For any stay of less than three months, the European driver's license is more than enough to circulate in the United States. This is the case if you come to visit the USA with an ESTA document. Beyond that, you will need an international driver's license to rent a car in USA.
Please note that this one will only be valid for one year. In other words, if you intend to stay in the USA for more than a year, as part of your studies or work; or if you intend to settle permanently in the USA, you must obtain a US driver's license.
Much more than an administrative document proving your right and ability to drive, given the distances to travel in the United States, a driver's license is the "identity document" of reference in the United States. If your plan is to stay for a long period of time, passing your U. S. driver's license will give you many advantages. In addition to the right to drive everywhere, you will have, for example, the possibility of buying your own car and insuring it on American soil at a reduced price.
In the absence of an American license, some insurers charge you double that.
Each State has its own specificities, but each State also has its own road codes and therefore adopts different criteria for obtaining permits. To find out more about the conditions in your area of residence, check with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) in your city. Regardless of the state, however, to obtain your U. S. driver's license, you will have to pass two tests: the theory test and the practical driving test.
To take the test, first contact your VDD by phone or online for an appointment. Although this step is not mandatory, it will save you a long queue, because be sure you won't be the only one waiting your turn.
Once you have completed the registration form and paid a user fee of $20-$35 for both events, after a vision test and photo shoot, you will be asked to complete a 36 question MCQ. To succeed, you will have to make no more than six mistakes. If you pass the test, you will get a provisional driving license and you can then make an appointment for the Drive test.
The driving test does not have to be done in a driving school, although you will certainly be asked to view road safety videos. You can use it with your own car, a borrowed or rented vehicle, on this one condition only: The car must be insured.
If you pass this test, you will get a "Blue Card" as a certificate. Depending on the state, you will receive your "Driver's License" at the same time or within one month after the test.
Since the U. S. Highway Traffic Act may be very different from that of Europe’s, take the time to study it thoroughly or even learn it before taking your test. It is available free of charge on the Internet or in your city's VDD.
It is quite possible to take the test in few non-English languages, however, please note that the code is in English. As a result, tests in the same language will be easier to understand. By choosing your language, you may come across a risky translation that can only mislead you in your answers.
To get your license in the United States, you will need to present the following documents: