Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

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Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby pengyou » 10 May 2012, 21:16

This is the opposite question that is usually asked. I am wondering, if I get a motorcycle license in Taiwan - both written and road test - can I use it to ride a motorcycle in California? I will be going home this summer and it would sure be nice to be able to putz around on a bike instead of going to the hassle of renting a car.
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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 11 May 2012, 14:28

pengyou wrote:This is the opposite question that is usually asked. I am wondering, if I get a motorcycle license in Taiwan - both written and road test - can I use it to ride a motorcycle in California? I will be going home this summer and it would sure be nice to be able to putz around on a bike instead of going to the hassle of renting a car.


Short answer is "no." However, once you have a legitimate Taiwanese driver's license, you can get an international driver's license, valid for three years. It is supposed to be recognized worldwide. I used mine to actually rent a car in the USA, and that didn't raise any eyebrows. The car rental agency was more concerned that I had a valid credit card. Later on I took a driving test for an Idaho driver's license, and in lieu of a learner's permit they accepted my Taiwan-issued IDL.

Since you want to drive a motorcycle, be sure that your Taiwan-issued IDL is marked "valid for motorcycles." That's an extra stamp in a box on the same license, so just be sure they do that.

I assume that you have access to a motorcycle from a friend or relative in California. Bikes are notoriously difficult to rent in the USA. The few places that rent them only have big bikes and charge big bucks. Example:

http://www.sportryderrentals.com/Main_P ... cycles.php

Renting a car would be significantly cheaper.

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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby pb » 11 May 2012, 18:21

Short answer is "no."


That's not true for California (see CA DMV website below). California recognizes license issued at the place of your residence.
On a business trip to San Jose my Taiwanese colleagues rented cars using their TW licenses without any problems. (Budget)
I was curious about that and looked up the DMV page.

IDP might be useful as a quick way to demonstrate to cops you do have license but legally it is not necessary.
For motorcycle there may be issue of finding the equivalent class.

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#international

International Driving Permits

The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license. California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident.

The IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person’s foreign driver license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California. Citations issued to a person in California who has an IDP, but does not have a California driver license will be placed on the Department of Motor Vehicle database.

The IDP is also called an International Driver License, International License, etc.

For more information about travel and driver licensing requirements outside of the US, visit the US State Department Road Safety Overseas website at: http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html
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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 12 May 2012, 09:28

pb wrote:That's not true for California (see CA DMV website below). California recognizes license issued at the place of your residence. On a business trip to San Jose my Taiwanese colleagues rented cars using their TW licenses without any problems. (Budget). I was curious about that and looked up the DMV page.


That's very interesting PB, and I'm really surprised. But it's probably a good idea to have an IDP anyway along with the Taiwanese license - I wonder how a car rental agency or a cop would be able to make sense of a Taiwanese license if they don't happen to read Chinese. For all they know, you could be showing them a student ID card rather than a driver's license.

If stopped by a cop, he might accept your Taiwanese license but ask you to point out where it says "expiration date." Mine says "101.11.19" - I'd hate to have to convince an American cop that "101" is "2012." Driving with an expired license in the USA will get you arrested on the spot and your vehicle impounded - more than a little inconvenient. So I think it's best to have that IDP handy.

cheers,
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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby finley » 12 May 2012, 11:51

I've rented cars in the US (California and New York State) with only a UK driving license (no IDL). I can't see why a Taiwan license should be any different - nobody knows or cares that it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Of course, your Taiwan license is printed in Chinese, so I suppose for that reason alone it would be best to have a (Taiwan-issued) IDL.

Anyway, surely the simplest thing would be to phone the motorcycle hire company and ask ...
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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby Abacus » 26 May 2012, 10:42

Assumption - your Taiwan motorcycle license is for <250cc's.

Are you renting a small dirtbike when you go home?
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Re: Can I use my Taiwan motorcycle license in California?

Postby sulavaca » 26 May 2012, 16:23

finley wrote:I've rented cars in the US (California and New York State) with only a UK driving license (no IDL). I can't see why a Taiwan license should be any different - nobody knows or cares that it's not worth the paper it's printed on.


They do. Governments like power, and they will choose to use it where and when it suits them.
In the case of IDLs, most international license rules are reciprocal based and these rules are very clear. An international license does not necessarily allow one to use it wherever international licences are generally accepted. Anyone can simply check the validity of such a license with the local Motor Vehicle Office or Transportation Department of the locality in which it is wished to be used. Just because a U.K. I.D.L. can be used in California, it doesn't mean a Taiwanese one can.
The message here, is that such questions on validity, although posed in such a forum as this, should best be directed towards any state in which an I.D.L. is wished to be used within.
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