anymore you will fail). Alot were common sense questions, but it might ask you, the legal limit for alcohol in your bloodstream etc. (it tells you in the book).

I can't really remember all the questions as I took it 2 1/2 years ago, but I Passed it first time, and getting 3 wrong. The driving test in England is 10 times harder then the Texas one, so don't worry about it too much.

if you want to anymore info, drop us a line on the forum

Good luck.


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