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

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 36 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 : ). 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.


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Comments ( 36 )

  1. Virender

    I have indian driving license. And passed written test in dmv california..i want to know..can i practice a car driving alone with indian driving license..

  2. IDP holder From India

    Thanks for good vital info,
    I have IDP earned From India, Kerala. Can i use it to Drive in US atleast for couple of months ?

  3. Tejinder

    I need your input for getting driving License from MVA (Maryland Vehicle Administration). I am holding Indian Driving license and i have all other documents to apply. When I went to MVA for first time i thought that i will take knowledge test and after that Road test and i will get DL but it did not happened. MVA officer directly rejected my Indian license by saying that we cannot validate this and you need to get Driving record along with Indian embassy need to authorize it. Driving records in India – I heard that first time as there is as such no records in India but any how I could manage to get a letter from India from transport department that state that this is license number, issue & expiry date, address etc. and i get that authorize that from Indian embassy. When I again visited MVA they did not accepted letter and rejected that we cannot accept this. I requested them that this is what i could get from India otherwise there is as such no driving record. Please suggest me what I should do?

  4. Siri

    I have valid india driving licence is there any chance to pratice on grounds by using this licence in MD state if it not possible pls let me know how can i pratice driving before go to mva center.

  5. Jeet

    I don’t have driving licence, and I know how to drive car. how i get driving licence in USA ? i have to attend driving classes to get it.

  6. Abhi

    After becoming a resident and getting a learner’s permit in MA can I drive using my Indian license till I give the road test and get US license?
    Can I be exempted from the permit’s co-passenger restriction if I am an experienced driver from some other country?

    1. PJ

      Did you get answer of this query? I am stuck with same dilemma and rules are not very clear about this situation. You have IP from GA and permanent license from your country, what to do? Do the IP override your country license and you would always need someone with GA permanent license with you.

  7. Vikram

    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.

    1. Pradeep

      Hi Vikram,
      Did you get the letter from embassy and was it helpful for the licence. I am in the same situation and you response may helpful for me.

      1. vikram

        Yes the letter was embassy was helpful but they asked fir one more letter from your state stating your driving record is good. I got that one too..

        1. Pradeep

          Thank you so much for the response and your help on this.
          Which embassy (I meant embassy location) did you reach to get this letter?
          Did dmv ask you to get state letter? If so how did you get the same?

    2. Santhosh

      Hi Vikram,
      im in MD, owingts mills, itoo faced same issue last week when i went for wrritten test. DMV asked me to get letter from embassy. Can you help me on this how to get the letter. It would be really helpful for me and couple of friends here facing same issue.

    3. Suresh


      Please let me know the procedure to get the letter (any specific format, if so where do I get it?) from the Indian embassy to prove that its a valid license and state letter as well?. They didnt ask me for a state letter this time.

      Please help.

  8. Deepak


    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?

  9. Rajesh kumar shrestha

    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?

  10. RAVI varma

    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.

  11. Rajesh


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

  12. Sriram

    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?


  13. Santosh Kumar

    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.


    1. abc

      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 ..

      1. Aab

        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

      2. MS

        I am living in Secaucus, NJ. Can I go to Edison to get my US license by taking the written exam.
        Or Do I need to go to Secaucus DMV to get my license . Anyone aware of the procedure. pls help.

        1. administrator

          You can go to the nearest DMV to your residential address. Also, others that are around the same vicinity also works as long as they are from same state.

    1. administrator

      Anand, If you look at the DMV website, , 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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