Drive a car in the USA with a valid Mexican driver's license?

access_time 23.08.22
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When people travel from foreign countries to the United States, they are often curious about whether they can drive legally in the country. Mexico is a neighboring country to the US, and because of that shared border, there are additional conveniences for driving in the country. For people who have a valid Mexican driver’s license, the ability to drive in the state exists with no extra steps required. As long as you are a visitor in the United States and not residing there, you can drive legally for a certain amount of time with a valid Mexican driver’s license. 

You will want to know what amount of time you would need to be in the United States to qualify you as a resident because if you hit this threshold, you will need to obtain a United States driver’s license. Each states laws are different, so checking with the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state is essential.

Can I Drive Car In USA With A Mexican Driver’s License?

The short answer is yes, but only for a certain period of time. After, you will need to obtain the US driver’s license. Foreign motorists from countries who are in the United Nations Convention on Road Tariff or the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Motor Vehicle Traffic who visit the country can drive using their valid domestic driver’s license legally. The amount of time they will be able to do this will not exceed one year from the date of arrival. They can utilize a personal car or rental car in the country while they are driving.

Also, people who fit these categories can also can drive their own private vehicles, and these vehicles can be driven with valid license plates and registration tags issued in their native country. The amount of time a person can do this will not exceed one year from the date of their arrival. Due to each state's laws being different, drivers will want to connect with the DMV, or Department of Motor Vehicles for more information. Mexico is a member of the Motor Vehicle Convention of 1943, and a driver's license from there should be honored in the United States as required by the agreement.

What Is An International Driving Permit?

It is recommended to carry an International Driving Permit if you are driving in the United States and using a Mexican driver’s license. This permit is obtained in Mexico and provides a translation for the driver’s license that can be used if you are pulled over or in an accident. If you choose not to get an International Driving Permit, it is recommended to attach an English translation to your national driver’s license. Also called an IDP, an International Driving Permit has a translation into the nine official languages of the United Nations, one of which is English. It can be used in combination with a valid driver's license and can be helpful in emergency situations when a foreign language is involved.

If you have an International Driving Permit, it does not authorize you to drive in the United States on its own. Your Mexican driver’s license does. If you do not have a valid driver's license issued by a foreign jurisdiction, you will likely not be able to get an IDP, and even if you do, you will not be able to legally drive in the United States.

Can I Get Insurance With A Mexican License?

Getting valid car insurance is essential when driving in the United States. In some cases, a person’s car insurance from their native country may cover some things when driving in the US. Either way, it is recommended for people to have the minimum required liability insurance amounts when operating a vehicle in the country. Numerous auto insurance providers can help make sure you are meeting these minimum thresholds. At All Insurance, you can get the best prices for car insurance available for driving in the United States. Free quotes are available here, but keep in mind that you may need to shop around to multiple companies to find the best rates.

Final Notes

If you are traveling to the United States and plan on using a Mexican driver’s license to drive a vehicle you have rented, borrowed, or purchased; you will need to have a valid license. It is recommended to get an International Driving Permit as well, and insurance is needed. Not only that, but you should look into the laws in the state you are traveling to. Knowing what the penalties are for driving without insurance, not paying attention to road signs, and not following the driving laws in the country is essential.

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