Suppose someone was born to a US-national parent in a foreign country and is thus a United States dual citizen. If that person (resident in their other country of citizenship) were to visit the USA for a few weeks, would it be legal for them to drive on their foreign drivers license since they wouldn't have an American one?

  • 1
    Contrary to the "close it" voters, this actually is a different question ... so to answer ... a US citizen is not required to have a US driver's license unless they are residing in the USA. Each state sets it own laws about when a license is required, many focusing on if you work or claim that state as your primary residence. If you reside overseas, your foreign license is acceptable (plus potentially an IDP).
    – user13044
    Jul 26, 2016 at 8:01

2 Answers 2


Converting my earlier comment to an answer ....

A US citizen residing overseas is not required to have a US driver's license to drive in the USA. Your foreign license is acceptable, assuming it is in English or is accompanied by a valid IDP (International Drivers Permit) AND that the country of issuance is party to the international agreement for IDPs.

Permission to drive is actually regulated state by state, so to be 100% certain you would need to review states laws for the areas you plan to drive in. But most states are fine with a foreign licenses + IDP in your possession.

  • IDP not required for California nor is it recognized dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/dl_info#international
    – blackbird
    Aug 26, 2016 at 12:53
  • @blackbird - An IDP is not recognized as a license in any country, as mentioned in your link. The IDP is simply a translation of your non-English language drivers license.
    – user13044
    Aug 27, 2016 at 3:21

Is your foreign license in English? I spent literally years driving rental cars on and off in the US on my Australian license. The rental companies didn't care, and neither did the cops for the couple of times that I got pulled over - even for the one time I couldn't get off with a warning and I had to go to see the judge and pay a fine1.

The only caveat is if you license is not in English, in which case you need an official translation - for which I have seen rental car companies requesting to see before renting cars to foreigners.

1. The judge looked exactly like Boss Hog from the Dukes of Hazard, and had just been to a funeral that morning - I just nodded my head and took out my check book!

  • Québec licenses are in French, so Québec drivers test for an English language requirement all the time. The only state requiring the IDP translation was Georgia and they have recently removed the requirement. Non-English licenses seem to be good everywhere now.
    – user38879
    Aug 26, 2016 at 17:04
  • @Dennis correct. It should be "not using the Latin alphabet". But it's never a bad idea to carry one anyway. On another note, I think this does not answer the question.
    – Belle
    Aug 27, 2016 at 10:12

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