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What are the rules for driving with the original country license? I heard that after 3 months you can have an issue with the insurance in case of an accident.

Please advise.

Thanks.
 

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If you are a resident of California you are expected to obtain a Californian Licence within 10 days of taking up residency.

This is totally unrealistic but you are expected to apply for and obtain one as soon as is practically possible. Being stopped by the police and found not to have a Californian licence can lead to fines.
 

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It varies by state, in other words, but I think they all require acquiring their particular driver's license in order to continue driving legally soon after you establish residence. It appears that Texas, for example, allows driving with a foreign license if you are genuinely a temporary resident of Texas for no more than one year.
 

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Most places in the US will allow you to drive on a foreign license for up to one year if you are "temporarily" staying in the US. The individual states each have their own requirements for those taking up residence in the US - usually from 10 days (totally impractical as Crawford has noted) to 30 days, with a couple of states rumored to allow you to push that out to 3 months.

Practically speaking, you need to take steps to change your license as soon as you can. However, in most states, you'll only need to pass a (ridiculously easy) multiple choice test and a fairly simple eye test (usually administered at the DMV).

As far as insurance coverage goes, you need to check with your insurer. Policies differ all over the place, sometimes to meet state law, sometimes not.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Google "DMV New York", select drivers license, drivers from other nations and the verbiage "resident of NYS" which is bold and underlined in the first bullet point.
 

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.... It appears that Texas, for example, allows driving with a foreign license if you are genuinely a temporary resident of Texas for no more than one year.
If this is true in practice, it is certainly not very well known, and the Texas DPS website is quite explicit that a new resident in Texas must obtain a Tx license within 90 days.

An individual can legally drive with a valid, unexpired driver license from another state or country for up to 90 days after moving to Texas.
txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/movingtotexas.htm
 

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If this is true in practice, it is certainly not very well known, and the Texas DPS website is quite explicit that a new resident in Texas must obtain a Tx license within 90 days.
I do check this stuff.

You are correct: the DPS is quite explicit. They use the word resident. If you are not one of those, and if you're a foreigner with a foreign driver's license (from one of the many treaty countries), you can drive for up to one year after entry into the United States.
 

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I do check
You are correct: the DPS is quite explicit. They use the word resident. If you are not one of those, and if you're a foreigner with a foreign driver's license (from one of the many treaty countries), you can drive for up to one year after entry into the United States.
Interesting, but it does seem to hang on the definition of the term "resident". The following clause gives me particular problems
(3) Every vehicle must have a registration certificate issued in accordance with the laws of the country of residence and identifying the vehicle and owner. The vehicle registration number must be shown on the rear of the vehicle or on a plate attached to the rear.

If I take advantage of "non-residency" to avoid having to obtain a Tx driving license, how do i meet this clause?

It's getting a bit off topic, but the term "resident" in the US is a bit of a mess. With an L1 visa, I am non-resident for immigration purposes, but resident for tax purposes. Everything else seems to be a grey area.
 

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Don't mess with Texas:>( Reciprocity of up to one year - on paper. a) Insurance is relatively high to start with and higher with a non-US license b) try to sort out reciprocity with a cop in small town USA. Spend the few dollars and get your license.
 

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A student studying at the University of Texas with a non-immigrant visa, staying in university housing, and returning regularly (e.g. between terms) to his/her country is probably not a resident of Texas for these purposes, to pick an example. The state defines residency.

There's no problem whatsoever with vehicle registration. That's a separate issue. If you have a valid license (Texas, other state, or foreign) you can either drive a rental car (which is registered to the owner of the car, the rental car company) or somebody else's car, if he/she lets you. Having the proper licensing to drive does not mean you must only drive vehicles personally registered to you.

Buying (or leasing) and registering a vehicle in your name probably also requires state residency, in which case you also need that state's license.
 

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A student studying at the University of Texas with a non-immigrant visa, staying in university housing, and returning regularly (e.g. between terms) to his/her country is probably not a resident of Texas for these purposes, to pick an example. The state defines residency.

There's no problem whatsoever with vehicle registration. That's a separate issue. If you have a valid license (Texas, other state, or foreign) you can either drive a rental car (which is registered to the owner of the car, the rental car company) or somebody else's car, if he/she lets you. Having the proper licensing to drive does not mean you must only drive vehicles personally registered to you.

Buying (or leasing) and registering a vehicle in your name probably also requires state residency, in which case you also need that state's license.
Probably ...
 

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Exactly, Twostep. Every state has its definition of residency.

That provision is in the Texas code for a reason: it is legally possible to drive in Texas (and presumably other states) for up to one year (dated from entry into the U.S.) on a valid foreign license if you are not a state resident. "Valid" here means, among other things, the license must be issued by a country recognized in the applicable treaties.
 

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Exactly, Twostep. Every state has its definition of residency.

That provision is in the Texas code for a reason: it is legally possible to drive in Texas (and presumably other states) for up to one year (dated from entry into the U.S.) on a valid foreign license if you are not a state resident. "Valid" here means, among other things, the license must be issued by a country recognized in the applicable treaties.
All I can say is "be careful with that." If you're on a limited term assignment in Texas (or anywhere else) you can probably argue/justify that you are NOT resident for license purposes. Once your "assignment" is more open-ended or long-term, the more you have to consider whether you are actually resident and ought to just suck it up and get a Texas license. When you DON'T want to be discussing this is after you've been stopped by the nice highway trooper for blasting into hyperspace or running a stop light.

Frankly, compared to most European states, the US driver licensing exams are easy to pass - and if you should have to take a driving test, just ask any nearby 16 or 17 year old taking driver's ed in high school to advise you on the usual "tricks" for the driving test.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Not necessarily. I just bought a car, but don't have a US driver's license yet.

A further catch is that to get a DC license I need a SSN. But the SSA won't issue SSNs just to get a driver's license. I won't have a SSN until I get my EAD ...
 

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So I'm moving to Philly, PA on an L1 visa.

I will be there for a minimum of 2 years. I will be looking to buy a beat up old car to get me through it all. To buy the car do I need to have a PA license? Would this entail me doing the written and actual skills test?
 
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