Ohio Driving Guide for Tourists

Tourists are allowed to drive their own vehicle in Ohio as long as they abide by the laws and regulations made for foreign nationals visiting the US. These are mostly limited to a period of 12 months after which you’ll need to obtain the proper local documents.

In order to drive as a tourist in Ohio, you’ll need to have both the proper international documents and the ones that are issued by your own country. The documents are only valid if shown together and if none of them has expired.

An International Driver Permit

To legally drive in Ohio, you’ll need to have an international driver license USA authority will recognize. It’s issued by the same authority that has issued your national license and it’s only accepted if you have both at the same time.  Both need to be valid and if one expires the other won’t be recognized.

An international permit is valid for 12 months while the national one usually lasts longer than that. After a year you’ll need to obtain a permit in the US and that one will be valid both in Ohio and throughout the country.

Car Registration

A car needs to be registered in your own country in order for you to be able to drive it in Ohio and you need to have documents proving that fact. Those documents need to be translated. You’ll also need to have a plate visible at all times so that your vehicle can be recognized as a foreign one.

A foreign national should also have a passport with them at all times as proof of identity since registration documents, and driving permits are only valid when you can prove your identity in the first place.

What to Do After a Year

If you’ve been in Ohio for more than a year, you’ll need to obtain a local driving permit instead of an international one. To do so you’ll need a US visa, a passport, an I94 card, and an I-20, or a DS-2019. You’ll also need to show proof that you’re residing in Ohio.

After you’ve provided all these documents you’ll need to pass a driving test and be examined by a doctor. This includes an eye exam. The procedure is a bit more complicated for foreign nationals but those who have driven before shouldn’t have a problem with it.

Be Careful on the Road

Driving in a foreign country is always a bit more challenging than it would be at home. That’s perfectly understandable and you should prepare for the additional stress and care that’s needed to drive on an unfamiliar road for a while.

The best thing to do is to observe all the rules and to always be a little bit below the speed limit. Be extra careful and you won’t have to worry about traffic laws or an accident ruining your trip to Ohio. The state has a lot to offer and having a vehicle of your own is the best way to explore it.


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