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Old 18.05.2016, 00:51
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swiss driving license in US

Guys

I will be renting a car in the US in June...is it correct that I can still use my old swiss driving license ? Does it matter if it's still the one made of paper ?

By the way, any recommendations where to book a car ? I will be driving from SFO to LAS, one way.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 18.05.2016, 03:06
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Re: swiss driving license in US

Yes you can use it, but you should carry an international driver's license too, just in case. It's available at your cantonal Strassenverkehrsamt and will cost you Fr. 30.- or so. It's not an official document, and in particular it does not replace the regular driver's license. It's just an official translation of the content of your license in I-don't-remember-how-many languages.

And if you ever get pulled over in the USA, be prepared to see the officers breaking down in uncontrollable laughter when they see a Swiss paper license for the first time in their life. They will pass it on to show around.

As for SFO to LAS -- sorry, not quite my turf.

Enjoy!
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Old 18.05.2016, 07:25
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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Yes you can use it, but you should carry an international driver's license too, just in case.
No point at all. I, and various colleagues, have rented cars in the US dozens of times using Swiss licences, including the paper one I had up until 2008, with no problems whatsoever.
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Old 18.05.2016, 11:22
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Re: swiss driving license in US

Never a problem with the Swiss Lic.. However mines been plastic for a while.
You can try one of these sites for a car rental:
http://www.priceline.com/promo/rc_winning_bids.html

https://www.skyscanner.ch/mietwagen

Somehow, I've ended up the last couple of times going with Budget (deals on upgrades). Best to rent ahead from here. Also refuse all options and scare tactics at the pickup.
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Old 18.05.2016, 11:35
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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No point at all. I, and various colleagues, have rented cars in the US dozens of times using Swiss licences, including the paper one I had up until 2008, with no problems whatsoever.
How many of those where stopped by the police and got checked?
Or in other words: Do you care about able to rent or about allowed to drive?
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Old 18.05.2016, 14:47
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Re: swiss driving license in US

California and Nevada do not recognize International Driving Permits. Just bring a valid license from the country in which you are resident. You may want to upgrade to a plastic license though as the staff at most rental car counters aren't typically the brightest.

Perhaps aSwissInTheUS is referring to other States where IDPs are required?
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Old 18.05.2016, 16:18
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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California and Nevada do not recognize International Driving Permits. Just bring a valid license from the country in which you are resident. You may want to upgrade to a plastic license though as the staff at most rental car counters aren't typically the brightest.
As you say, they're not the brightest people in the world, so why would they question a paper licence? Credit card size licences are relatively new in most of the world, lots of countries still have paper ones.
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Old 18.05.2016, 16:29
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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California and Nevada do not recognize International Driving Permits.
No country in world "recoginzes" an International Driving Permit (IDP). The document has zero value on its own as it is just a translation of your national license. It has always to be shown together with a valid national driving license.

- I never had a problem to get and rent a car with my Swiss card license alone. No car rental place wanted to see the translation (IDP).
- I do not now if there will be a problem to get and rent a car with a Swiss paper license.
- I was never ever checked by a cop. Means, I do not know if the sheriff is happy with the national license alone or if he wants to see the translation (IDP) as well.
- If the cop plays by the book and the state follows the minimum standard set by the U.S. State Departement he may request the translation (IDP). In such a case your national license may not be valid if you do not have an IDP with you.

- Some law experts argue that an U.S. state is not allowed to request that a foreign license must be accompanied by an IDP. Such power lies with the United States on Federal Level: http://www.flhsmv.gov/IDP022513.pdf

- Furthermore, if the state realy, really follows the minium standard then your Swiss licenses may not be valid. Regardless if accompanied by a IDP or not (Reason: Switzerland signed but never ratified the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, Switzerland signed and ratified the 1926 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic and the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The U.S.A did not sign any of those)

Compare the Michigan List of approved countries vs. the Vermont or Wisconsin lists
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/r...rt_20508_7.pdf
http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/Foreign
http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/li...y/foreign.aspx

Kentuky has an other apporach, which allows Swiss to drive in KY:
https://docjt.ky.gov/legal/documents...inKentucky.pdf

State Departement.
https://fam.state.gov/fam/07fam/07fam1430.html
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Old 18.05.2016, 16:36
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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As you say, they're not the brightest people in the world, so why would they question a paper licence? Credit card size licences are relatively new in most of the world, lots of countries still have paper ones.
I had an issue with a rental company in the US a while ago.
They did not accept my credit card license + international driving license.
Luckily they accepted my library card.
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Old 18.05.2016, 19:48
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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Compare the Michigan List of approved countries vs. the Vermont or Wisconsin lists
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/r...rt_20508_7.pdf
I see Michigan recognizes licenses from Swaziland. Problem solved.
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Old 18.05.2016, 20:13
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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Guys

I will be renting a car in the US in June...is it correct that I can still use my old swiss driving license ? Does it matter if it's still the one made of paper ?

By the way, any recommendations where to book a car ? I will be driving from SFO to LAS, one way.

Thanks in advance!
Book a rental car in advance on the internet at the airport in San Francisco at an internationally recognized company like Avis, Hertz, etc. They will accept your Swiss license, paper or plastic.

However, if you get pulled over by the cops on your drive down to LA, it is highly unlikely that he\she will give a crap about your Swiss license. This is where you could run into trouble. I hope your spoken English is pretty good.

In other words, the rental car office in San Francisco will be fine. They deal with foreigners everyday. The cops in Fresno however, could be an issue. Don't speed and don't do anything stupid and you will be fine.
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Old 18.05.2016, 20:39
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Re: swiss driving license in US

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As you say, they're not the brightest people in the world, so why would they question a paper licence? Credit card size licences are relatively new in most of the world, lots of countries still have paper ones.
One time in Colorado with an Italian guy who had rented an old muscle car. We did some supersonic speeds and got pulled over by the local cops.
The cop checked the Italian licence and after a while said OK Mr Milano I am giving you a citation!!
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Old 18.05.2016, 21:09
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Re: swiss driving license in US

I honestly don't think International Driver's License is needed. When I was living in FL the traffic police told me the international license is only needed if your home driver's license is written in non alphabet language such as Chinese, Arabic, Thai, etc.
Don't forget your passport as well, that's another requirement to show along with the foreign driver's license .
Good luck on your travels.
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Old 18.05.2016, 21:54
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Re: swiss driving license in US

Guys thanks for your replies.

I will rent and drive with my old vintage swiss driving license ;-)

The idea is to rent a car only after I leave SFO, therefore I guess I will not rent at the airport. I'd love to rent a muscle car or a jeep...anyway something purposeful...don't feel like to drive a Prius. If anybody has any leads..they are welcome!

Thanks again, much appreciated.
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Old 18.05.2016, 22:29
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Re: swiss driving license in US

Did LA to LAS in a Mustang GT which was a ballast of sideways and drift fun.

I would do either Mustang GT or Dodge Challenger R/T which tend to be the top end Muscle cars available at most renters (book in advance though)

I've currently hooning about Miami in the Mustang, but compared to my alfa back home its primative! but rear out fun
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Old 19.05.2016, 00:05
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Re: swiss driving license in US

I've rented a car in the US with Swiss license (new plastic credit card one) and never had a problem, even when I got pulled over for speeding, got let off for being 21mph over the limit, figured the cop didn't want the hassle of dealing with all the paperwork of an international license

Just glad I wasn't here otherwise my bank balance would have been substantially lightened!
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