I have been living in the UK on a long-term basis (married to a Brit) but regularly return to Connecticut to visit family, etc. My license is up for renewal next month--I was told I could do this online or my mail but everything I've googled suggests I need to do it in person at the DMV/AAA location. A) Is this the case and B) I've seen elsewhere on this site that this may not be legal?? I still have an address in the States (the house I grew up in, stay in while visiting, and will inherit when my parents pass) and get bank statements for my US accounts sent to it. I NEED to be able to drive in the US since everything is so far apart and public transport non-existent where I'm from. Using a British license is not an option since I don't have one. I've always used public transport or walking since I arrived here, so have never needed a car or license. What are my options here?

  • Sorry, I've since discovered that I can in fact renew by mail, but the 2nd question still bothers me.
    – Bethany
    Feb 23, 2019 at 19:46
  • You could edit your question to take out the part you've already figured out, or to post (inside the question) an update with the new information you found. (I agree that it can be done remotely.) // You could phone a DMV office and ask. I doubt it's illegal, but if you're concerned, you could ask in general terms, without giving your name. I don't think they would ask you for it. // I suppose one option would be to get a UK license; however, renewing the NY license sounds viable. Feb 24, 2019 at 7:52
  • Related: expatriates.stackexchange.com/q/15829/11369 Feb 24, 2019 at 7:57
  • In principle you're supposed to get a UK license because that is where you actually reside. But since you maintain an address in Connecticut you might be able to maintain your license there, too. Be careful to consider whether this has implications for your income tax liability in Connecticut.
    – phoog
    Feb 24, 2019 at 17:57
  • 1
    I think your best option is to go through the hassle and expense of getting a full UK license. Once done, that license is valid for driving for any of your visits to Connecticut for up to 90 days. I know this doesn't answer your question and may seem daunting (been there myself), but once done, everything becomes much much simpler. If local ID is an issue, you should consider applying for a Connecticut State ID dmv.com/ct/connecticut/apply-id-card, which from your description, and the vagueness of the rules of state residency, shouldn't be too much trouble for you to acquire.
    – ouflak
    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


If I understand your problem correctly it is to retain a valid license apon return to your home country and not to actually drive while in the UK.

As a general rule a driver's license is residence based.

When you move, often longer than 6 months (UK 12 months), you must convert your existing license to a local license if you want to drive there

  • the converted license will contain the information about your original license

It would seem that US licenses cannot be converted and that a theory and practical tests are needed.

When returning from the UK, with a valid UK license, as a visitor to the US you can use that license and convert it back to the original license should you one day return permanently to the US.


I can't find a definition for "residence" or "resident" in Connecticut law that applies to driver licensing. I found a definition for purposes of Connecticut income tax:

You are a resident for the taxable year if:

  • Connecticut was your domicile (permanent legal residence) for the entire taxable year; or
  • You maintained a permanent place of abode in Connecticut during the entire taxable year and spent a total of more than 183 days in Connecticut during the taxable year.

So if you claim to be a resident for driving purposes, you might have a hard time claiming you are not a resident for income tax purposes. Maybe a CPA could offer suggestions.

  • It is also insurance fraud to claim you are a resident if you are in fact not a resident.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 25, 2019 at 15:24
  • Thanks--would you mind clarifying this? As far as I know, I don't have any insurance policies in the States.
    – Bethany
    Feb 25, 2019 at 21:05
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    @Bethany What about your driving insurance? Mar 27, 2019 at 16:46
  • @Martin Bonner, in the US the auto insurance is usually arranged by the vehicle owner, not the driver. There are some exceptions, but usually the insurance obtained by the vehicle owner covers any driver the owner lends the vehicle to. So someone spending most of his/her time abroad is probably borrowing a vehicle while in the US. (Or using public transport, and just wanting to keep the license to avoid the need to take the road test over again upon permanent return to the US.) Mar 27, 2019 at 18:51
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    The challenge with insurance, however, is that while permissive users are covered, they're only covered if they're properly licensed to drive. If you have a CT license which you obtained by asserting that you live in CT, it's possible that an insurance claim would be denied if the insurance company discovered you're actually resident in the UK, and therefore obtained the CT license by misrepresentation. Mar 28, 2019 at 0:59

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