I am an expat US national in Sweden and am trying to find out if I can drive a car/rent a car legally when I come back to visit in Ohio without using an Ohio or other US state driving license. My Ohio license is about to expire and I cannot renew it since I do not have a permanent Ohio address. I do have a legal Swedish driving license and understand I can also get an international one based upon this. Somewhere long ago I came across that this generally was a 'catch 22' type of situation – US citizens must drive on valid US licenses when in the US AND US citizens not permanently residing in a given state cannot get a drivers license. Not sure this is actually the law, hence hoping for some up-to-date info on this from the experienced here. So (a) can I as a US citizen drive legally in the US (Ohio) on my Swedish driving license? (b) Can I use, do I need or is it better to use an international driving license instead? Sweden is listed as a signatory to the 1949 Multilateral Road Traffic Convention. And I cannot find an answer to my specific question on the Ohio BMV site. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
The Ohio motor vehicle law says:
Motorists who are residents of other nations and who are bona fide tourists visiting the United States may drive up to one year with their own national license plates (registration tags) on their vehicle and with their own driver license. (United States motorists may drive in foreign countries under the same conditions.)
It goes on to say:
Every visiting motorist from a ratifying country should also carry an International Driving Permit, but this is not obligatory. This permit, printed in the official languages of the United Nations, is helpful when local police speak only one language and may be essential in case of emergency. Even with an International Driving Permit, visiting motorists must have a valid license issued in their country of residence.
As a side note, I also could not find this info on the Ohio BMV but I got an answer from their online chat service in under a minute. I was pretty impressed.