General Question

troubleinharlem's avatar

How would someone from another country get a drivers license?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7951 points ) February 15th, 2013 from iPhone

I have a friend who is Russian who moved to the United States (he has a social security card) who wants to get his drivers license or permit. How would he go about doing it?

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8 Answers

Seek's avatar

If he has a SSN, he’ll get it the same way you do – go to the DMV with all the proof your state requires, and pass the tests.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

There’s also a substitute for the birth certificate he needs, I just can’t recall what it’s called offhand.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If this is temporary he can get an International License from AAA (American Automobile Association). Most states will accept it – if he can prove he just arrived 30? 90? days ago.

geeky_mama's avatar

Short answer: Go to the DMV in your area with his Passport (including his visa documents) and ask to apply for a driver’s permit. They’ll step you through it. If he’s never been licensed before he may be required to do in-car training hours (depends on your state’s requirements, his age, etc.)

@LuckyGuy:Depending on where he lives he may be required to take the written & in-car test to get a driver’s license, regardless of whether he has an Int’l Drivers License.

I had a valid Japanese driver’s license (and an expired Ohio driver’s license) and was required to re-take the in-car & written test, for example.

Also, when I moved from Ohio to Minnesota and went to get my first MN Driver’s License I was required to re-take the written test (because laws can vary by state) but not the in-car test.

Our German exchange student applied for and got her Driver’s license while here (her birth certificate was not needed, she was able to use her passport as the required photo id) – but the State revoked it’s validity six months after she got it – as it coincided with her student visa expiration (which wasn’t a problem for her because she’d already returned to Germany by then).
As an international resident of the US the type and duration of his visa will impact his ability to get a license. If he’s only here on a tourist visa, for example, he’s unlikely to be permitted to get a driver’s license.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @Seek_Kolinahr.

Go to the DMV website for your friend’s state and look up what you need to get a license. If unsure just gice them a call. I just called the FL DMV a few weeks ago for my husband, because he just moved back and they were very helpful. Usually you need a bill, like a utility bill, aside from a passport, to show you are actually living in that state, but he is not being billed for anything since his company is paying for his apartment right now. The woman I spoke to told me what he should bring since he did not have those items.

hearkat's avatar

My mother is a resident alien and has always dealt with the Motor Vehicle Agency the same way I have. I am sure that you can get specifics for your state from the website.

Ron_C's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr is right. It is no big deal unless your friend doesn’t understand English. He’s not likely to get a license unless he can pass the written test. In my state it’s English or Spanish.

JLeslie's avatar

Good point about language. Some states have Russian for the written/computer. I know NY does.

FL has Spanish and probably some other. I assume most states have several languages available.

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