Do states have any kind of reciprocal agreement for drivers (learner's) permits?

If a child has a learner's permit issued in one state (i.e. Virginia), can that child legally drive in a second state (i.e. South Carolina)?

My specifics: we're taking a family vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC from Stafford, Virginia. My son has a Virginia Learner's Permit. Will he be able (legally allowed) to drive my car in SC?

  • IIRC from a ~decade ago my sisters PA learners permit wasn't valid in NY. I'm not sure if that was a general case or just an NY thing. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:44
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    Driving rules vary from state to state, best bet is to call the DMV in North & South Carolina to check if the VA license is acceptable.
    – user13044
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 13:50
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    That's what I was going to do, pending anything coming from SE. Also, AFAIC, that would be an acceptable answer here. Not every answer has to be known/yes.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


Here is a link that discusses the requirements state by state. North Carolina will allow the use of an out of state learner's permit in most cases, South Carolina will not.

One issue is that different states have different restrictions. For instance, some states, including Virginia, will allow learners' permits for age 15; most states require age 16, and those states (e.g. North Carolina) won't honor a 15 year old's learners permit if that's the case for your son; he has to be 16. To one of the comments above, New York State will honor learner's permits only for people over the age of 18. People aged 16-17 from other states are not allowed to drive in certain parts of New York state even with a license, and in other parts of the state only with severe restrictions.

Also, states have different minimum age requirements for the (licensed) driver in the passenger's seat, typically 20 or 21. Finally, different states have rules/restrictions on class of cars, vehicles etc.

States have "rules" for learner's permits, but they are not "reciprocal."

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    I think you're misreading what that link says about New York. Licensed drivers aged 16-17 are allowed to drive subject to certain restrictions. ("In all areas of the state except New York City, Nassau or Suffolk counties, a non resident licensee under 18 years of age may operate a vehicle from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. when accompanied by a licensed driver over 18 years of age. He may operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. only when accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian.").
    – Micah
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 20:10
  • @Micah: I changed it to "in certain parts of NY state." The most restrictive rules apply to NYC (which has half of the state's population), then Nassau and Suffolk counties, then "upstate" New York.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 20:56
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    The citation link is now dead. Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 1:13

This will vary from state to state. Given Myrtle Beach location you should be concerned about 2 states (North and South Carolina).

Specifically for North Carolina he can definitely do it.

A learners permit from another state is valid in North Carolina, but only if the driver is age sixteen or older. The International Drivers License is NOT recognized in North Carolina and cannot be used as a drivers license.

Information on South Carolina is a bit more difficult to find but as far as I can tell South Carolina doesn't recognize out of state Learner's permits as valid to drive in the state.

  • The first two citation links are dead. Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 1:14

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