Foreigners driving a car in the US

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by gementricxs, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know what the rules are for foreigners driving a car in the US, specifically California?

    Can I use my Czech drivers license, do I have to get an international drivers license or apply for an Californian one? website says that I need an international drivers license to drive in the US, but DMV of California says that international drivers license is not recognized in Cali (that my own country drivers license should be enough).

    And the California Driver Handbook says "(...) or take job and you want to drive in California, you must apply for a California driver license within 10 day." Does that apply for US residents only or also for foreigners who will work there on visa?

    I cannot find information that would deal specifically with foreigners who are in the US living and working for short period of time.
    DMV website doesn't really help much especially when all the emails sent to them are answered by a robot :shock:

    Does anyone of you have any experience with it?
  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    Well, I don't know answer.

    But I found this on California Driving - A Survival Guide:

    If you are temporarily visiting California, you can use your out-of-state or foreign driver's license for as long as it's valid where it was issued -- you do not need to register with the DMV or do anything beyond making sure your license is valid and current. In most cases, (e.g. Western European countries, Australia, most of SE. Asia, etc.) foreigners do not really need the additional International Driver's License as well, but if your license looks exotic, it would probably help to have one just in case (this is the license issued by the relevant Automobile Association or Government body in your country that certifies in several languages that you have a license in your own country. You must also have your normal license with you if you use the International License).
  3. Yerusalyim

    Yerusalyim Well-Known Member

    My first guess is that the deal from the California DMV would indicate that if you are working in the US on a VISA you need a license. Call the DMV and ask.
  4. PGN

    PGN Well-Known Member

    My wife got her first license in CA, she didn't have any problems.

    When my brother-in-law started to go to school here last year he took the drivers test in Virginia and got a license. We bought him a car once he got the license. Something to keep in mind, the insurance is probably going to be the hardest ($$$$) requirement for you.

    You could try emailing the POC from Carlsbad: ... ParentIDO=

    These POCs usually go out of their way to answer these types of questions.

    The International Drivers License is usually recognized for vacation type visits.
  5. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    I have just called the DMV (I hope that the 1-800 number is free even from Czech Republic, otherwise i just spent god knows how many korunas) and according to them I should be okay with just a Czech license (they dont accept international license though) if i am not working there for more than 90 days.
    I will be working there for 3 months without 5 days and then I'm off to north. So I should be okay.
  6. Yerusalyim

    Yerusalyim Well-Known Member

    I think you just spendt a butt load of Crowns...almost no 800 numbers are international.
  7. Alexx

    Alexx Well-Known Member

    No, 1-800 is definately not free from here :). But when you really need to call, use skype or so, I have been talking to my brother last summer when he was in states for hours for just a couple of euros.

    International driving licence is just 50 CZK I guess, so it's probably worth it as you probably cross californian border to at least Oregon and Washington as you said in the other topic, so it is gonna be cheaper to have it than call to another "free" DMV's again. If you would like to make a trip to Mexico (no visa needed, but you have to have multiple entry US visa), you allways use international driving licence.
  8. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    And you would think that since it's 800 number it would be free. Never trust ads. :( :cry:

    Mexico sound cool, but I have to put it off for next time, if there is next time.
  9. The Animal

    The Animal Well-Known Member

    800 numbers are free here in the states. One thing that I would check on is car insurance though. :wink: :wink:

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