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LadyTia2

International Drivers Permits - required by law in the States now

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My family and I travel a lot all over the world but mostly to the USA, especially Georgia as our domestic operations are located there. 3 of my family members have drivers licenses from Costa Rica. We have had so many problems with this since we are US citizens. We have been told everything from "you can't drive in Georgia with an international drivers license", "you can't have residency in another country and be a citizen of the USA", or "we do not recognize international treaties in this State" ... yes, this is true ... and a good hint why we moved. (We have applied for residency 3 years ago)

 

Anyways, the laws have changed in the USA and they are getting stricter. The requirements now are:

 

1. Valid drivers license from your country of residence.

2. Valid International drivers permit (IDP) FROM your country of residence.

 

FYI, the law does not say you need to carry your passport but officers in Georgia police were arresting diplomats/important people and giving them tickets because they did not have their physical passport on them. (The State Attorney Generals office issued a letter to all police to stop this). However, we find it best to carry a notarized copy of passport and the stamp showing your entrance into the USA.

 

We have IDP's but from other countries. Now, we have to find a place in Costa Rica that issues IDP's. Does anyone know if there are any services or entities here that sell IDP's

 

I promise you the States are getting worse and worse. My 20 year old daughter was arrested last weekend because they said she did not have a drivers license and they would not recognize her IDP nor her Costa Rican drivers license (which was on her as well as her passport as she has just come back to Georgia). This is the second time this has happened to a member of our family and we simply do not want to have to keep going to court to fight the issue. (Of course, we won last time as the case was simply dismissed for the police officers ignorance and stupidity.)

 

I am hoping that if we have some 'official' looking IDP from Costa Rica it might help when we are held hostage on the roadside with people who do not know the law.

 

Thank you

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LadyTia,

 

IDPs (International Driving Permits) are not recognized in Costa Rica, nor in many countries, the US included. They are not much more than a convenience because they show your personal information in several languages.

 

Your Costa Rica Driver's License is the official one.

 

I'd be sure to carry it with you along with your official passport while you are in the US.

 

I wouldn't count on copies to cut it in the US because they are not official. In CR copies are accepted as a courtesy but by rights should be notarized.

 

HTH

 

Paul M.

==

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It might help to print out a copy of the relevant USA law and carry it with you. Altho I could just picture the argument with the cop - no win situation.

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I was told in California that driver's licenses from foreign countries are not acceptable. I would need an international permit. However, I maintain a California address and driver's license so there's not problem. You might consider this as a work-around. That way Costa Rica never has to be part of the discussion.

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Another way to check what is legal would be to phone one of the car rental agencies in the US like Alamo or Hertz and ask what licensing you need while in the US. They will know.

 

PM

==

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This is what the book says:

 

“Typically in the United States you can drive up to 12 months on your valid foreign license as a visitor or tourist.”

And then there’s your real life experience which says otherwise.

 

My experience has been with Florida and I’ve never had a problem. But maybe I’ve been lucky. As far as renting cars, I used to go through the effort of getting an IDP but was never asked for it so I stopped getting it and have rented cars no problem. On the web page of most car rental agencies they will tell you the IDP WITH the foreign license is a requirement.

 

 

US citizens (including dual citizens) are not required to carry ID. When driving, you must have your DL regardless of nationality. When entering the US, a US citizen (or dual citizen) may not use a foreign ID.

 

But for me, to save me the worry and hassle and money (an IDP is only good for one year) I now maintain a Florida driver’s license and maintain a Florida address through my mail service. Much cheaper, easier, and you can renew at least once on line. Less potential for problems “down the road”, get it ?, ha, ha.

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My Florida driver's license was lost last year when my wallet was lost/stolen. I had renewed it once online so getting a replacement through the mail wasn't possible. So I'm supposed to buy a plane ticket to Miami simply to renew my driver's license? I don't think so......

 

I will get one of those IDP's and just use my Costa Rica license. I find it hard to believe that Costa Rican families traveling to the US as tourists are not able to rent cars. Not suprising that foreigners (or residents of foreign countries) are stopped and harassed by police. Perhaps the situation is better in Florida because they get so many tourists from foreign countries and for this reason, handle it better.

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My Florida driver's license was lost last year when my wallet was lost/stolen. I had renewed it once online so getting a replacement through the mail wasn't possible. So I'm supposed to buy a plane ticket to Miami simply to renew my driver's license? I don't think so......

 

I will get one of those IDP's and just use my Costa Rica license. I find it hard to believe that Costa Rican families traveling to the US as tourists are not able to rent cars. Not suprising that foreigners (or residents of foreign countries) are stopped and harassed by police. Perhaps the situation is better in Florida because they get so many tourists from foreign countries and for this reason, handle it better.

Hi Eleanor,

 

Just FWIW . . .

 

To receive or renew one's license in Florida these days you must present an acceptable form of ID like a US passport, voter registration card and show a current utility bill to prove that you are a resident of the state. This was done to tighten down on the plethora of illegal aliens who were getting DLs here.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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My Florida driver's license was lost last year when my wallet was lost/stolen. I had renewed it once online so getting a replacement through the mail wasn't possible. So I'm supposed to buy a plane ticket to Miami simply to renew my driver's license? I don't think so......

 

I will get one of those IDP's and just use my Costa Rica license. I find it hard to believe that Costa Rican families traveling to the US as tourists are not able to rent cars. Not suprising that foreigners (or residents of foreign countries) are stopped and harassed by police. Perhaps the situation is better in Florida because they get so many tourists from foreign countries and for this reason, handle it better.

 

You can get a replacement on line for a stolen driver’s license, even if you’ve already renewed. I’ve done it. Also, whenever you get to Florida, even if it is after your license is expired you can get another in person without any tests required, I’ve done that too. Just show up with proper ID as Paul mentioned. I even used an out of State driver’s license which had itself been expired for over 10 years.

I’ve had no problems renting in Florida on a CR driver’s license without the IDP. But I got the Florida DL because I didn’t want to show up one day and they start enforcing their policy and ask for the IDP to go with the CR driver’s license. Technically, all rental agencies require the IDP if you’re renting on a foreign license.

My wife also got a Florida license to avoid potential hassles. She is a non US citizen and we live in CR full time. She uses the same mailing address for her FL driver’s license as I do, and it has worked out great when ever she visits the States, never had a problem doing business.

We keep both CR and FL licenses up to date, just our personal preference to have two licenses.

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Ticochico: When I went to the Forida DL website, it said I could not replace my stolen/lost driver's license because I had renewed once online. So - how did you do this?

 

Yes, I would like to have a driver's license in the US - makes things easier - but I am not going to fly to the US just for this. (I don't regularly travel there.)

 

Also - if you use your private mail service as your address in Florida, how do you meet the requirements listed by Paul?

Edited by eleanorcr

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... I got the Florida DL because I didn’t want to show up one day and they start enforcing their policy and ask for the IDP to go with the CR driver’s license. Technically, all rental agencies require the IDP if you’re renting on a foreign license.

 

My wife also got a Florida license to avoid potential hassles. She is a non US citizen and we live in CR full time. She uses the same mailing address for her FL driver’s license as I do, and it has worked out great when ever she visits the States, never had a problem doing business.

 

We keep both CR and FL licenses up to date, just our personal preference to have two licenses.

Just a couple questions on this, please.

 

When was it that you and your wife got your FL DLs?

 

What docs did you show DHSMV to show that you were Florida residents?

 

Here are the requirements for obtaining a license in Florida from the DHSMV website:

 

=====

 

Age 18 or Older

  • United States Citizen proof of identity.
  • Non-United States Citizen proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security number, if issued Chapter 322, Florida Statutes, requires the Department to collect social security numbers for the issuance of driver license and identification cards.
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of completion of a Traffic Law & Substance Abuse Education Course or license from another state, country, or jurisdiction.

=====

 

Here's the link to the page with this info:

 

http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/geninfo.html

 

I'm not looking forward to getting my FL DL renewed even though it's not 'til next year. I won't have any problem producing utility bills, but it looks like I will have to dig out my SS Card, and whoknowswhere I've put that!

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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I haven't had a social security card for years. I don't know what happened to mine and I haven't needed it for anything. Looks like I will be stuck with using the IDL and my Costa Rica license. (Plan B - my son lives in Colorado........ :rolleyes: )

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Can you renew your California license endlessly by internet, Carol? In Florida, you could do it once and that was it. (Giving you a total of 10 years.)

No, you can renew it twice (it may be only once now), then you have to go into the DMV. And get new photos taken. And they can also have you take a written test, and even a driving test if they want.

Edited by DanaJ

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