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Driver License Law

Philadelphia, PA |

A friend of mine is on a tourist visa here in the US and is driving with an international driver's license. I read somewhere that he could use the driver's license up to a year in the US. Is this true or did I misunderstand the law? Can he renew it after his visa expires? What would be his option of renewing a driver's license even if he overstays his visa later on? He's in a dire situation in life where he is forced to work to support his family back home and has decided to overstay his visa and establish himself in here. He does work now with cash delivering pizzas, so his job is directly related to driving. Please don't judge, but rather explain the law in regard to international driver license options in the state of Pennsylvanian (and around the US). Thanks.

P.S. Please don't judge as you would be doing the same thing in life if you had starving children overseas.

Attorney Answers 2


An individual living in this state is, with certain exceptions, required to obtain a PA Driver's license. Under section 1506 of the vehicle code, a non-citizen must establish lawful presence in the US and PA to obtain a PA license. PennDOT may then issue a license if the person will be in the US or PA lawfully for more than a year. Expiration and renewal of a non citizen's PA license is governed by section 1514 (e) of the Vehicle Code. A license granted to a non-citizen will expire when that person's visa expires. Aperson illegally in PA cannot get a valid driver's license. Whoever you friend is should speak to an experienced immigration attorney immediately to find out if there is a way to extend or renew the visa or otherwise legally stay in this state.

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Without passing judgment, I begin by acknowledging that our great nation was founded by immigrants from many countries. Many left their homes and families in dire poverty to find a better life for themselves here. The same cannot be said for someone who entered this country on a "tourist" visa. Despite your excuses, when he remains in our country after his tourist visa expired, your friend is taking advantage of our nation's hospitality in violation of the law. It is improper for an attorney to provide advice to a criminal for the purpose of assisting that individual to commit a crime. If your friend wants to stay in our country, he should contact an immigration attorney and submit the appropriate documentation. Otherwise, he will likely be found, deported, and prohibited from re-entry for a minimum of 10 years.

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Thank you. I am not familiar with immigration laws as I am a US citizen, but from what I know there are two ways to gain permanent status and that's thought marriage or work, so seeing an immigration attorney won't do much for him I think. In terms of his status, you are not providing an advice to an illegal yet, as my friend is still on his visa for another several months, so my question was whether a tourist could obtain a valid state license or not. if not, how long his international license would be valid no one is violating anything as of yet.

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