Can I drive in the US with a full UK license?
The good news is that yes, you are able to drive in the US with a full UK license and do not require a US license unless you are moving there. However, there are a number of different factors to consider if you are planning on driving in the US, especially if you are thinking about hiring a car.
Legally, a UK license is accepted to allow you to drive in the US. You should also be aware that there are different driving laws across different States in the US. Wherever it is that you are planning on visiting in the US, you should check the local driving laws to see if they are different to where you usually drive. To start with, driving in the US is on the right-hand side of the road, so if you are used to driving in the UK that will be one major difference!
Car hire companies
It is important to note that some car hire companies will require that you have an International Drivers Permit before they will let you hire a car from them. Whilst it is not considered to be compulsory for driving in the US, the stance on requiring IDP varies between the hire companies.
An IDP is available to apply for from post offices in the UK and costs £5.50. If you have time to apply for one, then it will make hiring a car much easier.
One of the other factors to consider is the type of insurance that you get with your car hire company. Not all companies will provide full insurance as some States do not require third party insurance, or Supplementary Liability Insurance as it is referred as in the US.
It is worth shopping around a bit to see what the best car hire deals are, taking into account all of the other factors such as whether there is any excess payments for younger drivers, or what the fuel policy includes, as some companies will charge considerably more for fuel consumption compared to what you would pay if you filled it up yourself at a fuel station.
There are different rules regarding the ages of drivers that car hire companies will accept. Some companies will allow drivers of 18 years and over, whilst many insist that drivers are at least 21 years old. Previously, it was very common for car hire companies to only allow foreign drivers aged 25 and over to hire vehicles in the US.
If you are flying into the US then the best place to pick up a hire car will be at the airport, althoughthis won’t necessarily be the cheapest place to hire a vehicle. By arranging your car hire as early as possible, you should be able to get the best deals and this will also give you more time to check the different requirements and the insurance details of each company that you look at using.