Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Converting a UK driver's license to Hawaii DL?
Old 03-31-2011, 01:06 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 739
Converting a UK driver's license to Hawaii DL?

The issue is that my daughter will not own a car in Hawaii but might rent occasionally, so she has no "owned" car to take a road test with and no friends to borrow one. She has called the DMV from the UK (huge cost due to holds) and gotten differing answers from the agents answering.

Wondering if anyone has done that conversion. Specifically will she need to take a road test?
__________________

__________________
Zero is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 03-31-2011, 01:19 PM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,031
If she drives a car only occasionally in HI, she might want to look into getting an "international driver's license" before leaving the UK. I had one for a few months when I moved from Europe to the US (If she stays in HI long term though, she'll have to eventually get a HI driver's license as the international driver's license expires after one year IIRC).

When I finally got my license in North Carolina, I had to start from scratch, i.e. I had to take both the written test and the road test as if I had never driven a car before. There was no possibility of "converting" my European driver's license.
__________________

__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 01:38 PM   #3
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 3,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by FD View Post
If she drives a car only occasionally in HI, she might want to look into getting an "international driver's license" before leaving the the UK.
This is what I did while traveling/renting a car in the UK (with a US license). BTW, it's not a license, but a permit - carried with your home country license:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interna...Driving_Permit

Just applied at my local AAA and it only cost me a few dollars, and was good for a year.

With most traffic signs standardized for most countries, it's not a problem IMHO. Of course, she dosen't have to worry about roundabouts, but does have to remember to drive on the right (e.g. correct ) side of the road...
__________________
rescueme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 01:42 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
The issue is that my daughter will not own a car in Hawaii but might rent occasionally, so she has no "owned" car to take a road test with and no friends to borrow one. She has called the DMV from the UK (huge cost due to holds) and gotten differing answers from the agents answering.
Wondering if anyone has done that conversion. Specifically will she need to take a road test?
I think you're talking to the wrong organization. Unless she's planning to become a Hawaii/U.S. resident, she should be checking with the car-rental companies.

For example, from Drivers License FAQ, Official Web Site for The City and County of Honolulu
Quote:
What is the requirement to drive in Hawaii using my valid foreign license?
Your valid foreign license is good to drive in Honolulu, Hawaii one year upon entry. You will need your valid passport to show admission date.
So your daughter's U.K. driver's license might be all she needs to rent around here. If that's not enough then perhaps U.K.'s version of an international driver's license might suffice.

If Hawaii is the first U.S. state your daughter is planning to apply for a U.S. license then I'd almost certainly expect that she'd have to take a test. After all, from Hawaii's perspective she's driving on the wrong left side of the street instead of the right. But unless she's planning to become a state/U.S. resident, she'd want to stick with whatever license she has now.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 02:09 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 739
Thanks for the tips. Daughter is a US citizen and moving back to live in Hawaii so I kinda think she is stuck. She will not be moving back to the UK so she'll eventually need to bite the bullet and get a car with insurance (required by DMV) and do the full monty of testing.

Funny system because she had a California license for 6-7 years prior to moving to the UK. Now it's like she's starting over.
__________________
Zero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 02:22 PM   #6
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 21,076
I know plenty folks who drove rental cars for months at a time when over on business in Louisiana and used their UK license.

When I first came over I got an International permit, and rented a car no problem just showing my UK licence. Once here I decided to get a US licence within a week or so. The test was trivial compared to the UK. (well, this was in Texas )

I'd check with the rental car companies first, and also be sure to check on age requirements - I expect she'll have to be aged 25 or older to rent a car.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
nun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 4,834
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
Thanks for the tips. Daughter is a US citizen and moving back to live in Hawaii so I kinda think she is stuck. She will not be moving back to the UK so she'll eventually need to bite the bullet and get a car with insurance (required by DMV) and do the full monty of testing.

Funny system because she had a California license for 6-7 years prior to moving to the UK. Now it's like she's starting over.
How old is your daughter? Some renters have a 25 year old minimum. But if she's 25 she'll be able to drive on the UK licence.

I got an MA licence by showing them my UK licence and doing a simple written test. No actual driving required as I had the UK licence. HI will have it's own rules. Look here it says that if you are over 18 and have a valid out of stat licence you don't have to take a driving test, juts pass the written.


Hawaii New License Application Info - DMV Guide

Also

"Visitors from other countries may drive in Hawaii for up to one year as long as they have a valid license from their home country, and an International Driver Permit (IDP). The permit, which basically translates the license to make it understandable to U.S. officials, is issued in the visitor's home country."
__________________
nun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 02:34 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 739
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I know plenty folks who drove rental cars for months at a time when over on business in Louisiana and used their UK license.

When I first came over I got an International permit, and rented a car no problem just showing my UK licence. Once here I decided to get a US licence within a week or so. The test was trivial compared to the UK. (well, this was in Texas )

I'd check with the rental car companies first, and also be sure to check on age requirements - I expect she'll have to be aged 25 or older to rent a car.
Thanks, nice to have first hand UK to US conversion experience. Did you have to take the driving test? She is worried about that part, especially in an unfamiliar rental car. It took her a while getting used to driving on the left, so now she is worried about the testing. Can't say I blame her, that must be a tough transition.

EDIT: Daughter is 27, and she'll likely not be going back to the UK, so it makes sense to get a US license right away.

EDIT: Got the answer by calling the Koolau licensing location. She definitely has to take the road test, no way around it.
__________________
Zero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 04:29 PM   #9
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 21,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
Thanks, nice to have first hand UK to US conversion experience. Did you have to take the driving test? She is worried about that part, especially in an unfamiliar rental car. It took her a while getting used to driving on the left, so now she is worried about the testing. Can't say I blame her, that must be a tough transition.

EDIT: Daughter is 27, and she'll likely not be going back to the UK, so it makes sense to get a US license right away.

EDIT: Got the answer by calling the Koolau licensing location. She definitely has to take the road test, no way around it.
The road test was extremely easy, BUT, I was not allowed to take it in a rental car. When the State Trooper turned up he looked at the rental agreement which says that road tests are not allowed. I said to him, "So, I step off the plane and rent the car, having never driven in the US before, but I'm not allowed to drive it with a State Trooper sitting next to me while I demonstrate that I can drive safely?". He was a great guy and explained that they had discussed this with rental companies before and that's just the way it is. I returned next day in my boss's car and took the test.

The Texas road test was a few left and right turns around the town close to the test center in League City. I also had to parallel park in a very big space between 2 traffic cones - that was the hardest part of the test and of little use since there is never a need to parallel park in a country as big as the USA.

The road test in Louisiana was just as easy according to my 2 kids when they were 17.

If your daughter took the test in the UK then she'll have had to do emergency stop, 3 point turn, reversing round a corner, hill starts, roundabouts etc. Tell her that the US test is easy peasy. Remembering to drive on the right is easy when you are concentrating, or in traffic.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I also had to parallel park in a very big space between 2 traffic cones - that was the hardest part of the test and of little use since there is never a need to parallel park in a country as big as the USA.
Glad to have that explained to me. I don't see how extra space out in West Texas or Wyoming relieves one of having to squeeze into tight on-street spaces in Seattle. Often on steep hills, using manual transmission, in the rain, with someone blowing his horn at you.... but not to worry, it's a huge country!

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 04:50 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,031
The road test in NC was super easy too. We just drove around the block.
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 04:57 PM   #12
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 21,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by haha View Post
Glad to have that explained to me. I don't see how extra space out in West Texas or Wyoming relieves one of having to squeeze into tight on-street spaces in Seattle. Often on steep hills, using manual transmission, in the rain, with someone blowing his horn at you.... but not to worry, it's a huge country!

Ha
I should have realized that although I took the test in a part of Texas that is huge and flat, they were really preparing me for driving in Seattle

The test in Baton Rouge that my kids took didn't even have a parallel park portion. They didn't have any left turns either, simply turned right out of the parking lot and drove around taking 4 more right turns and back into the parking lot.

When we moved to Baton Rouge from Houston I had to take the written test and failed it (she gave me a licence anyway ). In League City the written test had been mostly about the rules of the road, while in Baton Rouge it was mostly about what penalties were incurred for different driving offences by minors.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 05:18 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I should have realized that although I took the test in a part of Texas that is huge and flat, they were really preparing me for driving in Seattle
Yes, I see your point. But a Texas license entitles you to drive in Seattle, or NYC, or Baltimore, and if I remember OP's daughter is not planning to drive only in Texas, or LA, and you did say
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
I also had to parallel park in a very big space between 2 traffic cones - that was the hardest part of the test and of little use since there is never a need to parallel park in a country as big as the USA.
If the domain of this statement was suburban Houston, it really is not clearly stated.

I suppose your meta point is that the UK is much stricter on its aspiring drivers, which I grant was your experience, and maybe frequent, but perhaps not a universal finding?

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 08:57 PM   #14
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 739
Alan, oh yeah, she has stories galore about having to attend "driving school" or something like that and then hired an instructor for the driving lessons. That was after driving in the US for almost 7 years.

She said her biggest worry is turning on the wipers to signal for a turn. I guess UK cars are set up differently.
__________________
Zero is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 09:18 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,014
Decades ago I moved from Ireland to the US, and later to Canada. I have had International Drivers' Permits several times. When I moved to the US (PA) I immediately bought a small car. I had no trouble doing that with my Irish drivers' licence and International permit. I remember that I was considered a high risk to insure because I had previously driven on the "wrong" side of the road, so I was placed in a high risk pool and paid an arm and a leg for insurance. A few months later I took my drivers' test. It was ridiculously easy. The driving was conducted on a dedicated course with no traffic and no hills (this was in PITTSBURGH!!!) and I too had to parallel park (my tiny Chevy Sprint) between two traffic cones. They were so far apart that I could have fit three or four Sprints between them!
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2011, 11:00 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
GregLee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Waimanalo, HI
Posts: 1,881
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
EDIT: Got the answer by calling the Koolau licensing location. She definitely has to take the road test, no way around it.
I had to take a road test at that very location 2-3 years ago, owing to my neglecting to renew my license in time. It was harder than I thought it would be, and in fact I failed (after having driven about 50 years). Some little technical things --- I think the examiner took a dislike to me. So I had to schedule a second try, and the next time I passed with no problem. The moral is, at the Koolau location, if the examiner is an older woman with a determined expression, tell your daughter to watch it.
__________________
Greg (retired in 2010 at age 68, state pension)
GregLee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2011, 12:45 AM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
Thanks for the tips. Daughter is a US citizen and moving back to live in Hawaii so I kinda think she is stuck.
When she gets here she should still use her international license for as long as she possibly can while she practices for the test.

I say "practice" because every testing location has their little tricks-- Pearl City has a tough parking lot to get out of, Wahiawa has a 10 MPH zone by the hospital, Kapolei has some tricky bicycle lanes to stay clear of. (The Facebook teenagers do a great job of collecting and distributing the intel.) None of these tricks are actually what an experienced driver would consider a safety hazard, but failing to handle them exactly as described in the book means just that-- failure.

She could post at HawaiiThreads.com to ask about the real estate market, local events, and so forth. They'll also update her on the latest road test gotchas.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2011, 02:52 AM   #18
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 21,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
Alan, oh yeah, she has stories galore about having to attend "driving school" or something like that and then hired an instructor for the driving lessons. That was after driving in the US for almost 7 years.

She said her biggest worry is turning on the wipers to signal for a turn. I guess UK cars are set up differently.
I've done the wiper thing myself plenty times, and the position used to vary from make to make, very frustrating indeed.

I don't know anyone who passed the UK test without driving lessons, and I expect she took the test using a stick shift. If you fail you can't even take it again for 3 months which adds to the pressure. I was dreading the "emergency stop", which you have to do when the driving examiner hits his clipboard against the dashboard and you have to slam on the brakes and stop the car while maintaining control and not stalling. I knew it was coming as the examiner had a good look around for other cars immediately before he called for it and was relieved when I stopped okay without skidding etc.

A few years back I heard there was a growing business of young Germans coming over to take a UK driving test because the licence was valid Euro wide and the UK test was easy compared to the one in Germany.

I think Noords has some good advice above. We officially had 6 months in Louisiana before a US licence was required, so she should take plenty of time and get familiar with local conditions and customs on the road.
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2011, 03:17 AM   #19
Moderator
Alan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Eee Bah Gum
Posts: 21,076
A colleague of mine in Texas had an accident when he failed to notice overhead traffic lights and hit a car. Both cars were undrivable because of fenders impinging on tires, but no one was hurt at all and he said it was all very good natured as he was very apologetic and admitted that the blame was entirely his. The local Sheriff and a State Trooper turned up and argued for 10 minutes over who had jurisdiction, which was funny when I heard that, as that was the only question I had got wrong on my Texas written driving test

The Sheriff won and took control and told my colleague, Dave, that although it was a minor accident, he had gone through a red light, so he was going to have to give him a ticket. Dave then handed over his UK driving licence and he could see the Sheriff thinking "Paperwork!!!!". He then told Dave that since no one was hurt he would let him off with a warning. He even gave Dave a lift to the plant in Pasedena he had been driving to.

That same year my boss's wife and adult daughter had driven to New Orleans from Houston for a long weekend and on the way back got stopped on I10, close to Gonzales, for doing 80mph in a 70mph zone. She produced her UK driving licence but since that provided no surety that she was traceable to pay the fine, they were both arrested and held until my boss wired the money for the fine to the courthouse (only took a couple of hours or so). My boss thought it was hilarious as he was always warning his wife about speeding. Later, his wife told him that the trooper was very polite about it all including the moment when he said, "I'm supposed to handcuff you both at this point, but I can see that you are very distressed so I'll skip that procedure this time".
__________________
Retired in Jan, 2010 at 55, moved to England in May 2016
Now it's adventure before dementia
Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2011, 07:58 AM   #20
gone traveling
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 3,851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero View Post
She said her biggest worry is turning on the wipers to signal for a turn. I guess UK cars are set up differently.
Don't worry about it. Turn signals are optional for most folks in the US ...

Also stop signs are just suggestions to stop.

Yield signs mean proceed, and force any other traffic into another lane.

Oh yes; texting/talking on a cell phone while driving is part of the test for anybody under the age of 30.

Such silly rules we have; once the test is given/passed, all "training" is expected to be forgotten...
__________________

__________________
rescueme is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Revoking your parent's driver's license Walt34 Other topics 51 04-20-2012 11:37 AM
The driver who really gets the education during driver's ed Nords Other topics 17 10-06-2008 08:32 PM
10-months to get a license perinova Other topics 1 05-16-2007 04:39 PM
Did you keep your law license? setab Life after FIRE 13 02-16-2007 11:55 AM
License to steal? MRGALT2U Other topics 7 08-27-2003 05:09 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:59 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.