Basically, an international driver's license is not a must! However, this is not true for every state in the U.S. This is also true of applicable local laws. The foreign office points out the same way. It is always an advantage to carry an international driver's license.
The compulsory international driver's license in the USA
This is especially true if you want to rent another passenger or motor vehicle. Various states that require an international driver's license include Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Virginia, Washington and Vermont.
In the remaining states you should be, but also not too safe. Your driver's license will be written in German and in the United States, it must also be understood in English.
Here it can be clearly seen that this your German driver's license does not meet! An international driver's license is in no way a substitute for your German driver's license. This serves as an add-on only.
Motor Vehicle Department
The Motor Vehicle Department provides information on which operations apply to your current German driver's license.
Before you enter the U.S., all requirements should already be in place. If an international driver's license is required in the U.S., the documents must have already been issued at the Resident Registration Office or the DMV. There is no way to get the forms in the USA.
The following documents can also be handed out at the driver's license office at the Citizen's Office. Additionally also with the local church. Applying for an international driver's license comes with a cost. Two biometric passport photos are required.
How does the international driver's license become valid?
After three years, an international driver's license becomes invalid in the U.S. If you have problems with the validity of your regular driver's license, this must be clarified beforehand. Your German driver's license is only valid for 90 days in the U.S.
An international driving license is only valid in combination with the EU driving license. Therefore, both must always be carried!
When the international driver's license is issued, the EU driver's license is exchanged at the office for full validity. This matters if it is not only expired, but also in a different format than a check card format. In addition, there are costs of approx. 18 euros to have the documents for an international driver's license issued.
It has already been mentioned that having documents with you should always be important! Here, one should not rely on the fact that these are not often checked.
Rental car insurance
Now, if you find yourself in the U.S. and want to rent a car, there are probably a few questions that come up. First you come across the word rental insurance! It's a top priority to carefully read the terms and conditions of a car insurance policy, too.
In Germany, it's clearly defined and there are fixed, mandated coverage amounts. Different rules play out in the U.S! The amounts covered vary, in the worst case only up to 5000 euros.
For these cases there are additional insurances in the USA. This may be, deductible exclusion insurance policies.
Not only insurance for the car plays an important role, but also the issue of accident insurance! If you do not conclude the right one or if you inform yourself wrongly, this can have fatal consequences!
There are no differences in the different states. First of all, the question at the beginning. What options are there to avoid financial ruin in the event of a car accident in the USA??
We should evaluate once briefly the costs, without health or accident insurance.
For a deep animal bite wound, some hospitals in the United States charge up to 76.000 Euro out. This applies not only to doctor's visits and hospital stays, but also to operations and medicines.
You wouldn't even think of these sums in Germany.
There costs are in the very low five figures. To avoid all these costs, you can buy an international health insurance policy. Through them you will be exempt from all costs! But again, when it comes to international insurance, be sure to check carefully which one you want to take out.
Should you consider camping in the United States with the motorhome or experience a round trip, no other rules apply!
Driver's license for the USA
You may ask yourself whether you would be allowed to apply for a U.S. driver's license right away, or what visa requirements it would require.
The reason for the stay played a major role. Are you traveling on business or vacationing in the U.S.?? There is an opportunity to get an international driver's license with an ESTA. However, this does not apply to the USA driver's license.
If you have a USA visa up to P-1 or a Green Card, there should be no problems with your driver's license. As mentioned above, you can request all the necessary documents in the Citizen's Office or in the municipality, but the driver's license itself can be obtained only in the U.S. itself.
Different states have different rules for handing out helmets. All of this happens at what is called the Department of Motor Vehicles. An international driver's license can only be valid in different states. Therefore, if you change your residence within the United States during your stay, you must register with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Basically, however, an ESTA is no longer sufficient and makes it impossible for people on business trips to obtain a USA driver's license. This also applies to tourists.
Is there a validity without a visa?
There have been some changes in the last few years, with the international driver's license and the USA driver's license. The U.S. visa does not have to be presented now. Also the Social Security Number is no longer required.
You can get the USA driver's license only with the national driver's license and the passport. After that it is valid for five to ten years.
In recent years, the conditions for obtaining a driver's license outside the EU have become more stringent.
No USA driver's license can be applied for if the person does not have a B-1 or B-2 visa. As mentioned above, an ESTA is also no longer valid.
All visa requirements must be met in order to even submit the application for a non-EU driver's license.
Which documents for a longer stay?
There is a small change if you are staying and working in the USA for a longer period of time. If you already have a work visa, there should be no complications for a USA driver's license. Birth certificate and address from current U.S. residence must be provided. The passport, social security number and visa confirmation must not be missing.
Copies are forbidden, it must always be the original document. When it comes to the documents that need to be presented, again there can be variations in the different states.
Driver's license for exchange students in the U.S
There is a special case that becomes valid for exchange students.
It is known that the driver's license in the United States may be obtained at an earlier age than in Germany. Therefore, some exchange students consider getting their driver's license there.
Since most of us experience a student exchange at the age of 16, this is also the age at which driving is allowed in the US. In Germany can be driven only with 18 years alone. In the United States, getting a driver's license comes with much smaller costs. Getting your driver's license done in the U.S. is entirely possible, but again depends on the state. In addition, the organization with which the students travel must confirm this. High school must also give their permission. After that, nothing stands in the way!
Theory hours are taken in the U.S., in high school. There is also the possibility of accompanied driving in America.
On this route, students must have driven a certain number of hours. This is followed by the practical test. The driving lessons are mostly done with an automatic car. The roads are also different from the German roads!
Many roads are wider and less traveled than in Germany. Therefore, it does not mean that driving in Germany can take place without problems, should you have completed your driver's license in the U.S.
If you have been banned from driving in Germany, you are not allowed to drive either! This can be fatal if you drive in the U.S. without a valid driver's license. The catalog of fines shows that more than 200.000 euros can become due. But also custodial sentences are possible. Adhere to all guidelines and conditions to be safe while driving in the U.S! With it you avoid high fines or a prison time!