Relocating to the United States: Do you have a license for that?

imagesForeign visitors to the U.S. need to arrive armed with a myriad of information about their new surroundings, including, schools for their children, work and social mores, not to mention missing their home country.

Worries about not only where everything is, but, how to get around, certainly add to the anxiety of an international relocation. Being as prepared and educated as possible prior to your new assignment can make all the difference. Researching exactly how to obtain a U.S. driver’s license will certainly make the road less traveled a bit easier to navigate.

Most important to note – every state has different residency requirements. Checking the following link which will allow you to review the requirements state-by-state will prove helpful in understanding eligibility requirements:

http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Motor-Vehicles.shtml

Each state requires certain documentation to be provided in order to obtain a U.S. driver’s license. Most states require at least one document in each of the following categories:

  • Identity (Certificate of Citizenship, Unexpired Permanent Resident Card, Unexpired foreign passport, etc.)
  • Lawful Status (Unexpired Permanent Resident Card, Certificate of Naturalization, etc.)
  • Social Security Number (social security card, W-2, paystub, etc.)
  • Proof of State Residency (mortgage/loan contract, utility invoice, bank statement, etc.)

Reciprocity Agreements

Due to the increasing mobility of individuals and families, allowing foreign visitors the ease of continuing their driving privileges outside of their home country has become more and more of a necessity.

As a result of the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic, the U.S. allows citizens from certain foreign countries the ability to forgo the U.S. driver’s license process (which includes the driving test) and simply exchange their foreign license for a U.S. equivalent. Review the list of countries that participate in a reciprocity agreement on-line or inquire at your local U.S. embassy to confirm whether or not there have been any new agreements made with additional countries prior to your travels to the States.

Determining the rules of the road before your feet even touch the ground will certainly make your transition to a new country and a new culture all the more enjoyable and, most importantly, more mobile.

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