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Driving in the USA

Quick facts for travelers planning on driving in the United States

  • You will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before travelling to the United States if you are planning on driving while there. The United States does not issue IDPs to foreign visitors so it’s essential to get one before you travel. IDPs are only available for purchase in Ireland from the AA. To obtain an application form plus further details on IDPs click here.
  • If you are going to live in the U.S., a U.S. driver's license can be obtained once you’re in the States however it can take several months to obtain your U.S. driver's license.
  • Foreign visitors who become U.S. residents can only obtain a driver's license from the state in which they reside (not from the federal government). Each state has its own driving rules and regulations. Check with your state's motor vehicles department to find out how to apply.
  • Once you receive your U.S. driver's license from a state motor vehicles department, you will be permitted to drive in all other U.S. states. The laws in each state vary from one to another. It is your responsibility to know and obey the laws of that state while driving.
  • The residency requirement for obtaining a U.S. driver's license varies from one state to another. Consult the motor vehicles department in your state for more information.
  • If going to study in the U.S., contact your host university or college, as most institutions provide students with additional driving information.
  • The U.S. government has issued warnings about Internet vendors of worthless international driver's licenses/permits. It is important to educate yourself about the dangers of these costly and illegal operations. See International Driver's License Warning from Federal Trade Commission.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.