Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Connecticut Driver License - Licensing Requirements for Foreigners

In accordance with the Connecticut General Statute Sec. 14-36(b)(2) a person holding a valid out-of-state motor vehicle operator's license may operate a motor vehicle for a period of thirty days following such person's establishment of residence in Connecticut, if the motor vehicle is of the same class as that for which his or her out-of-state motor vehicle operator's license was issued.

Sec. 14-1(53) defines "nonresident" as any person whose legal residence is in a state other than Connecticut or in a foreign country.

Connecticut DMV website instructs that non U.S. citizens will be required to show proof of legal status in this country, including a valid passport and one form of identification from list of acceptable forms of identification . Photocopies of documents are not acceptable. Following are additional documents required for specific visa types:

Holders of a B1 or B2 Visitor's Visa are not eligible for a driver's license or identification card unless a valid USCIS Employment Authorization Card and verification of an application pending for Lawful Permanent Residence/Adjustment of Status is provided.

Foreign students with an F1 Visa status must show USCIS document I-20 and verification of current enrollment in a Connecticut school.

J1 Visa holders are required to show USCIS document DS2019.

H1B Visa holders are required to show a valid USCIS Employment Authorization Card and an employment verification letter from a Connecticut employer or an employer from a bordering state. The employment verification letter must be dated within the past 30 days.

All applicants will be verified through USCIS for legal status before a driver's license/identification card will be issued. In some cases responses from USCIS may take an extended period of time and applicants will be asked to return the next business day to complete the licensing process. Responses are usually not received on Thursday evenings or Saturdays.

Visitors from another country are permitted to use their valid out-of-country license here in Connecticut for a period of one year with an International Driver Permit obtained from their home country.

Full time students, on a student visa, maintaining an out-of-country residency do not have to obtain a Connecticut license as long as full-time student status is in effect and are permitted to use their valid out-of-country license here in Connecticut with an International Driver Permit obtained from your home country.

At the same time Sec. 14-39(a) of the Connecticut General Status provides that any nonresident sixteen years of age or older who is licensed to operate a motor vehicle in the state or country of which he is a resident may, subject to the provisions of section 14-216, operate any registered motor vehicle on the highways of this state for the same period allowed by the state or country of his residence to residents of this state without complying with the provisions of this chapter requiring the licensing of operators; provided (1) no nonresident shall operate a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver's license or a motor vehicle belonging to a class other than that for which his license or commercial driver's license was issued in the other state or country, and (2) no person, including a nonresident, shall operate a motor vehicle with a load greater than the capacity designated in section 14-267a.

Sec. 14-40 is not of any help because it deals with the foreign vehicle itself rather than operator's driver's license. It states that any motor vehicle or trailer owned or operated by a resident of a foreign country, which country adheres to the articles of the "International Convention" held in Paris, April 24, 1926, or amendments thereto, relative to the operation of motor vehicles, may be operated on the highways of this state without registration, provided such nonresident operator is the holder of an international operator's license and provided such motor vehicle is legally registered in the country of his residence and also bears an international registration.

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