Driving Overseas

“Kathleen, you published 24 questions to ask before retiring overseas the other day. I have another one. If you are not planning to drive in your new home overseas, but you want to keep your U.S. driver’s license, can you do that? I mean, if you are no longer a resident of any state, can you keep a U.S. license?”

— Barbara B., United States

Lief Simon responds:

I generally recommend keeping your U.S. license if you can work it out. The technicalities vary state by state, but, if you can maintain a mailing address through friends or family, you should be able to keep a U.S. driver’s license.

Some legal eagle will write in to point out all the potential issues associated with doing this. However, practically speaking, you need a driver’s license living overseas, even if you don’t own a car–to rent a car, for example. And if you ever intend to own a car in the future, it’s easier to keep a U.S. license current rather than going through the testing process to get a new one down the road.