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Old 03-01-2011, 02:34 AM
 
9 posts, read 37,698 times
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Hi,

I'm coming to WA on an H-1B from Australia to work for the "usual" large Redmond software company and was wondering a few things about driving here.

- If I have a full driver's license from Aus, how long can I drive with it in WA?
- Will I need to undergo a driving test or similar to obtain a WA state license after that period?

thanks
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:56 AM
 
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Ran into this same issue when I came to America. You can use a foreign license for 1 year. No tests for that time frame, full tests afterwards (there's one country in Europe that if you have their license, you only have to pass an eye/color recognition test, but I can't remember which one. It's either Germany or Austria or some country in that general area).

Just make sure you drive on the other side of the road...
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:09 AM
 
9 posts, read 37,698 times
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Quote:
Just make sure you drive on the other side of the road...
Hah! Indeed, thanks.

One year sounds good. I read the WA licensing site and it confirms the one year thing, but also says that you have 30 days to get a license after becoming a WA resident... so I'm not sure if/when that will apply to me and shorten my 1 year allowance (since I'm planning on staying for quite a while).
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Old 03-01-2011, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Berlin, Germany
507 posts, read 1,567,752 times
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I have just moved here from the UK but I have a German driver's license. German licenses and licenses from British Columbia in Canada are the only ones that can simply be converted into a Washington State one. You go to the DoL, stand in the queue for a while and eventually you'll get your picture taken and a license handed...ah, and it's $40 as well.

With any other license you have to take the driving test. The theory test you do at the DoL as well (only possible at certain sites) and then get a temporary license. You can then schedule a practical test.

I was told by my 'relocation consultant' I had 30 days to swap my license. I don't think you'd ever get in trouble if you use your Aussie license to drive a hire car, but they probably want to see a Washington License if you register a car. When I joined zipcar I also had to produce a German driving record as I had not had my US license for a year yet.

Btw: If you work for Microsoft you'll probably have somebody to help you with these things. The consultant I had been assigned by my employers also worked with people from Microsoft...so it's much less of a hassle...
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:02 AM
 
3,117 posts, read 4,218,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorp007 View Post
Hah! Indeed, thanks.

One year sounds good. I read the WA licensing site and it confirms the one year thing, but also says that you have 30 days to get a license after becoming a WA resident... so I'm not sure if/when that will apply to me and shorten my 1 year allowance (since I'm planning on staying for quite a while).
Talk to an accountant. As long as you aren't a "resident" of Washington state, you are entitled to certain tax benefits in your first year (such as being able to write off your meals, rent, etc.) that no longer becomes available to you once you become a resident. It might be in your best interests from a tax perspective to put off becoming a resident as long as possible.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:47 PM
 
9 posts, read 37,698 times
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Thanks for the info folks! I'll find out more once I fly over there I s'pose

Sounds like a good idea delaying my residency declaration then. I wasn't sure it was something I control.
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