In some places it’s almost impossible to live comfortably without being able to drive. That’s why many travelers apply for a driver’s license immediately upon moving to another country. Very often that involves getting a driver’s license translation.
Why Translate a Driver’s License?
Usually people get a translation if local laws say that already having a foreign driver’s license puts you on the fast track to getting a local driver’s license. So for example, an expat from France living in the United States may translate her French driver’s license to English to get her U.S. driver’s license faster.
A driver’s license is a legal document, which means there are special requirements for getting it translated. Usually, you can’t translate it yourself, and you can’t ask your friend or family member to do it. You need to follow the requirements of the government office that is requesting your license translation.
IVANNOVATION translates many driver’s licenses from around the world. Although we cannot pretend to give legal advice for getting a license in any of the thousands of jurisdictions around the world, we can point you in the right direction.
What are the Driver’s License Translation Requirements?
Unfortunately, different offices have different requirements to translate a foreign driver’s license, so how can you know that your driver’s license translation will be accepted?
Before getting it translated, carefully read the official website of the department you have to deal with.
If you are getting a U.S. driver’s license, you need to go to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) website of the state in which you are residing, and find a list of documents required.
Some states’ websites may be unclear about the requirements. The Georgia Department of Driver Services, for example, says rather unhelpfully, “All documents must be in English.”
But the United States of America is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic, which says:
2. Contracting Parties shall recognize:
(a) Any domestic permit drawn up in their national language or in one of their national languages, or, if not drawn up in such a language, accompanied by a certified translation;
“Certified translation” means that the translation is accompanied by a signed certification letter provided by a translation company swearing that the translation was performed by a qualified translator and is a true and accurate translation.
Some states may state their requirements a little more clearly. The South Carolina DMV website for example says, “If your birth certificate or license must be translated, use the Translation Document (SCDMV Form DL-4030).”
The DL-4030 (South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Translation Document) requires the translator to fill out the bottom of the form with his or her language competency, translation accreditation, and translation agency affiliation. It also requires the translation to be accompanied by a signed certification letter on the translation agency’s letterhead.
Moving to the USA?
- Read some tips from professional international relocation experts here.
- Learn how to get USCIS translation of birth certificates and other documents here.
But again, there are 50 states in the USA and hundreds of countries around the world. Make sure you do your homework first and find out the requirements for your DMV driver’s license translation.
What if you travel frequently and need to drive in several different countries? Rather than applying for a driver’s license everywhere you go, it may make sense for you to get an International Driving Permit (IDP), which is valid in around 140 countries.
How Much Does it Cost to Translate a Driver’s License?
In the translation market, different languages have different translation rates. Further, every country’s driver’s license is different, and a single country’s driver’s license wording and format may vary from year to year.
That means that the cost of translating a driver’s license can vary depending on several factors.
In order to get a quote for the cost of translating your driver’s license, snap a picture of the front and back of your driver’s license and upload the pictures to our quotes page.
After we look at your driver’s license, we can provide you with a free quote. Then with your approval we can start translating right away and email you the final translation. We can also mail a physical document to you accompanied by a signed certification letter.
Getting a driver’s license is essential for travelers. Some of us at IVANNOVATION are immigrants, and all of us have lived abroad. We understand the challenges of living in another country. That’s why we are eager to make the transition smoother for our customers who find themselves away from home.
If you need a driver’s license translation, please contact us here, and we’ll respond promptly with a quote and turnaround time.