Many tourists visiting in the United Sates prefer driving a car to be able to go to as many places as they can in their own time and for convenience. The best way to acquire a car, of course, is to rent and not buy one since the stay is only temporary. You can rent your preferred car right at the airport, but you will need to pay additional fees. Some opt to rent a car in the city where they arrived, however, since by paying the additional “one-way” fee, they can leave the vehicle in another city – a wise option if they plan to leave the US from another city or state.
Before you can drive your rented car, though, there are two very necessary things you will need to have: a Temporary Driver License and a Car Insurance, without both, you will never be able to drive any car from the parking lot.
The temporary driver’s license is issued by each particular state or territory to individuals after being authorized by the federal government to come to the US for a definite purpose within a specific time period. This temporary license is recognized in all US states, is valid for both identification and driving purposes and allows operation of typical passenger (not commercial) vehicles below 26,000 pounds GVWR (identified as Class XD), including motor scooters, motorcycles and other motor driven cycles (Class XM).
It is important also that, before leaving for the US, you get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your country of origin as this document will be required from you. An IDP, which merely supplements, and not replaces, a valid government-issued license, only translates the information written on your local driver’s license into 10 different languages to enable foreign country officials to read your license.
Besides the IDP, other state-required original documents when applying for a temporary visitor’s driver’s license include:
- Two (2) valid proofs of identity
- Legal documents proving change in name ( like certified final divorce decree, certified final marriage certificate and others), but only if the name written on the identification documents is different from the federal document submitted for “proof of temporary legal presence”
- Two (2) valid documents showing proofs of residency (in the state)
- Social security number (a sworn affidavit is required if applicant has no SSN)
- Vision, knowledge and skills tests (where applicable)
The other necessary requirement is a Car (liability) Insurance, a necessity for all drivers in all states. In its website, Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® affirms that car insurance can be quite costly, but goes on to say that not having one can prove to be much more expensive. There are companies, though, that offer all the assistance needed by customers looking for the best, yet really affordable car insurance policy regardless of their credit standing or status (visitor, student, non-US resident, etc.).
Car Insurance is usually available at many rental car firms; you may also purchase one online if you prefer. Insurance will be a major necessity in the event of an accident since medical treatment can be too costly; remember too that if you end up injuring someone in an accident, you will have to shoulder his/her medical expenses. So, when purchasing car liability insurance, make sure that your policy includes liability, first and foremost, as well as collision and loss-of-use.