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Driving for immigrants

While most rules of the road are the same worldwide, it's important to brush up on local laws before driving in a new country or buying a car. Perhaps the most important issue is to drive on the correct side of the road. In India, we drive on the left but this habit is shared by a minority of countries, mostly in south east Asia and southern Africa, but also the UK.

At MoreVisas, we are an expert visa consultancy and assist immigration to countries all over the world. In our experience, the key issues to research are:

Whether you need to get a local license
Requirements for the car, insurance and car taxes
Penalties for breaking traffic regulations

Every country has an office of motor vehicles, where you will be able to make enquiries about your individual situation.
Driving for immigrants

Is my license valid?

In almost every country, tourists are allowed to drive on their foreign license. In most countries, you can drive on a foreign license, no matter where it was issued, for up to 12 months. If you plan to stay longer than this, you will usually need to get your license converted.

This may mean taking the local driving test, as though you were a new driver, or it may simply mean sending your license off to be exchanged for a local one. For example, if you have a UK visa, you can drive on your existing license for 12 months, then you will need to take the UK driving theory and practical tests.

Insurance and car taxes

Most countries require that any car you drive must be in good enough condition to be safe on the road. In many countries, particularly in Europe and north America, you must also have insurance in order to be legally able to drive. However, the requirements and costs do vary so be sure to shop around. For example, if you have an American visa, you should check the rules of the state you'll be living or working in, as regulations vary widely.

It's also common for the government to levy a tax on all road vehicles. This is usually a relatively low charge, the cost of 1-4 tanks of petrol, and payment is typically proved by a small sticker you place on your car window. Some countries, also charge for use of motorways, for entering busy city areas or to park in certain places. For example, if you're living and working in Switzerland, you'll probably need a motorway license, which costs less than a tank of petrol, and allows you to use all the motorways in the country for an entire year.

Getting your car checked over

It's a good idea to make sure your car is safe to drive by having it examined by a professional mechanic and regular intervals. Many countries make this regular check a condition of driving, and you will often find that your car cannot be taxed or get insurance if it does not pass. There are many names for these checks, and the requirements and costs do vary widely. 

Penalties for breaking the law

Make sure you check what will happen if you accidentally break a law. In most countries, fines are fixed but they can be very expensive, particularly if you repeat an offence, and if you break too many rules you will usually lose your license or go to jail. In a few countries, the penalty is a proportion of income, so if you're living and working in Finland, drive extra carefully!

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Disclaimer - MoreVisas immigration service Pvt.Ltd. does not offer consulting on student visas/ Overseas jobs/work permits/international or domestic placements.
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