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Old 13.01.2015, 15:42
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Summer in the USA - driver's license?

This isn't about leaving CH forever, so I hope I'm not using the wrong part of the forum - but my daughter would like to spend about 3 months with my parents (her grandparents) in St. Augustine, Florida, and we are thinking about transportation while she's there.

Background: My daughter is NOT a US citizen (though my parents are). She will turn 18 in April, so she could theoretically get her Swiss license before she leaves and use it in America; however, getting a driver's license is not particularly high on our priority list. We live just outside of Zürich and 4 minutes from the S-Bahn; we don't own a car (just use Mobility once or twice a month; and we don't really want to spent the sizable amount of money involved on getting a license here.

We initially thought that she could get a license at the beginning of her stay in the US, which would (a) give her mobility in the US (a much bigger problem there than here without a car!) and (b) give her a head start on driving for when she goes for her CH license. (BTW, I say "head start", because a US license is not valid in Switzerland unless you have spent a fairly long time out of the country - a year, I think.)

However, it looks like that won't be possible since she will be visiting grandma on a tourist visa - and I don't believe you can get a license as a tourist.

Do you guys have any knowledge of these issues or know any shortcuts? (Like having my mother get her some kind of visa??) I grew up in Europe and don't know the US well at all ...
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:15
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

It used to be much easier to figure out a way around the system but I would imagine most States DMV's have tightened their policies.

Google Florida DMV and you will learn everything you need to know. It will be easy to fake residency but the biggest hurdle will be the proof of identity (foreign passport wont be enough). Did she happen to be born in the US and has a US birth certificate?

Another alternative is to do like many US drivers: drive without a license.

Or, get her a bike.
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:27
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

I'm pretty sure that things have tightened up since '93 (post 2001), when I arrived in LA on a 6mths. tourist visa.

Inside of a week I'd got a Social Security card/number and driver licence (provisional, IIRC). Within a short time did theory and practical tests for m/c, shortly followed by the same for car.

I can't remember exact specifics, but I think passport was sufficient for ID and I was able to provide an address (although it was that of a friend and non-permanent for me).

NB: A social security number is (was) a pre-requisite in order to get a driving licence, but wasn't hard to get with ID and local address.

It was really easy to get on the system, then - but CA isn't FL and 1993 isn't 2015.
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:34
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

Here's a link to the teen driver page on the Florida DMV:

http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/teendriv.html

And a link to the site to figure out what additional documents she might need:

http://www.gathergoget.com/

Keep in mind even if she did get a learner's license she would need an adult with her at all times (she could not just drive herself around) and she would not be able to convert it to a Swiss license (as she's a Swiss resident). Also your parents would need to see if their insurance would cover a non-resident family member or if you'd need to find other insurance arrangements.

HTH

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.01.2015 at 18:34. Reason: forgot something
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:38
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

You can ride a motorbike alone, on a provisional.
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:42
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

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You can ride a motorbike alone, on a provisional.
It's not mentioned anywhere on the FL-DMV site, thus why I didn't mention it. However OP is welcome to investigate that as well.

Edit - Here we go: http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/mtcynewlaw.html

Yes, since she is 18 she can complete the same test as required for the regular license and get a motorcycle endorsement.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 13.01.2015 at 18:46. Reason: found info
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:47
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

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It's not mentioned anywhere on the FL-DMV site, thus why I didn't mention it. However OP is welcome to investigate that as well.
It should be (was always) a given - but probably not advisable for non-biker.
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:49
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

Thanks guys - typical English Forum generosity, there.

This info will be a big help - and it looks like she might as well take a crack at it. Maybe they let her through, maybe they don't.

I think we'll get her an "L" here in Zürich and get her started practicing before she goes to the US. Theoretically, another month of "L'ing" in Florida and she could get the license there. Won't help back home in CH, but it'll come in handy in the US.

Oh yeah: I AM aware that the US lisence won't be valid here if she has residency in CH - I know that from direct personal experience many years ago!

P.S. What?! My daughter on motorbike? Next thing, you're gonna tell me I should let her have a boyfriend!
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Old 13.01.2015, 18:59
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

Any experience she can get before going will be immensely beneficial - I would guesstimate that an hour here, is worth two there, as it is probably better geared up for novices - road system, cars that do everything for you.

Bear in mind that it is most likely that she'll drive an auto there - stickshifts are a novelty - when she starts driving here.
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Old 13.01.2015, 19:08
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's liscence?

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P.S. What?! My daughter on motorbike? Next thing, you're gonna tell me I should let her have a boyfriend!
You are sending her to the land of sunshine, surf and beaches....
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Old 13.01.2015, 19:29
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

I have 15 years driving experience… and the traffic in Florida terrified me Not sure I'd want to start driving there!
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Old 13.01.2015, 19:32
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

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I have 15 years driving experience… and the traffic in Florida terrified me Not sure I'd want to start driving there!
The traffic is so slow in St. Augustine especially across the Lions Bridge and throughout old town. Be glad that she isn't going to Atlanta. That's a whole 'nother animal. Ever hear of Nascar?
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Old 15.01.2015, 10:38
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

http://www.dmv.org/fl-florida/teen-drivers.php (under 18)

  • A completed Parental Consent for a Driver Application of a Minor (Form HSMV 71142).
  • Proof of your identity (e.g. certified U.S. birth certificate).
  • Proof of your Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card).
  • Proof that you have completed a TLSAE course OR your out-of-state learner’s permit.
  • Proof of your Florida residential address.
http://www.dmv.org/fl-florida/apply-license.php (over18)
  • Present proof of your:
    • Identity, e.g. U.S. birth certificate, permanent resident card, or citizenship certificate.
    • Social Security number (SSN), e.g. Social Security card, paycheck, 1099 form.
      • If you don’t have a SSN, you will need to provide a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and a secondary proof of identity.
    • FL residential address (2 documents), e.g. rental agreement, insurance policy, bank statement.
  • Pass the DMV tests:
    • Vision.
    • Hearing.
    • Knowledge.
    • Driving.
  • Pay the $48 fee.
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Old 15.01.2015, 10:43
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

Are you posting a reply or just posting spam crap?
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Old 15.01.2015, 10:47
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

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Are you posting a reply or just posting spam crap?
It's not spam - the links are DMV = Dept. Of Motor Vehicles (in this case Florida).

Looks like a genuine helpful post, to me.
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Old 15.01.2015, 11:05
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nope..it is the real deal....

have not received my driver’s license. How do I find out where my driver’s license is?

Once you’ve completed your application and paid your required fees, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to receive your license, whether you’re getting a driver’s license for the first time or you’ve recently renewed it.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 15.01.2015 at 13:50. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 15.01.2015, 13:49
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Re: Summer in the USA - driver's license?

Please note - this information is from dmv.org, not from the Florida Department of Transportation. My link in post 4 is from the DMV, as is the second link in blampman's post. If in doubt regarding requirements, follow the official state page.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 15.01.2015 at 13:52. Reason: missing a few words
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