Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can I drive in Nevada and California with my old-style driving licence?


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The Independent Travel

Q. Can I drive in Nevada and California with just my old-style driving licence?

M K Belcher

A. Yes. Thankfully, the rules for British visitors motoring anywhere in the US are now entirely uniform, regardless of the state in which you are driving.

Until this month, the state of Florida was out of step by insisting that foreign motorists carry an International Driving Permit, but that controversial law has now been repealed. So in Nevada, California and across the US, all you need is your normal national licence. That could be the old-style licence, without a picture - though if you are in the back of beyond, you may face a challenge convincing the man or woman behind the car-rental desk that British licences really do look like that.

Most of us carry the credit-card-sized picture licence. In theory it is valid only with the green slip of paper called the "counterpart" that contains details of any endorsements, etc. I have only ever been asked for the counterpart in the UK, never in the US or anywhere else abroad - but I carry it anyway.

Finally, wherever you are driving in the US, beware of the many pitfalls for holidaymakers renting cars - of which I have experienced a few:

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