If you're moving to the United States or even just visiting, you may have wondered whether it's possible to transfer your driving record and how you can continue to drive once you're in the United States. The good news is that driving records can be transferred relatively easily. However, if you're staying in the U.S. for longer than a year, you'll want to get a driver's license from the state that you’re a living and driving in for the period of time you’re here.
An International Driver's Permit, or IDP, translates the information from your driving record into ten languages, allowing drivers to travel freely and drive in foreign countries. Many countries accept IDPs as temporary licenses. Luckily, the United States is one of these countries. The IDP must be issued by your country of origin, not the United States government, and is considered supplemental to a U.S. driving license. The laws vary depending on the state you're driving in, but IDPs are always accepted and can often be used while you get a U.S. driver's license (or if you're not going to be in the state for very long).
In the United States, it's necessary to have proof of car insurance to drive, and a good driving record does not exempt you from this stipulation. Car insurance rates and requirements vary by location, so it's wise for foreign visitors to contact a state's Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss car insurance requirements. Many car insurance companies have special rates for foreign visitors, and a temporary car insurance policy can be purchased and implemented very quickly to allow you to freely drive in the United States without any trouble. They will often need your IDP or a translated version of your driving record to use when estimating what your car insurance rate will be. It's a good idea to contact your current car insurer, if you have one, to discuss travel plans and see if they offer international rates.
The most important thing when traveling to any country is to get your driving record translated as soon as possible, and to obtain an International Driver's Permit from your country of residence before traveling. This way, you can avoid long wait times at a DMV and make sure that you're driving legally as soon as you arrive. Contact the DMV of the state you're going to be driving in, as well as your nation's driving bureau, to make sure that your driving records are transferred quickly and correctly, and don't forget to look into obtaining the necessary insurance, too. With a bit of planning, you shouldn't have any trouble getting around during your visit or residency.