Driving in the states – here’s why an international driver’s license makes sense for the u.s

Is an international driver’s license mandatory in the USA? You will not receive keys for your rental car in the United States if you only have a national driver’s license? A fact check.

Is an international driver’s license mandatory in the USA?

The United States government does not mandate an international driver’s license. However, there U.S. states, in which you obligated are international driver’s license to be carried (as of September 2021). For example, the State Department’s website states:

“In some U.S.-States require an international driver’s license – in conjunction with the mandatory national driver’s license. It is also advisable to carry an international driver’s license (z. B. also in connection with the rental of a motor vehicle).”

The world’s third-largest country is highly federalized. This means that each state in the United States has its own latitude in national regulations and laws. Therefore, New York and Connecticut, for example, may have different requirements at the same time that the Driver’s license for tourists from abroad regulate. Exactly this is actually the case. For Connecticut, you need an international driver’s license for your rental car, whereas in New York you do not.

For which states of the USA you need an international driver’s license?

In 11 of a total of 50 States foreign vacationers need an international driver’s license. These include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

While other states do not require an international driver’s license, they may have a different problem with the German driver’s license. They require that a driver’s license also in English must be understandable. A driver’s license issued in Germany does not meet this requirement. Because it is exclusively in German language. The international driver’s license picks up exactly this gap and functions like a certified translation. It therefore does not replace the national driver’s license, but is only a supplement.

The latest information on where you need an international driver’s license in addition to the one valid in the EU can be obtained for each individual U.S. state from the state’s Motor Vehicle Department.

How to apply for an international driver’s license

You should take care of your international driver’s license before you leave home. In the USA you will not receive the document. In Germany, you can get this license

  • at Road Traffic Office
  • at Residents’ Registration Office
  • of the Driver’s license office in the citizens’ registration office
  • or directly with the Community apply for it for a fee.

You will need two biometric passport photos for your application. The international driver’s license is usually valid for three years. This driver’s license is recognized in the USA under the 1949 Geneva Convention – but ONLY in conjunction with your valid EU driver’s license. So you always have to present both driving licenses: the EU driving license and the international driving license. Some may still have a German driver’s license in “pink” or “gray. Your German driver’s license will be automatically exchanged for the new EU driver’s license in credit card format upon application for an international driver’s license.

On the road with a rental car in the U.S. – We recommend that you always have your international driver’s license with you

Even though US vacationers report that they have rarely been asked for this international document when inspecting or even renting a car: We advise you to get an international driver’s license before your trip to the USA. The costs are comparatively low (approx. between 12 and 18 euros, depending on the state) in contrast to the problems that may arise locally, you can not show an international driver’s license.

Know the pitfalls of car rental insurance for the U.S?

The fact that the U.S. is a federalist country is not only evident when it comes to driver’s licenses. Depending on where you book your rental car, this also comes into play with the rental car insurance. In Germany are with the motor vehicle liability uniform minimum amounts of cover required. It amounts to 7.5 million euros for personal injuries. Coverage amount is the maximum amount up to which your insurance will cover costs. In the USA apply, depending on the US state, Different levels of coverage. In the worst case, you are even insured for only a low four-digit amount. Carefully read the insurance conditions of the providers and compare the benefits. With a clever Supplementary insurance you can take precautions: excess exclusion insurance, for example, steps in if you have an accident and the coverage amount of your rental car provider’s motor vehicle liability is too low.

What you should look out for in your travel insurance for the USA

While there are differences between the US states when it comes to driver’s licenses and rental car insurance, this does not apply to the American health care system. The Costs for

  • medication
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Operations
  • or Hospitalization are everywhere in the USA very high. There is no uniform scale of fees.

If you do not International health insurance insurance, you will have to pay for all medical services yourself. For the treatment of a dog bite, an American clinic provided 76.000 USD in invoice. In Germany, this would be a maximum of 12.000 Euro have been. Before these enormous cost risks you should insure yourself in any case, for the entire duration of your trip. An international health insurance not only protects you from existentially high claims, but you also travel with a good feeling. In the event of an accident or serious illness, you can receive comprehensive medical assistance, including repatriation.

Which international health insurance is the right one? On our certified expert portal, we continuously compare the best rates for you. Always objective and always with a low price guarantee.

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