IDP, and driving in the U.S.

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Metaread
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IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby Metaread » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:00 pm

I'm an American citizen currently living overseas, and won't be in the U.S. until August. I want to learn how to drive before that, and an instructor here is offering a driving course that will give me an IDP for slightly more than $800. He's legit, but what I'm confused about is whether the IDP is of any actual use when driving in the U.S. He said that with an IDP I'd be able to drive in the U.S. for one year before renewal would be necesary. But some Google search results seem to conflict: --LinkRemoved-- suggests an IDP can let you drive, http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Foreign_Visit ... ving.shtml suggests not, though it talks about "foreign visitors" and I'm not sure if I count as one.

That said, I am not sure if I count as a U.S. resident, since I've only lived in the U.S. for around 4 years...The first site linked here suggests the IDP is simply a translation of a foreign driving license, and that it can be used to drive in the U.S....but where would you renew the IDP? I'm not sure if I plan to be driving at all in my 1L year, since I'll be living in a place close to the school (about 20 minutes by foot, less with the shuttle). That said, having a car might be handy to drive when I go to internships. The 2nd site seems to suggest (for "foreign visitors") that a state permit will be needed to drive if you do have an IDP, and it seems simply learning to drive in the U.S. might be better (but as I mentioned, I won't be there until August). Should I just take driving lessons in the winter or something? (Do NYC and Atlanta even offer driving lessons in the winter?)

What are my options? What should I do? And is getting an IDP for over $800 even a good price? Some say you can get one for around $300, in which case this instructor may be legit and may also be a greedy one.

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eandy
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby eandy » Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:02 pm

A drivers ed course is about 300 dollars in Atlanta and can be done year round--even in the winter.

Metaread
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby Metaread » Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:38 am

Thanks for the info. In the U.S. an Atlanta state permit wouldn't let me drive in NYC though, right?

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worldtraveler
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:16 am

Metaread wrote:Thanks for the info. In the U.S. an Atlanta state permit wouldn't let me drive in NYC though, right?

:?:
Where are you going to live? Take a driving course, then take the state licensing exam in that state. You can drive across the country with a license from any state but you're supposed to have one from where you actually reside.

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TTH
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby TTH » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:09 am

Metaread wrote:Thanks for the info. In the U.S. an Atlanta state permit wouldn't let me drive in NYC though, right?


You vill need to have ze appropriate papiers to cross state lines, comrade.

Metaread
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby Metaread » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:50 am

I'm honestly not sure where I'm going to live yet, that depends on where I get employment after law school is over. NYC, Atlanta and Boston are my top picks at the moment (Boston the least likely of the three). Good to know a state permit will let me drive in any other U.S. state though.

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YankeesFan
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby YankeesFan » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:53 am

Metaread wrote:Thanks for the info. In the U.S. an Atlanta state permit wouldn't let me drive in NYC though, right?


Yes it would. But who in God's name would want to drive in NYC? Take the Subway man.

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worldtraveler
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:31 am

Metaread wrote:I'm honestly not sure where I'm going to live yet, that depends on where I get employment after law school is over. NYC, Atlanta and Boston are my top picks at the moment (Boston the least likely of the three). Good to know a state permit will let me drive in any other U.S. state though.


Okay...where are you going to law school? Get your license there.

Metaread
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby Metaread » Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:17 am

I think I'll be going to Emory, maybe BU if I'm lucky.

It's true that NYC with subway + foot is manageable, but I might end up living in the suburbs come time.

stowhat
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby stowhat » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:22 am

An IDP is just a small booklet that translates your driver's license into multiple languages. It contains your picture, address and the designation of vehicle that you are authorized to drive but is not valid without a current driver's license. You can purchase and renew these online. Some websites will tell you that you can only purchase/renew them at an AAA in the US but AAA only accepts a US driver's license when issuing these so this wouldn't be an option for you.

I'm not sure that this is what you are looking for. It seems like it is a huge hassle to renew it every year and it is supposed to only be for travelers/people who don't plan on living in the country permanently. If you really feel like you need a driver's license, I think you'd be best off taking a driver's ed course in August when you are back in the US.

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straxen
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby straxen » Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:37 am

I've switched states about 7 times in my life so I'm pretty familiar with the driver licensing process.

As has been said, an IDP is pretty much worthless. If you want to get the licensing stuff out of the way overseas, you may want to get a driver license in the country where you're residing. Most [probably all] States will allow you to drive on a foreign driver license if you're a visitor and if you come to reside in the US may waive testing, experience, education, or other requirements--but this all depends on the State. If you establish residence in the US, you will have a time before you need to get a driver license in the State where you reside. In California, it was 10 days, in New Jersey it was 60--so check wherever you're going to live. Some States don't consider you a resident for driving purposes (as distinct from tuition, tax, other purposes) if you're only there as a student--so check that as well, you may be able to continue driving on a foreign license as long as you're a student. Once you have a US license in the State where you reside you can drive anywhere in the US as long as you meet the age and other requirements for driving in that State.

Takeaway: If all you're getting is an IDP, it's worthless. To know what you'd be able to do with a foreign license and for how long, it depends on the State. Refer here:

--LinkRemoved--

http://www.mass.gov/rmv/license/9oos.htm

Metaread
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Re: IDP, and driving in the U.S.

Postby Metaread » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:01 am

Thanks for the warning about the IDP's uselessness, guys. I owe you one. Looks like I'd be better off with a regular driver's license and no foreign-related IDPs or such.

Do you recommend doing a driver's ed in August? Or would winter be a better idea? I know I'll have more time in winter, but I'm not certain how long driver's ed courses are (I hear it varies).




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