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I'm an international grad student in New Jersey and I was wondering if there is anybody who can tell me something about applying for a driver's license. I already have a license from my home country, so I was not sure what the further procedure is. If I translate my license will I still have to take the road test, or just the theory? 

 

Is there anyone who has been in a similar situation? Thanks in advance!

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I checked about Illinois, and found out that if I am on a student visa - I can continue using my international license (unlike non-students who can only use it for 90 days in Illinois). But if I want to purchase a car and get a normal price for an insurance, it would be better if I get a local license by passing a written and practical test at the DMV.

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For other people reading this, this will highly vary from state to state. So make sure you check out your state's requirements. For example, in California, no international driver licenses are accepted and international students are considered residents for DMV purposes and must therefore get California licenses. I had a Canadian license for 10 years but I still have to do both the written test and the road test all over again! It's straight forward though, just a time hassle (and had to convert all of my metric distances to the US units for things like "how far away do you stop from a railroad crossing" etc.)

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Hi, I have a question about this.

I'm going to be a NY student so the state's regulations will allow me to drive with my Italian license but what If I ever decide to take a roadtrip? How does it work? Should I check the regulations of every state I'll cross?

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  • 3 months later...

Hi, I have a question about this.

I'm going to be a NY student so the state's regulations will allow me to drive with my Italian license but what If I ever decide to take a roadtrip? How does it work? Should I check the regulations of every state I'll cross?

In NY state you need to provide either SSN or 6 credit points (the doc that prove you are going to stay in the US for quite a long time and thus you need a driver's license) + a letter from SSA stating that you are not eligible for SSN. Then you can take the written test and get a permit. For road test, you need to take classes in order to get a certificate/receipt, use the serial number on the receipt to schedule road test. 

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In NY state you need to provide either SSN or 6 credit points (the doc that prove you are going to stay in the US for quite a long time and thus you need a driver's license) + a letter from SSA stating that you are not eligible for SSN. Then you can take the written test and get a permit. For road test, you need to take classes in order to get a certificate/receipt, use the serial number on the receipt to schedule road test. 

That wasn't the question that was asked. 

Garyon, in case it's still relevant, I'd double check whether or not you're really allowed to use your foreign license. There is a lot of uncertainty about that. I know a lot of rental car companies will rent you a car, but I personally worry about the insurance company trying to get out of paying me using this as an excuse in case anything happens. I imagine if there was ever an accident and serious damage, I wouldn't want to be fighting the insurance company then. So, just putting it out there. 

As for driving across state lines, I think you should make sure you are legal in every state you drive in. This is, again, one place where having a local license makes life much easier, even if technically you can drive with your foreign license.

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That wasn't the question that was asked. 

Garyon, in case it's still relevant, I'd double check whether or not you're really allowed to use your foreign license. There is a lot of uncertainty about that. I know a lot of rental car companies will rent you a car, but I personally worry about the insurance company trying to get out of paying me using this as an excuse in case anything happens. I imagine if there was ever an accident and serious damage, I wouldn't want to be fighting the insurance company then. So, just putting it out there. 

As for driving across state lines, I think you should make sure you are legal in every state you drive in. This is, again, one place where having a local license makes life much easier, even if technically you can drive with your foreign license.

 wow I mistakenly read "roadtrip" as "roadtest" :( 

and I agree with what you wrote here. I've read articles about Chinese travelers driving Route 66 and they didn't got to Texas because foreign DLs are not accepted in Texas.

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  • 1 month later...

I know this might be a little late, but my recommendation would be: get a loca driver's license. It makes your life easier! You don't have to worry about your license being accepted in other states, it is easier to rent cars, car insurance is cheaper, you can use it  as an ID.

In some states (e.g. Maine, where I got mine), it is a pain to get. It's very time consuming, but in the end I think it is worth it!

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