I am visiting from another country. Do I need to obtain a California driver’s license?

If you are a visitor in California and have a valid driver license from your home state or country, you may drive in this state without getting a California driver license as long as your home state/ country license remains valid. The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license. California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident. If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, renting a home in California, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents. On a similar note, the IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person’s foreign driver license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California and as mentioned is not a permit to drive. IDP’s are advisable to obtain if issued by the resident country. It is also recommended to carry another form of ID like a passport. Additionally a non-resident under the age of 18 with a valid license from a foreign jurisdiction can only drive in California for 10 days. After 10 days, a non-resident minor must obtain a non-resident minor’s certificate issued by DMV. Proof of financial responsibility is a prerequisite to obtain a non-resident minor certificate. A non-resident minor in the military has 60 days to drive before having to obtain a non-resident minor certificate or full California driver license.