I'm a US citizen living full time in France and have already exchanged my US driver's license for a French / EU one. As part of the process I had to turn in my US driver's license, which I guess they destroyed.

Now I'm back in the US, visiting (I maintain a US address at a relative's house) and actually have mail that my US license is up for renewal. In practice, I don't think there's anything stopping me from going to the DMV and getting a new one.

But I wonder if it's actually legal for me to have two licenses from two different countries simultaneously. In France I'm guessing it might not be, since they required me to forfeit my old license. And in the US I'm not sure. Having trouble finding the legal specifics of that.

  • 2
    I know a few people who have done this. Even if it's illegal in France (or anywhere else), they are unlikely to find out unless you tell them. But there's also not much benefit to maintaining a license in a jurisdiction where you no longer reside.
    – phoog
    Sep 27, 2017 at 22:01
  • Well I'm back visiting and there has been at least one business that wouldn't accept my French driver's license. And I don't know if there's like an equivalent of an IDP for use with European licenses?
    – Iguananaut
    Sep 28, 2017 at 15:10
  • What sort of business, or for what purpose did they refuse to accept your French license? You should always be able to use your passport for ID. The IDP is indeed international, so you can get an IDP to accompany your US license. Again I'm not sure why you'd want to, however, if you have one for your French license.
    – phoog
    Sep 28, 2017 at 15:18
  • In this case it was to rent a car from a car dealership. They're only set up to take US licenses.
    – Iguananaut
    Sep 28, 2017 at 17:59
  • If you have had a state license from that address before, you should be able to renew without your old license. I did this last year (for PA). I haven't swapped my PA license for a French one yet, but I didn't have to have any license at all to 'renew' because I had one a decade prior. Nov 13, 2017 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


California, at a minimum, does not (or at least did not in the 1990s) require surrender of foreign licenses, although they did for other USA licenses. My foreign classmates generally held two. There are many residence situations in which holding multiple licenses might be required.

Having said that, I'd guess you were dealing with a small rental agency, as the major ones are well equipped to handle zillions of non-USA visitors.

  • California still doesn't take foreign licenses, nor does it waive any tests for foreign license holders. I got a California license a year ago and still have my prior license.
    – Dennis
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:47

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