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Driving in the U.S. if you are not a citizen

Depending on the U.S. states you will visit, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) as well as a driver's license your country.

Learn about IDPs and how to get one before you visit the U.S.

An IDP is a form of identification that many countries around the world recognize. It allows you to drive legally in a different country.

  • Not every U.S. state requires an IDP. Contact the state department of motor vehicles for each state you plan to drive in to see if they require an IDP.
  • You must get an IDP before your trip. The U.S. does not issue IDPs to foreign visitors.
  • To get an IDP, contact the motor vehicle department of the country that issued your driver's license. The fees and amount of time it will take to receive your IDP will depend on the issuing country.
  • You may need both your license and an IDP to rent a car in the U.S. Check the rental company's policies and other requirements in advance.

Driver's licenses if you are living in the U.S. as a permanent resident

If you are a citizen of another country and are living permanently in the U.S., you may be eligible to apply for a driver's license from the state where you live.

  • The residency requirement for obtaining a U.S. driver's license is different in each state.
  • Contact your state department of motor vehicles to check the ID requirements and find out how to apply for a license.
  • A state driver's license allows you to drive anywhere in the U.S.

LAST UPDATED: May 23, 2024


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