Can you Drive in Florida as a Foreigner?

Foreigners visiting Florida are allowed to drive within the state as long as they follow the proper laws and regulations both when it comes to traffic conduct and having the proper documents.  You’ll need to have a passport, a driving license from your own country, and an international driving permit.

All of these documents need to be valid, meaning that they didn’t expire and that the personal information on all the documents matches. All of these documents are simple enough to obtain and renew when needed.

How to Obtain an International Driving Permit?

An international driving permit for USA purposes can be obtained based on your national driving license. This needs to be done before your trip to Florida since you can’t get one while you’re abroad (you can, however, renew the existing permit).

This permit is created within a week and you’ll have to provide a set of two photos and fill out a form. The matter is simple enough and there are agencies out there that will do it for you, but it must be done in a timely manner and before the actual trip.

Obtaining a Florida License

Foreigners can obtain a Florida license as well, but only if they’ve legally resided in the US for a year. Even if you have a foreign license you’ll have to go through the process of obtaining a Florida-issued one, just as a new driver would have to.

You’ll need to be over 18 and to complete the required course regarding drug and alcohol use, as well as pass a written exam that’s required by the local authorities. Those who have already driven with their own national license shouldn’t have any issue with it.

Disability Parking Permits

If you have a disability parking permit issued by another country, you should bring it along. It’s a valid document and Florida authorities will honor it. This means that you use accommodations that the state of Florida issues for persons with disability as any US citizen or resident would while in Florida.

The parking accommodations provided for persons with disability are clearly marked with the proper signs and can easily be identified. It may be useful to have your disability-related documents translated by the proper authority in your country. For the most part, that’s an embassy or a traffic-related authority depending on the country in question.

Seat Belt Laws

Foreigners driving in Florida need to follow the local laws and regulations when it comes to seatbelts (and other traffic regulations). Local regulations require front-seat passengers to have their seatbelt on while driving, even if the car has airbags.

Passengers under 18 years of age need to wear seat belts even when driving in the backseat of the car. This is the case for any vehicles, such as trucks or vans, as well. It’s allowed to be pulled over because you’re not wearing a belt or to be fined for not wearing a belt if you’ve been pulled over for another reason.


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