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Can you Drive in Texas as a Foreigner?

Foreigners are allowed to drive through and in Texas if they have the proper documents and if those documents are valid and in accordance with Texas, national and international standards. The most important such documents are a driver’s permit and proof of identity.

There are also some legal restrictions when it comes to driving age. Local rules and regulations apply and you can drive in Texas only if you’re over 18 regardless of when the driver’s permit can be issued in your own country.

Drivers Permit

In order to drive in Texas, you’ll need a valid driver’s license issued by your own country and an international driver license USA authorities can examine. Both of these need to be valid and you need to keep in mind that an international permit may expire before the national one.

The document is issued by the same authority that has issued your national driver’s license and it’s made based on the national driving license, meaning that you don’t need to provide any other proof you can drive. You’ll also need to pay a small fee and provide photos needed to produce the permit.

How Long Can You Use the Permit?

An international permit is valid in Texas for 12 months. After that, you’ll have to apply for the Texas license and go through the procedure that everyone goes through when they get their license in Texas.

It’s also important to note that if your national driving license expires before that, you’re not allowed to drive, since an international driving permit is only valid with a national license. That means it’s best to check when your national driving license is expiring before obtaining an international one.


There are age restrictions for those driving with an international permit in Texas. This means that you can’t drive in Texas if you are below 18 years of age even if your national driving license is valid before that. The same goes for those who are over 75. Even if a person over 75 is allowed to drive in their own country they can’t do so in Texas, at least not with an international permit.

The license only applies to driving private vehicles. You can’t drive a commercial vehicle with this license, in order to do so, you’ll need to obtain another professional permit. Commercial driver’s licenses from Canada and Mexico are recognized in the US, however.

Registration Certificates

A vehicle you’re driving in Texas needs to have a registration certificate issued by your country of origin. This document needs to be translated by the proper authority if it’s not originally issued in English. The number identifying the vehicle needs to be displayed on a plate so that it’s visible at all times.

The same goes for the plate that displays the country of origin if the vehicle is registered in a foreign country. There are penalties that can be issued if you don’t have these documents or the plates.


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