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I live in New Jersey, I have a Green Card, a French passport, and an expired UK driver license. (I lived there for many years.) I was initially told by the local DMV that all I needed to get a NJ license was to pass the knowledge test. I just did today, and another employee told me that because my UK license has expired I am not allowed to drive without another adult present for the next 3 months AND I need to take the road test. I live in the suburbs with kids, just got a job I need to drive to, and this would really wreck my life. Every employee gives me a different answer. So -- is there ANY WAY I can get a basic US license without all the supervised driving and road test ringmarole? Could I renew my UK license without a UK passport, and if so would it solve the problem? Loads of thanks.

  • Although inconvenient, lack of a full driver's license for three months will not wreck your life. For different reasons, I didn't have a car for the first few months I lived in California. I walked a lot. I used public transportation - which was not quite at the standards I was used to living in central London. I made carpool arrangements with a colleague who lived nearby to get to and from work. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 31 '16 at 7:48
  • @PatriciaShanahan where did you live in California? I know several people who've lived in San Francisco and LA in parts of town where they could walk to supermarkets. I also know a few people who live in New Jersey where the nearest place to buy food is probably 5 miles away -- well more than an hour's walk. How many children did you have when you lived in California? How old were they? – phoog Aug 31 '16 at 13:44
  • @phoog I lived in Escondido, and worked in Rancho Bernardo. No, I didn't have children, but if I had, I would have been working with parents of other children going to the same schools. The OP specified suburban, not rural. I know it will be a lot more convenient if the OP gets an actual answer, but failing to get one should not be considered the end of the world, but a challenge to be overcome. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 31 '16 at 13:49
  • And without a UK passport, residence, addresses where you've lived in the last three years and national insurance number, you would not be able to renew an expired UK license, according to gov.uk/renew-driving-licence. I'm with @Patricia Shanahan: arrange carpools to both job and schools, very common, particularly in the suburbs. – Giorgio Aug 31 '16 at 14:06
  • I feel sorry for the OP, but moving to a place where you needed to drive without a valid driver's license from somewhere may have been short sighted. Could you swap the expired UK license for a valid French license? – Dennis Sep 2 '16 at 22:49
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It seems unlikely you will be able to avoid the supervised driving and road test, so the objective should be to prevent that from wrecking your life. Here are some potential solutions to sub-problems. I am sure you will be able to think of others that fit your specific situation:

  • Carpool to work. You need to find at least one colleague living reasonably near you who is willing to help out. Assuming the colleague is a licensed driver, it can operate as a normal carpool, except that, when it is your turn to drive, the carpool has to leave from, and return to, your house.
  • Delivery services. Depending on your area, you may be able to get groceries delivered. Amazon has an amazing range of non-perishable stuff that can just appear on your doorstep with no driving required.
  • Joint shopping trips. Go shopping with a friend or neighbor.
  • School carpool. If at least one child can neither walk nor use school buses, you will need to work with parents of other children at the same school.
  • Special cases and emergencies - there is always Uber.

One key to getting the help you will need from friends and neighbors is to be willing to help others. Be the driver for any group social outings that include at least one adult licensed driver. Offer rides to any adult licensed driver in your social circle who is temporarily disabled. You don't necessarily have to repay directly the people who are helping you, if you are seen to be helping others as much as you can.

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