Do you require your Au Pair to get a U.S. driver’s licence?

by cv harquail on March 2, 2010

If your au pair had a valid license from his or her own country when s/he arrived, did you require him or her to get a US driver’s license before driving your cars?

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States laws, insurance policies and host parent preferences vary a LOT on this particular topic. Sometimes there isn’t even a clear answer about what is actually “required”. For example, in our town the police officers get upset if you don’t have a US license and have even ticketed a au pair or two, even though state lae says that using an international driver’s license is legal. What to do?

Says Host Mom JJ:

  • Our LCC says that au pairs must get a US driver’s license before driving.
  • However it seems like most other host families I know of do not do that, and I’m wondering if I’m being unnecessarily strict.

  • Our insurance has a short grace period but then requires getting a US driver’s license.
  • Our state law (California) says that residents must obtain a license after 10 days, but that visitors can drive indefinitely using their home license. It doesn’t, however, define “resident” or “visitor.”

Personally I feel more comfortable knowing that the au pair has taken the time to learn local laws and driving customs before she drives our cars. (We don’t strictly need our au pair to drive, although it would be very nice for her and for us if she did.) So far I’ve been conservative and maintained that if she wants to drive, she’ll need to get a local license.

What do other parents do?

What kind of licence do you ask your au pair to get?

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Other thoughts? Please share them in the comments!

{ 41 comments }

maleaupairmommy March 2, 2010 at 3:43 am

I want them to get a license an U.S. as rules are different in every state let alone every country. I feel my judgement is vaildate when they are able to pass. Note my new au pair just passed the written with 91% the first time he is the first to do this think he would have got 100% but it shuts off when they know you will pass. Can’t wait til he can drive my life will be easier

Natt March 2, 2010 at 5:47 am

I live in Australia, and am happy to have our aupairs drive with an International Drivers Licence. For our first aupair, I paid for a driving ‘lesson’ with a local driving school, using our car, to see if she needed any fine tuning. The instructor felt confident in her ability, so we didnt’ need any more lessons. I have myself taken another of our aupairs on a ‘lesson’ and felt confident for her to drive here. This aupair had many more years of driving experience than the first one, so this is why I felt comfortable taking her myself.
I will pay for more lessons for future aupairs, but wouldn’t expect them to get an Australian licence, as it is a lengthy process, and they wouldn’t obtain it in the time they are here.

momto2 March 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

We absolutely make our au pairs get a state DL before we put our children in a car with them. One of our au pairs boasted (after arriving), that she only had to pay 50 buck for her Int’l DL, so clearly she didn’t have to prove driving skills in her country to receive it. It was a worthless piece of paper in our eyes. They couldn’t just pay their way through a state DL test–they actually had to pass a written and a road test. Our insurance also does not cover them on our policy w/o a valid US DL. We have been able to get most of our au pairs through the DL process in about the first 30 days after arrival.

Ann AP March 2, 2010 at 7:55 am

You really do not need to do any tests for the international driver’s licence. At least, here in Germany it is like that and in several (all?) other EU states. In Germany you only pay 14 Euros for it (~19$).
But that does not mean that you aupair does not have any driving scills at all – you have to show you general driver’s licence (for me it was the EU driver’s licence). And of course, no one gets this one without learning and different tests.
And to be honest – the driving lessons in the US aren’t very difficult compared to those in Germany. We often have to pay 1.500 € (~2.000$) or more to get it, take loooots of lessons. Getting the CA driver’s licence seemed very easy to me.

Ann AP March 2, 2010 at 7:58 am

Maybe in general:
the international driver’s licence is only a drivers licence that is accepted in any country. – this is the reason why lots of aupairs need to get it: because they have to drive in another country.

Darthastewart March 2, 2010 at 9:09 am

In NC, the International driver’s license is NOT recognized. The State DOES recognize driver’s licenses from some other countries such as Germany. The international Driver’s license is basically a piece of paper saying they have permission to drive in other countries, and is based off of the home country’s license.

You should always check your AP’s driving before allowing them to drive your cars.

NoCAMom March 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Same in CA. They won’t accept the Int’l DL, but they will accept a valid DL from the home country.

That has given us a good buffer of time while we wait for our au pair’s new SSN to arrive, but our expectation after that is that she will obtain a US driver’s license – if nothing else, it ensures that she understands the laws of the road and basic driving techniques we expect here of our fellow drivers.

maleaupairmommy March 3, 2010 at 1:22 am

In WA state the au pairs from Germany only have to show their international DL and don’t have to take the written or practial but they had to go through a lot to get and they drove very good the two I had.

Anonymous March 2, 2010 at 9:40 am

I agree that having them take the State test is validation. IMO, if they can’t pass the written and driving tests here in our state, they shouldn’t be driving my kids around. Maybe they could drive on their international license, but I see our State test as the test of whether you are allowed to drive my children around.

StephinBoston March 2, 2010 at 9:43 am

Here in MA, there’s a treaty with Germany and Switzerland, they can drive with those licenses like a MA drivers license. So far I’ve had 3 au pairs. First one was Brazilian who I made take the exam (failed 5 times, finally got it and totaled the car on her first drive alone). My German and Swiss APs have been great drivers and I have not required them to get a MA drivers license. My next au pair is Estonian and will have to take the test since her driver’s license will not be equivalent to a MA license. My insurance charges me a ton of money whether or not they have a state license or an international one :-)

Jane March 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Our state laws seem to keep changing on this one. For our first au pair, she could drive with her international and home country license the whole year and only needed a state license if she were to live her more than a year. The next year, it was required to get a state license after 60 days of being here, so my au pair did and without a problem–then the 60 day rule seemes to go away. Our insurance charges the same amount no matter what, and they don’t seem to have a hard and fast rule about it, but they encourage the state license. I ask my au pairs to get the state license, but it’s hard to make them. I try to sell the benefits–being able to travel with your license and not your passport; being able to get into clubs/drink if they are over 21. They are good drivers and go through a lot more in their home country to get a license, so I don’t think going through the process affects how they will drive here very much. We go over the rules and take them out for test drives ourselves before they get our car for the first time.

I don’t need them to drive as part of their job. Most of their friends do not get a license, so there are lots of complaints during the process as to whether or not it is necessary. I try to make it easy for them–walking them through all the requirements and paperwork and setting up their driving test appointment. I do not pay for it however as it is for their leisure driving. First au pair who got it had no problem paying–she had paid much more in her home country for a license. Second au pair was very put out about the cost, so I got her a gas card gift when she passed the test that was the same amount as the license fee to thank and congratulate her.

Mom23 March 2, 2010 at 10:12 am

I send our au pairs the link to study for the driving test before they arrive. My insurance is one that allows a 30 day grace period. After getting the social security card, there is only a short period in which to get the driver’s license in order to meet the 30 day requirement.

I also pay for the license and if she wants me to, I go with her to get it.

Hula Gal March 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

Our insurance does not require a state license and our state allows a person to drive on an international license for one year. But we still require our au pair to get a drivers license within 3 months of arriving. She needs to learn the laws of this country and show a commitment to driving safely with our child and our car. We had a German au pair who was very upset that we required her to get a license because of the rigorous process they go through in Germany. She ended up failing the exam the first two times because she did not study. But – bottom line – our car, our rules. If she doesn’t like it she doesn’t have to drive. And she pays for the license. We offer a car with all the maintenance and insurance (which we do put her on and does cost extra) so I think she can handle paying $25.

Anna March 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

We do require the au pair to get a state license, because the law in our state is that she can only drive with her international license for the first 60 days. That gives her the time to obtain her SSN card and her first bank statement (our DMV takes nothing less than that as a proof of address) to apply for the license.

Au Pair in CO March 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

When I got here, I had to wait two weeks to get my SSN, and then almost four more weeks before they actually sent in to me (2 weeks they say, right..). I couldn’t get my local license before I had my SSN, but if I hadn’t been able to drive before that, the host parents would have had to take time off from work to drive the kids to and from school and activities every day, I wouldn’t have been able to start my classes, and I’d have to stay at home all day with the youngest, which would not work when both parents work from home. Not an option for my host family, not an option for me..

CA Mom of Twins March 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm

We required our au pair to get an international driver’s license and sent her all the manuals and sample tests before she arrived, with the intention that she has to get her California driver’s license in a timely manner. We have a car for her and sat in the passenger seat the first week she was here and found her to be a terrible/nervous drive. Due to a lack of public transportation where we live, she has to drive. Once she was able to get her SSN (which took 3 weeks), she took and passed her written test and subsequently the road test. Even then, we are still not comfortable with her driving our kids. Maybe in a couple of months.

Should be working March 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm

A related question: Our au pair came out of transition, and hence she has a driver’s license from another state. I haven’t required her to get a new license for our state. Anyone see a problem with that? Insurance said it was fine, so I figured it is fine.

I would, however, require a new-to-U.S. au pair to get a U.S. driver’s license. I tried to do this with our first au pair (who also came out of transition after 8 months in our state) and she never got around to getting the license. New version of our au pair handbook will give 6 wks to deal with this.

Former French Au Pair March 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I always recommend to my families that they have their au pair take their State’s driver’s license as soon as possible. However, I agree with you that if they have another State’s DL and your au pair has been made aware of the differences with your State, she should be fine.

In South Carolina, it is required within 90 days, whether visitor (which usually is only 3 months anyway) or resident.
Several reasons:
– the au pair will be able to carry a proof of identification other than her passport and therefore decrease chances of loosing her passport
– validation of his/her abilities to drive in your State (concurring with previous comments)
– the State driver’s license is sometimes required by the host family’s insurance companies or at least prevents the possibility of the insurance charging more just because your au pair is a foreign driver
– local police does not always recognize/ understand the function of an international driver’s license and may question the legality of your au pair’s papers…
We do have agreements with Germany, France, etc. which makes the process easier and avoids the au pair having to take the test (although I must say it is a piece of cake for us ;-).

Example (to go along with comment on au pair “never getting around to getting the license”): one of my au pairs from Colombia waited until her 90 days were almost over to do the test, meanwhile driving with her international DL. She failed the test, had to do it again but in the meantime got into a car accident while off-duty.
Even though the police concluded she was not at fault, they questioned her legality in the USA as they were not familiar with the J-1 visa and intl’ DL… she ended up incarcerated at the police station until they could confirm with the INS (or C.I.S. now) that her papers were valid… for a whole night and day! They also had the FBI verify her finger prints, which was completely uncalled for.
There was certainly discrimination going on here that should not have taken place and was NOT the au pair’s fault, however, this could have been avoided with her following her LCC and HM’s recommendation to get the SC DL asap… You can never be too cautious.

Busy Mom March 2, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Your example about your Colombian au pair is the reason our LCC gave for getting a US driver’s license. The LCC said that AuPairCare requires NJ au pairs to get an NJ license! Our insurance said it was okay either way, but I’m more comfortable with a driver who knows the US driving laws so we require a state license. (In NJ, all au pairs have to take the written test and some have to take the road test.) However, we don’t prohibit driving without one as it’s not practical for us. I think that if an au pair refused or dragged her feet, I’d simply take away the privilege of leisure driving until she got it. It’s a “natural consequence,” like the ones we try to use with my kids…just looking at the shoes now…you toss your shoes in the closet, you get to straighten up everyone’s shoes tomorrow evening :-)

Ann from NE March 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Regarding the ID part, if you don’t require your APs to drive (which was our case), they can get a state photo ID from the same agency that issues driver’s licenses. Which is good enough for traveling around inside the U.S. In my state this is called a Liquor ID and is accepted as proof of identity, signature, and age. One needs a SS# to apply for them. Both our APs decided to get the state photo ID to get into bars and not have to carry around their passports.

Sara Duke March 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I encourage APs to get their driver’s license, mainly so they don’t have to schlepp their Passport everywhere. One AP traveled with us to Nevada and only brought her Swedish driver’s license as ID – she was pulled aside and almost missed her flight back (separate from ours, so we didn’t hear of it until we got home).

We require driving as part of working, because our daughter has a lot of doctor’s appointments. The AP has to be able to navigate surburban roads, highway and urban roads, so DH takes her on a series of road tests to assess driving ability.

Because it is so much harder to get a European driver’s license than an American one, the European APs have usually done fine driving (the map reading skills sometimes elude them). One Brazilian AP was a brilliant driver (but hopeless with a map), another admitted that she had purchased her Brazilian license the old fashioned way – by slipping money across the seat to the examiner (although she owned and had driven a car in Brazil for two years). Our current AP has struggled to maintain her driving skills, and basically doesn’t drive now (DH works from home two days a week and schedules DD’s appointments on those days). I don’t know what we will do when summer camp season comes, as she shows absolutely no interest in driving either.

In my opinion, having a driver’s license doesn’t make you a good driver, it does insure that your driving is minimally acceptable. Good driving comes through hours of practice. Having an American driving license is an excellent benchmark, but to me, it’s not as necessary as HD’s comfort.

In our state it can take months to get a driver’s license. Everyone has to take a 3-hour drug and alcohol class. Then the original driver’s license must be vetted (and sometimes translated) before booking the road test (which itself can take months to achieve). That being said, I know our agency requires APs to have their state license before they extend — if they want to be considered drivers, and all but one achieved that goal (and that AP went home at the end of her year). Because we require driving, we reimburse APs for their expenses, but we let them do all the scheduling.

OBMom March 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm

We insist the AP’s get a DL, but it can take forever … 2-3 weeks for SSN then up to 4 weeks for a written appointment and then another 2-4 weeks for the driving test. Our quite diligent AP came in October and wasn’t able to actually get her license until Dec! She needs to drive the kids so we let her drive with her Intnl one.

One point of interest is that my first insurance (21st century) specifically excluded our old AP until she got a CA license … we quickly changed to one that accepts an international licences (Geico).

CrazyLady March 2, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Our first 3 Au Pairs all got state licenses. Unless it has changed, VA recognizes the German driver’s license, so all our au pair had to do was go down with proof that she was living in VA (bank statement), money and her German license, and they gave her a VA one. In CA, I have no idea about whether or not they recognize the int’l license, but they do recognize a German license. Our first two au pairs we had after moving here took the test and got a CA license, but our current au pair has been here 8 months already, and she still doesn’t have one. I think we really both intended for her to get one, but time just got away from us. My insurance does not require it (she was even in an accident- not her fault; she was rear-ended- and it wasn’t an issue that she has a German license), and she’s a great driver. We are moving back to VA this summer, so I’m hoping they still have the same reciprocal deal, because it is definitely nice for them to have it, even if it’s just because it’s a more convenient ID to carry around (and I don’t know VA’s policy, but I wouldn’t want to violate it, either).

Chev March 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm

In WA you can drive on an international license for 12 months. My HF’s insurance covered me with the IL but all the other AP’s i know had to get their state license in order for them to be covered on their HF’s insurance. When i extended i had to get my state license so i could keep driving, didn’t need to make an appointment to take the written but then had to wait 6 weeks to get a Saturday driving test appointment which meant i had a week between when my international license expired and my test that i couldn’t drive in.

'sota gal March 3, 2010 at 12:01 am

Our state will allow drivers with an International or over seas license as will our insurance company. I have required all of our au pair to get a state license regardless of this.

While I go out MANY times with our AP’s to assess their driving abilities, it always seems as though the US has many more road signs than most countries (with the AP’s I have had thus far – 5). After we have assessed their driving, we will allow them to use the car for personal use but not to drive our children.

I feel most comfortable with our AP’s taking the written and behind the wheel test before they are allowed to have the privilege of taking what is most precious to me in a vehicle. I like the peace of mind of having an unbiased person assessing their driving skills as well as testing their knowledge of the road signs. No state DL, do play dates or story times but still the freedom to go out on your own. So far we have been accident free and ticket free. Let’s hope it keeps up as our new au pair is studying for her written test as I type.

Tour the Local Police Station March 3, 2010 at 11:08 am

We live in Michigan. I took our Ukrainian au pair to the local police station and showed them her International DL. I asked the officers “If you pulled her over, would this International DL be acceptable to you?” They had to think about it a while, pass it around to other officers, and finally said yes. So, I took a few of their business cards and asked if we could call them if we ever needed to.

In addition, I asked if they would give us a tour of the facilities (911 call center, holding cells, police gear, court rooms, patrol car, etc). They happily accepted and our au pair was amazed at how friendly the officers were. I told her that police officers should be considered “friends”, they are not scary, and they are here to help you. They even told her she could make an appointment to ride in the patrol care sometime, but she never did. The whole thing turned into a valuable lesson for both of us.

We still require our au pairs to get a state driver’s license. Our insurance requires it, I feel more comfortable, and it puts a formal tone to the privilege of driving.

Mom23 March 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm

This is a really good point. We live in an area where the au pair might cross into several different police jurisdictions. Our LCC told us that she recommends that all au pairs get a state driver’s license because it is recognized in all areas by all officers whereas the International DL might not be.

MommyMia March 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

What a great idea! We always think of taking preschoolers & young children to tour police & fire stations, but this a definitely a “cultural” learning moment that any AP could learn something from.

Taking a computer lunch March 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I have a slightly different problem at the moment. My AP appears absolutely disinterested in driving (to the point that she takes public transportation for 2 1/2 hours on Sunday to get where she wants to go, even though driving there would only take 30 minutes). DH, I and she invested time and money in driving lessons and helping her maintain skills at the start, because she was so good at caring for our daughter. She had gotten to the point where her driving was acceptable and she might have been able to pass the state test. Then the snow started falling in December and she stopped driving altogether.

I asked her, two weeks ago, to ask DH to go driving with her, to make sure her skills were acceptable. She hasn’t. I think part of the reason is that she doesn’t want to “burden” or “impose” on us, but she can’t see what an amazing burden it is to have to do all of the driving (DH now schedules DD’s doctor’s appointments on the days he’s working from home). I’m making this relationship work because she takes such excellent care of DD. She’s definitely not lazy, but in the 7 months she’s been with us, we’ve pushed her far out of her comfort zone, and I think she’s gone about as far as she can go.

I’ve decided not to extend, in part because it’s been 7 months of my pushing her to strive, and I’m done (actually I was already done, but DH has convinced me not to be). My LCC has advised me to stop talking about the driver’s license, since she won’t need it in the remaing 5 months with me. However, I need someone to get my son to and from summer camp (he and this AP are at an impasse, and if he spends his summer at home it won’t be productive).

Does anyone have suggestions for making this work?

Mom23 March 3, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Unless you have a friend/neighbor/relative who is willing to take your son to camp, it sounds like you might need to rematch. We were in this situation one year and it was sad. The au pair could not drive. We had paid for lessons and her driving had not improved. The kids could not spend all summer in the house and the only way to get to the pool and other activities was to drive.

The au pair ended up rematching with a family in Brooklyn and we matched with an extension au pair.

Could you say, “you need to be able to drive by April 15 or we will need to begin the rematch process.” This gives her 6 weeks and the snow should have melted by then. Maybe coming up with a schedule for getting to April 15 would help too. Sit down with a calendar and plan when she and your husband can practice driving.

Taking a computer lunch March 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm

We should have done it back in September, unfortunately. Rematch is not really an option for us. APs in-country who are special needs willing and can drive turns out to be tiny in the venn diagram of rematches. HD just said he would force the issue and require practice to see how many skills were lost in the past few weeks (this AP has a history of losing skills easily). He’d rather lose time than wait for a new AP to arrive now (it’s his crunch time at work and my workplace has lost so many people we never have down time anymore).

I’m a little prejudiced towards western European au pairs on the driving issue, and I must say this experience has only reinforced it. Teaching this AP has made it clear how much work we have ahead of us in 6 years when our son gets his permit!

cahostmom March 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Absolutely! I would not accept the international driver’s license (or even a European driver’s license). Even if the AP has passed the test in a different country, passing the test in one of the states proves that she (or he) understands the local driving rules.

Anonymous March 3, 2010 at 6:59 pm

We have NEVER required them to get a US license for many reasons, first and foremost we only pick au pairs from certain countries with very rigid licensing requirements. They are always better and more careful drivers than those that live around here, and in my opinion, getting a license in most states is a joke compared to some other countries. The expense for our au pairs to obtain a license in their country is another issue- some states REQUIRE them to turn in their own coutry’s license- that is a NO NO for them, as it is too costly to replace back home. On another level, they are not required to in NY State. JUst as when I was an exchange student, or a traveller to another country, I did not need to obtain that country’s license.

And, another reason not to get a US license is for insurance purposes- I do not want them with a US license attached to my home address. We do not add the au pair as a ‘driver living in our home’ on the car insurance, otherwise the au pairs would never drive as the expense is prohibitive (but that is in another post). So, if they were to get a ticket in the US under a state license, it still would attach to our residence and quite possibly affect our insurance. Lastly, we do not require it because they need to be able to drive from day one! Yes, we make them practice with us first, and give them the state’s driver manual to familiarize themself, but we make sure they are able to drive first before letting them drive.

Tanja March 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

Our au pair was pulled over at night for not wearing her seatbelt – which is totally bogus. I am convinced she didn’t get a ticket because she only had an international license. (The officer did write her name on our insurance paper which I thought was strange.) This incident was the first time I had ever considered the advantages of NOT getting a US license. Your point about insurance is a very, very good one too. WOW, I’ve never heard of having to give up the home country license – no WAY would I ever advise that!

AZ HM March 4, 2010 at 3:03 am

We do require our APs to get their state DL…it is the law in our state and is required by our insurance company. However, I think it is an important way of validating knowledge about our state laws. Until they get their DL, we practice with them to teach them the US/state driving rules (they do vary by state…so if your extension AP was driving in another state, she should still be tested in your state). Our first AP really took her time getting her DL, so I wrote into our manual that the DL needed to be obtained within the 1st 6o days and our 2nd AP respected that.

Regarding the AP who is not motivated to practice…Can’t you just ask her to drive EVERYTIME you get in the car together (or make times w/o kids if you don’t want her driving your kids yet)…ask her to drive when you need to go to the PO, Bank, grocery store, etc…Have her drive (you ride) when you goes to her educational classes and her AP meetings. A few weeks of this and she’ll build up some time behind the wheel, hopefully some confidence, and you’ll be better able to assess her skills. BTW, this is a huge inconvenience to the HF….but this is what we do the first couple of months of our AP’s stay — even though they’ve all said they were “experienced” drivers before they arrived. At first we don’t let the AP drive with our kids…but she’ll ride to preschool and then after we drop off our child, she drives home, for example. Then when we feel more comfortable we’ll ride while she drives with our children. Then after she gets her DL, we let her drive our kids alone.

LH March 12, 2010 at 12:10 am

My German au pair has tried to get the driver’s license for 6 mo.. the crazy Virginia dmv keeps saying .. “What?@! Germany? I dont know what to do.” They claim she needs a letter and they’ll give it to her in mail. We’re still waiting. Our aupair thinks the dmv has the dumbest ppl in the country there. I have to agree.

We want her to have a state license bc insurance is less. Thats what our agency says. So for the little hassle maybe save some $. Its costing us $1000 right now.. Thats a good ? .. how much is insurance costing you all on your aupair.

Mom23 March 12, 2010 at 11:19 am

We have our au pair take a letter from the agency, her international driver’s license or one from her country, and her SS #. We have never had a problem. If you are in Northern Virginia, the DMV has had to face the issue of diplomats getting VA licenses, so I would think issuing a VA license to a foreign national should not be difficult for them.

MAmama March 17, 2010 at 12:55 pm

In MA, the IDL is recognized for the first year, but if an au pair extends, she has to get a state license. I think that what everyone should realize is that these rules are set state-by-state and you have to be careful with conflicting information. Also, what everyone should understand is that an IDL is NOT a special license to drive abroad…it is literally the translation of the country’s license. If your au pair comes from a country where the driving rules are lax, I would lean towards having her get a state license. Also, IMHO, it is the host family’s responsibility to really grill the au pair in the interview about her driving experience. For example, I always ask what is the furthest distance they have ever driven, how often, has she ever driven in poor weather (like heavy rain?), has she ever used a GPS, gotten lost, if so, what did she do? Has she ever been on a road trip with a friend? These are all indications that she has spent significant time behind the wheel of a car. if an au pair has only driven RT between her house and school a few times per week, she will have a hard time adjusting quickly to American roads.

Anonymous in NJ June 27, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Help! We have matched with an extension au pair from another state who did not get a state license. I just learned from our LCC that an au pair can drive on an International License for only 1 year. I just figured that she’d come here and drive on her IDL until she got an NJ license. (Let’s not even get into the issue that I am learning about this a full month after exchanging multiple emails with the agency and our LCC regarding this match and neither they nor her current LCC brought up this issue previously..or that I probably should have known this myself had I thoroughly read this license thread…)

She’ll arrive in NJ at the beginning of August. Our LCC suggested that she visit earlier to open up a bank account to get the “proof of address” in the works. This is difficult & inconvenient, but not out of the question given that she’s currently within bus/train distance. I’ve already emailed her the DMV handbook so she can start studying. I wanted to know if families in this situation have found other ways to expedite getting a license or have any helpful suggestions. It would be great if she could go ahead and take the NJ written test so we can move more quickly to the road test, but am guessing that she won’t be permitted to take even the written without proof of address, which she won’t have without a bank account, which she won’t have until she opens an account. She’s required to take the road test, which adds a further delay since, judging from our previous au pairs’ experiences, I don’t think it can be scheduled until the written is passed.

Since it’s summertime, I could live without a driver for a month, but can’t afford to have it stretch much longer than that. Had I known this in advance, I probably would not have matched with her, but since she’s superb in all other ways and we’re now emotionally invested in her, we want to make it work!

I’m hoping that some of you have advice/tips on what I might to to expedite her getting a state license

Taking a Computer Lunch June 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Our AP’s failure to get a state driver’s license after 8 months, despite having contributed to two sets of driving lessons, and a lot of time donated by HD, was one factor in our deciding not to extend with her.

That being said, MD, the state in which I live, has started to link AP driver’s licenses with the date on the original visa, with an opportunity to apply for an extension after the extension documentation is approved. So now my AP, 10 1/2 months here, has absolutely no motivation to get a US license (Chinese APs do not get the International driver’s license, they get a translation of their driving license, so no expiration date, unless the license has a renewal date).

I would think that creating an artificial deadline for getting your state license (ask your LCC what is reasonable) should be enough. We offer to pay for the required drug & alchol course and the license itself, because we require driving as part of work (obviously it was not motivation enough for my current AP).

Ask your LCC for advice, and failing that, other HP in your area.

Host Mommy Dearest June 27, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I’m not sure if this would work – it’s just a thought…. I know you said a driver’s license is not required in her current state, but what if she went and got her current state’s license? She could just go to the RMV for a change of address sticker to your address when she arrives? You could offer not only to pay her for the expenses, but you could offer to pay a little bonus to obtain her license before she arrives – as an incentive to get it done?

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