International permit now needed to drive in Florida

A new Florida law prohibits non-United States residents from driving in the state unless they have obtained an international driving permit from their home country, in addition to their non-US driver’s licences. 

Florida legislators approved the law last year, and it took effect 1 January. The law has sparked an outcry in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom, whose residents visit the Sunshine State in large numbers. 

Cayman Islands residents who have Cayman driver’s licences can obtain international driving permits from the Cayman Islands Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing. Requirements are a full Cayman driver’s licence, two full-face passport-sized photos and a $60 fee. The permit is valid for one year. 

Before the Florida law took effect, non-US residents age 16 and older were generally able to drive non-commercial vehicles in the state as long as they had driver’s licence from their home countries. According to a legislative analysis of the bill, “The person must be in immediate possession of either of the following: a valid non-commercial driver‘s license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the United States; or an IDP issued in his or her name in his or her country of residence and a valid license issued in that country”. 

American visitors to Cayman already have to apply for visitor driving permits in order to operate cars here. A visitors permit is $16 and is good for the duration of their stay in the islands, depending on how much time is authorised by the Department of Immigration.  

In addition to the fee, requirements are a US driver’s licence and passport. Cayman’s rental car agencies will typically make arrangements to obtain visitor permits for their customers. 

In the US, AAA issues international driving permits for US drivers to drive in other countries. The fee is US$15. 

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