How to do driving practice and get driving license in America? Is Indian driving license valid in USA ?

by Kumar · 17 comments

Another requested article from users about driving practice and getting license.

Is Indian driving license valid in USA ?

Surendra asked, “ I have been worrying so much about the public transportation. I don’t know car driving. I took classes from one of the driving schools here in America, but not getting time and source to practice it. Recently I drove my friends car, at that time I couldn’t even park it properly. Is it common for everybody or me myself is facing the difficulty like this

Well, not all of us who come to America have cars back in India and know how to drive. There are couple of thoughts here: First, ideally I would recommend someone coming to India to get a driving license in India. It can be either international or just Indian Car driving license. Is Indian driving license valid in USA ?  It depends, if you have a license from India, it is valid for six months to one year in US and it all depends on the State you are living in( For instance, In Wisconsin, you can drive with Indian license upto 1 year, check this link : http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/foreign.htm ). But, most of the states do recognize Indian license or International driving permit. There is no hard fast rule and the only way to verify is go to a rental car agency and ask if it is valid there.  So, what’s the deal ? Well, if you have Indian license, all you have to do it go to a rental car service like Enterprise and rent a car. Make sure you take FULL Insurance when you rent the car. Now what ? As you have rented the car with full insurance, you can now practice here and your insurance will cover you if you hit anything by mistake. But, I recommend you are always with someone who knows how to drive well here and knows the rules. Firstly, do NOT drive on roads, ask your friend to drive to a big parking lot and then you can drive in the parking lot until you are comfortable. Then drive in slow roads where not many people. Typically go to country roads. Then, after you are comfortable for 2-3 months, get on Free way cautiously.  Know the rules well, driving in America is completely by rules.

What if you do not have an Indian license ?

If you do not have an Indian license, one option is you can take some classes from driving schools. But, the one I highly recommend is ask a friend of yours to help you with driving. Say him that you will pay for the rental car and get it rented on his name. Then take it to parking lot and low thoroughfare roads and practice. Your friend has to trust you and let you drive and it can be hard to find someone who can take that chance sometime. But, You have to ask, people do help ! don’t be shy.

The reality is, everyone who come to America have problem with getting driving license. If you have friends who can help you are good, if not you will end up in difficulties. But, if you have Indian license or International driving permit, you have better chances to rent car and practice on your own under supervision.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikram May 5, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Hi, I have a Valid Indian License, in MD if you don’t have a Valid Indian/any other country license you need to take a 30 hours of driving class which is 365$, but when i been to MVA Maryland, the lady on counter says she can not find this licence in her tool and ask me to get an letter from Indian Embassy, stating this is a valid License and has no records. Else i have to take the class which is costly(365$). Will Indian Embassy gives any letter if i go there? or whats the best way to go through this?
Pls help.

Reply

Deepak September 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Hi,

I have valid Indian car license. I just took license from India and came. So I have on hands on experience in driving.
It is been 3 months since I came to USA. Is it a good idea to buy a $1000 or $1500 car instead of a rental, learn driving and use the car for sometime until we get familiar with driving? What I heard from people over here is even if we learn using rental car, it will cost around $500 including all the expenses. Is it a good idea to go for a car like this? What would you suggest?

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Deepak September 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Sorry, typo in my post. I meant say I don’t have hands on experience in driving! So need some learning and practising!

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Rajesh kumar shrestha August 16, 2013 at 11:54 pm

I have driving licence of car from nepal & i am going to staying permanently in california of usa as DV visa winner. So how long can i drive there in california using my nepalese license?

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RAVI varma May 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Hi,i had an indian driving licence having heavy transport vehicle permit.but I dont have international driving licence from India.can I get usa licence .is iam able to drive heavy trucks .plz waiting for ur response.thank q.

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Rajesh January 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

Kumar,

Can you pls let us know while renting car, if credit card insurance is sifficient to avoid the costly insurance offered car rental companies?

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Sriram August 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Hi,
Whats the law or the etiquette while practising driving in the US? I usually turn the “danger lights” on…but do we have to have a a sticker or display of some sort (like the “L” in India” while you practice driving on the US roads?

Thanks
Sriram

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Santosh Kumar November 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Hi,
I live in NJ. I want to know if I can get NJ State Drivers License with a Valid Indian Drivers License without giving a road test. I don’t have an IDP.

I await your Quick response.


Santosh

Reply

Kumar November 4, 2010 at 12:47 am

Santosh, I do not know the exact rule in NJ. I would just call the DMV in NJ, they should clarify you instantly…

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abc May 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm

please go to edison NJ , thats the best place ..take your indian licence , just give written exam and get NJ licence ..thats it …I did the same thing ..

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Aab April 26, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Hi abc,
Though I drive good I am panicking to give driving test.
R u sure I can get driving license in NJ with Indian license without giving practical driving test USA

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Anand August 14, 2010 at 3:27 am

Hi Kumar,

I have vaild kuwait driving licence is it valid n USA ??
I don’t have driving licence in india

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Kumar August 14, 2010 at 10:27 am

Anand, If you look at the DMV website, http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/foreign.htm , it says Kuwait is not part of the convention and you would have to get the International Driving permit from your country to drive in US.

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Krista June 7, 2010 at 10:22 am

Even Americans have trouble driving at first…the only way to get better is to practice !

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RedBus2US November 17, 2009 at 8:09 am

No problem !

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surendra November 17, 2009 at 7:27 am

Thanks you very much for the useful information which you provided.

Reply

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