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I am new immigrant to USA - Texas. I have valid UAE driving License, is it possible to exchange it with US DL ? otherwise will UAE driving License help me in getting US one?

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Summary:

In the long run, having a valid UAE drivers license won't matter; you must apply anew for a Texas drivers license.

You may, however, drive using your valid UAE license (and an International Driver's Permit, a translation of the UAE license if the license is printed in non-English characters) for 90 days after coming to Texas (see "1968 Convention" on the previously-cited page). At that point, you'll be a Texas resident and need to acquire a Texas license.

In Detail:

In the US, drivers licenses are issued by the individual states. The governmental office in Texas that handles this function is the Department of Public Safety.

Texas law has some reciprocity provisions, but they apply only to member states of NATO (member states listed here) and the 1943 Inter-American Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automobile Traffic (member states listed here). Additionally, Texas has country-specific drivers license reciprocity agreements with France, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan.

The UAE is not a member of either international organization, nor does the UAE appear on the list of countries with Texas drivers license reciprocity. Your situation, therefore, is that of a new Texas resident with no drivers license, who must apply from the beginning.

For new residents over the age of 18, this DPS page contains these provisions pertinent to new applicants:

Applicants who have a valid, unexpired driver license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, or from Canada must surrender their out of state/country driver license and are not required to take the knowledge or skills exams. Texas also has license issuance reciprocity with France, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan only. Applicants who have a valid, unexpired driver license from one of these countries are not required to take the knowledge or skills exams if they surrender their out of country driver license. However, if the applicant does not wish to surrender their out of country driver license, they must take and pass all required exams. The reciprocity only applies to passenger vehicles, not commercial vehicles or motorcycles. Foreign licenses not in English or Spanish will need to have a translation service or their consulate translate the information on the driver license prior to arriving. This translation requirement also applies for marriage licenses.

Applicants who have a valid, unexpired learner license from another U.S. state or U.S. territory, or Canada, France, South Korea, Germany or Taiwan and are applying for a Texas learner license, do not have to take the knowledge exam. Upon advancing from a learner license to a driver license, individuals must complete the Impact Texas Driver course, pass the skills exam. Individuals under 25 years of age must also complete driver education.

Applicants who have a driver license from any country other than the U.S., Canada, France, South Korea, Germany or Taiwan must take and pass both the knowledge and skills exams.

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Over 18 moving to Texas will require proof of: - Identity (a valid out of state license can be used as a supporting document) - Residency - Citizenship or lawful presence - Social security number - Evidence of Texas Vehicle Registration for each vehicle you own. Registration must be current. Visit Texas DMV vehicle registration for more information. (New Residents who are surrendering an out-of-state driver license only) Proof of Insurance for each vehicle you own. If you do not own a vehicle, you will sign a statement affirming this.

Skills and knowledge exams are waived for applicants 18 and older that hold a valid out of state driver license, as are the ITD and adult driver education requirements.

  • There is one way in which the UAE license helps, however: it allows the bearer to drive in Texas for 90 days after moving there. The Texas page you link to and the driving privilege reciprocity page both overlook the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. The US and the UAE have both ratified this, so someone with a UAE license can drive with that license in the US. An IDP is probably a good idea. – phoog Jul 18 at 20:04
  • @phoog You're quite correct. And I agree that an IDP may well be necessary; I don't know if UAE licenses are printed in Arabic (the official language) or English (the lingua franca according the Wikipedia). I've amended the Answer. – David Jul 18 at 21:36
  • UAE driving License printed in both Arabic and English Languages. accordingly and based on the best of my understanding for your answer and comments it seems that I can drive in Texas for 90 days using my UAE DL from the day in which I have admitted to USA as permanent resident. is this right ? no need to take further action? – Sam Jul 19 at 4:31
  • I believe that's correct. Out of an abundance of caution, however, I'd get an IDP just in case a random law enforcement person is unfamiliar with multi-language licenses and/or the Geneva Convention. The 90 days would begin when you come to Texas, which may be a date after the date you enter the USA. – David Jul 19 at 14:21

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