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Exchanging a Foreign Driving License

Information on who can exchange their driving license for a US one...

Foreign Visitors

Visitors to the USA may drive for up to one year on a foreign driving license, provided it was issued in a country that is party to the UN Convention on Road Traffic and written in English. As more than 150 countries are party to the convention, most visitors to the USA are eligible to drive with their home-country license. Visitors are also advised to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued in their home country, which they should carry along with their license.

For the purpose of driving licenses, a person is generally considered a visitor when they are:

  • Visiting the USA on a non-immigrant visa
  • Eligible to stay in the USA for less than a year
  • Not authorized to work or study in the USA

For more information on foreign visitors driving in the USA: Click here

Exchanging a Foreign License

A few states have agreements that allow citizens of certain countries to exchange their foreign license for a state one. The grace period in which a driver must exchange their license varies depending on the state, but is generally between 30 and 60 days.

Each state determines its own minimum residency requirements and process for exchanging a foreign license. Although many states waive a portion of the tests required (vision, practical driving and written knowledge), some still require one or more of these to be taken when exchanging a foreign license. To check with the licensing department in the state of residence: Click here

The following states currently allow an exchange of licenses issued by certain foreign countries:

  • Delaware: drivers from France and Germany can obtain a Delaware license without taking a written or road test. For more information: Click here
  • Florida: allows licenses issued in South Korea to be exchanged. For more information: Click here
  • New York has a reciprocal agreement with Canada. For more information: Click here
  • Texas: exempts drivers from Canada, France and Germany from the written and practical tests. However, the driver must still take a vision test. For more information: Click here
  • Virginia: has a reciprocal agreement with Canada, France and Germany. The knowledge and skills tests may be waived if the driver meets residency and other requirements. For more information: Click here
  • Washington: has reciprocal agreements with Germany, South Korea and British Columbia (in Canada). Licenses issued by these three authorities may be exchanged for a Washington state license. For more information: Click here
European Union License Exchange

Agreements between EU countries are in place with only a few US states and each is country-specific. These agreements change frequently, so it is worth checking for up-to-date information.

  • France: several states have historically allowed a reciprocal exchange of  licenses. However, the requirements and eligibility may depend on a driver’s circumstances. Holders of French licenses should verify eligibility if residing in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas or Virginia
  • Germany: has full or partial reciprocity agreements for license exchange with most states, exempting drivers from taking the road and/or written test
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