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US driver's licence

(18 Posts)
WhamBam Sat 11-Dec-10 10:13:07

Hi, we're moving to the US at the end of the month. DH already over there and has bought a car and finding it very hard to get me insured to drive without a US licence (he's american and has always kept his). I will take the test asap when i get over there, but that may still take a few weeks which would be a disaster with two smallies.

Am going to apply for an international licence, but that's going to take a few weeks too - the insurance company isn't really on board with that and seem to be more confused than me. What did everyone else do, would appreciate any tips thanks.

ps: licence is UK - full and clean smile

SatinandTat Sat 11-Dec-10 16:02:39

I can't remember what we did but I do know that when we have family visitors over from the UK we have no problems adding them to our insurance temporarily. I will check who we are insured with for you.

AnnabelUSA Sat 11-Dec-10 18:03:02

I'm surprised you're having this difficulty as it's always seemed to me that the whole business of car insurance is quite casual here compared to the UK.

We don't have a car here (we're in Manhattan) but DH sometimes drives company cars just with his British license. We've also hired cars before from Enterprise (for up to three months in fact) with our British licenses and had no problems. Before we moved here, we came over to stay with some friends Upstate and IIRC they were able to add DH to their insurance just through a quick phone call. I remember being quite surprised by that at the time, although it was a few years ago now.

AnnabelUSA Sat 11-Dec-10 18:07:34

Just a quick note to add - although I'm sure you already know this - that you have to carry your license with you at all times here. It's not like in the UK where you only have to be able to show it at a post office within five days when asked. I didn't know that for a long time and one of those things nobody thinks to tell you.

anonymosity Sat 11-Dec-10 18:18:41

It varies state by state, but rule of thumb is you can drive on an international license for 60 days then you have to get a local state license. Sometimes they issue them automatically, sometimes they require a road test (10 mins round the parking lot out the back, often). Its not a bad idea to get a 2 hr lesson with a local driving school because they will teach you the EXACT way you're expected to parallel park etc which if you don't do on the test, you can fail.

WhamBam Mon 13-Dec-10 12:11:33

Thanks for the replies, we're in louisiana and apparently they will give you a licence automatically if you have immigrant status and have passed a test somewhere. Although that's according to their website, the lady at the DMV didn't know that smile

Will get DH to ring the insurance company and say that a family member from abroad will be driving the car for a few weeks see if that makes a difference, rather than confusing them with too many facts!

Thanks again

SofiaAmes Tue 14-Dec-10 07:34:49

Generally in the usa, the car is insured for anyone with a valid drivers license to drive as long as they have permission from the owner/primary insured. If your dh has any military connection (himself or parent/grandparent) he should try to sign up for insurance with USAA. They are totally set up for couples in different countries and with different citizenships and different licenses.

sarah293 Tue 14-Dec-10 08:46:57

Message withdrawn

redflipflops Tue 14-Dec-10 17:02:30

We arrived in the US a year ago and had to buy cars & get insurance with our UK licenses. It was a bit of a phaff.... umm think in the end it was with Geico? It is expensive when you don't have a US license yet - so start with only 6 months!

In California you have to take the theory test (multiple choice) within 10 days of becoming a 'resident' and then you have 60 days to take the practical (so if Cops pull you over you have temporary US license).

It actually took me 4 months to get round to taking my US license shock ... mostly cos I had 3 small children and 1000's of things to sort out!

britgirl4 Tue 14-Dec-10 19:52:03

We are in New York and moved here in March. If I remember correctly, if you become a resident then you can only drive on a UK license for 30 days after your arrival to the country. This is where I messed up as we were in Manhattan (without a car) for three months before moving out and I assumed it was 30 days after you started driving in the US (no idea how I came up with that one!)

I think this is where the difference between insuring visiting guests and actual residents lies. My DH (who hasn't taken his NYS test) had been hiring cars for business travel using his UK licence but when his work found out he hadn't got his US licence within 30 days they stopped him doing that immediately.

I know each state varies so check the local DMV, but here in NYS I had to do a written test of 20 questions, a five hour pre-licencing course and then the short practical test. And yes, I didn't parallel park in the 'proper' way so had points deducted for that and then for re-adjusting!!

Kiwinyc Fri 17-Dec-10 16:37:33

In my experience renting cars is no problem, but yes you have to have a US to get insurance for a car you own. I did the full test for a California Drivers License (Where driving is a privilege not a right ;) as my NZ Drivers license was irrelevant.

The multi-choice theory test was easy enough, for the practical test i did a few driving lessons with a local driving school as i hadn't driven for about 5 yrs. They just tutored me to pass the test by taking me along the route the testers use, pointing out bits to look out for and helping me practise all the parking manouvres they get you to do as well. It gave me a lot of confidence and of course i passed with 98% so it was well worth it.

Kiwinyc Fri 17-Dec-10 16:39:03

Oh yes you can get insurance on a car you own with a foreign license (I enquired) - but its cost prohibitive - its easier and cheaper to sit the test and get a US license wherever you are.

kickassangel Sun 19-Dec-10 04:01:11

rental cars no probs. we're in MI & some insurers wouldn't take us, others would, no problem.

it's vv easy to pass a test (and MI is one of the strictest states). usually there has to be a 30 day wait between the paper test & practical, but if you hold another licence then that doesn't count - you can even do both in same day, as long as you pass the paper one.

our biggest problem was having enough proof of ID. there is a 'international passport covers everything' type clause, but not all the workers knew about it, so be prepared. we printed off all paperwork & went in ready.

we had up t a year on a UK licence before we had to change - we waited til the summer as didn't want to do test in 2 feet of snow, but that won't really apply to you.

MadamDeathstare Sun 19-Dec-10 05:22:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GotArt Sun 19-Dec-10 05:32:06

The problem may be because you aren't there yet and they can't confirm you have a driver's license. If DH is adding you a secondary driver, you need to be there to prove it.

Also, not only do you need to have your license on you at all times when you drive, (good idea just to keep it in your wallet) but you have to have your insurance and car registration, which you just keep in you glove compartment.

GotArt Sun 19-Dec-10 05:33:52

Each State has different laws too.

WhamBam Sat 08-Jan-11 01:36:51

Went to the DMV first thing monday after arriving sat, and it turns out I do have to sit a test. So I thought I'd give it a lash, and promptly failed the written section! blush however as i hadn't realized they would take my pic there and then wasn't too gutted!

On the other hand we then went straight to insurance office who were charm itself and promptly put me the policy gratis. So have managed to drive and all is cool, but plan to take it quite soon. Will get a lesson or two to cover all bases!

I must say I do resent having to give my weight, do other states do this? Promptly shaved off ten pounds for holiday bloat wink

mathanxiety Sun 16-Jan-11 05:01:29

Watch out for that wrong side of the road thing!

Get that licence asap though. If you are pulled over for any reason the police will give you all kinds of grief if you can't produce a licence. If they've given you a provisional licence (learner's permit) you may have a set period within which you must take the written test again and then pass the road test.

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