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On the road during your Exchange Program: Driving in the U.S.
Whether your adventurous soul screams for doing road trips during your international experience, or your new home city in the U.S. does not have enough public transportation connections, you might need to jump on a car and drive along the United States while you stay for an Exchange Visitor program. If this is the case, it is very important that you know the regulations and law that apply in your situation and you might need to apply for a U.S. Driving License during your time abroad.
In the U.S. the specific regulations regarding the Driving Licenses and whether is permitted or not to drive with a foreign license depends on the State, and it’s controlled by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of each State. So, this means, there are 50 States and 50 different regulations concerning driving for foreigners. It is important that you read very well the law applicable in your State. In this official website you can select the State you live in and will re-direct you to the DMV of that State. There are huge differences in the timings and limitations of the law: while in New York State you can’t drive with your foreign license after 90 days from the starting of your program, in Connecticut, for example, you can drive up to one year with your International Driving Permit (IDP), and in California, however, the IDP is not recognized without having your own foreign license. WOW! That’s confusing. The solution: just focus in the regulations of your State and follow their instructions. There is also some resources to make you understand better the rules, like this website, dmv.org, that gathers the main information of all the different States. However, always consult the official DMV site of your State.
Although there are many differences between States to obtain a driving license, almost always there will be some steps that you have to follow and that we present in this article. To get a Driving License in U.S.:
What documents should I bring to apply for my Driving License?
Once again, it is very important that you check all the information in the DMV site of your State before going to the offices. Regulations may have changed since the date of writing this article, and some new documents might be needed. Also, make sure to always bring the original documents, not a copy or a photo. In general most States will as Exchange Visitors for the next documents in order to get a driving license:
US Training Alliance best advice when on the road: “is better to lose a minute in your life, than to lose your life in a minute”. So please, drive responsibly, respect the other drivers, and get safe to your destination. Happy road trip!