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Topic: Validity of US Driving Licence in US after moving to UK/US Car Rentals  (Read 421 times)

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Hi again!

Very specific/random question again. I will be in the US again in a couple of months, and wondered if anyone had experience renting a car in the US after moving to the UK. My specific concern is whether or not the licence is still valid, and if anyone has run into any issues around their credit card used for the reservation not having the same billing address. I have changed the billing on all of my debit/credit cards to my UK address, and foresee this potentially being an issue when presenting my US licence as the zip codes will not match (and are not numeric in the first place).

I have only just applied for my UK provisional licence and think it might be a tight squeeze to do everything I need to do to get the full licence before this next trip, which is why I am posing the question...

Application Type: Settlement/Spouse
Priority/Non-Priority: Priority
Online Application Submitted: August 13, 2018
Biometrics Appointment: August 16, 2018
Documents Sent: August 16, 2018
Package Arrived in Sheffield: August 22, 2018
Email conf. from Sheffield: August 24, 2018
Decision Made Email: September 24, 2018 (21 BD)
Documents Returned: September 25, 2018
Arrived in UK: November 2018
APPROVED!


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I recently got my UK "automatic" license and did just rent a car in the USA, through Europcar. I used my UK credit card to secure the reservation, but paid for it at time of pickup in the USA on a USA credit card that has a UK mailing address. Renting as a European got me a Toyota Camry from Advantage at LAX for 9 days at a total cost of $212, including all the insurances with a zero deductible. I couldn't find anything remotely close to that by trying to book through Hertz, Enterprise, etc., directly. So I would advise going that route, if you can.

The continued validity of your USA license will depend on your state of residence, of course. Once I left California, my CA license was no longer valid.  I could have driven on it in the UK for up to a year, but it would have been invalid in the USA. (This is not the same for members of the armed forces, who have different rules.)  I don't know how the rental place would know that my CA license was no longer valid, as it still has several years on it until the expiration date. However, if I'd been in an accident and insurance got involved, things could potentially become really messy and expensive. With possible criminal charges for driving without a license, if I had not gotten a UK license and used my California one instead.  As that potential nightmare would have bankrupted me, at a minimum, there was no way I was going that route. Hence the UK license - which I only actually got so that when I visit the USA I can rent a car!  ;D

So, suggest you check with your home state's department of motor vehicles licensing agency.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 07:51:42 PM by Nan D. »


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Thanks @Nan D.! I came from New York, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same - confirmed my fears! (Although the better/inclusive pricing is a bonus!)

I feel like an idiot, but can you link me to the requirements for an automatic licence? I can’t seem to find that anywhere, just info on how to upgrade to a full from an automatic. I’m thinking maybe I can push through for at least the automatic before this next trip... manual will take some more time for me.
Application Type: Settlement/Spouse
Priority/Non-Priority: Priority
Online Application Submitted: August 13, 2018
Biometrics Appointment: August 16, 2018
Documents Sent: August 16, 2018
Package Arrived in Sheffield: August 22, 2018
Email conf. from Sheffield: August 24, 2018
Decision Made Email: September 24, 2018 (21 BD)
Documents Returned: September 25, 2018
Arrived in UK: November 2018
APPROVED!


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  • Posts: 4409

  • Liked: 456
  • Joined: Sep 2015
Thanks @Nan D.! I came from New York, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same - confirmed my fears! (Although the better/inclusive pricing is a bonus!)

I feel like an idiot, but can you link me to the requirements for an automatic licence? I can’t seem to find that anywhere, just info on how to upgrade to a full from an automatic. I’m thinking maybe I can push through for at least the automatic before this next trip... manual will take some more time for me.

It's the same, just in a car with an automatic transmission for the automatic license when you do the driving part. When you are ready to go for a full manual, you just have to do the drive test (and pay the fee for it) in a manual transmission car. 

There is a "hazard" test, which is a bit like driver's ed - you watch a video and click when a hazard emerges.  Just because the system is a bit wonky (I was habitually clicking too early and not getting points for it!) I'd suggest you do some of the online practice videos. Actually, I'd recommend you do them a lot. Just so it's instinctive on the day of the test. (You take the hazard test the same day you take the theory test.)

Here's the official stuff.  https://www.gov.uk/take-practice-theory-test

I signed up for their online learning stuff and found it very helpful.  https://www.dvsalearningzone.co.uk/shop/car-theory


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.

The continued validity of your USA license will depend on your state of residence, of course. Once I left California, my CA license was no longer valid.

...

However, if I'd been in an accident and insurance got involved, things could potentially become really messy and expensive. With possible criminal charges for driving without a license, if I had not gotten a UK license and used my California one instead.  As that potential nightmare would have bankrupted me, at a minimum, there was no way I was going that route. Hence the UK license - which I only actually got so that when I visit the USA I can rent a car!  ;D

So, suggest you check with your home state's department of motor vehicles licensing agency.




That, is a very good point Nan.


"You can drive in Great Britain on your full, valid driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident."


https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence
« Last Edit: March 07, 2019, 11:47:07 AM by Sirius »


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I recently got my UK "automatic" license and did just rent a car in the USA, through Europcar. I used my UK credit card to secure the reservation, but paid for it at time of pickup in the USA on a USA credit card that has a UK mailing address. Renting as a European got me a Toyota Camry from Advantage at LAX for 9 days at a total cost of $212, including all the insurances with a zero deductible. I couldn't find anything remotely close to that by trying to book through Hertz, Enterprise, etc., directly. So I would advise going that route, if you can.

WOW! thats a good price, last time I went home, the insurance was more than the car, I drive a company vehicle here, so cannot extend any personal insurance to cover rentals. Will have to look into Eurocar as Im going back this summer and dreading the hire car cost, Boston is notoriously expensive for rentals...


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