Florida Repeals International Driver’s License Law

In follow-up to our earlier advisory, we can report that Florida has officially repealed the law requiring all foreign drivers, including Canadians, to have international drivers’ licences.

The issue surfaced several weeks ago when it was discovered that legislation requiring such additional documentation had been passed by the state government, without the knowledge of tourism officials, who feared it would send a negative message to foreigners visiting the state.

We reported two weeks ago that because of the deleterious effects it would have on foreign drivers, particularly the millions of Canadians who winter in Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles instructed its officers not to enforce the law, which some state officials felt contravened international treaties.

Consequently the Senate House and Senate, at their spring session in March, repealed the law completely.  Governor Rick Scott approved the repeal saying legislators “have done a great job of demonstrating that international visitors are welcome in Florida.”

Many Canadians feared that while the law was on the books, even though it was not being enforced, their Canadian insurance companies might refuse to pay their claims if they had accidents as they could officially be classified as unlicensed drivers. That issue has now been removed as the law has been repealed.

The law came into effect in January 2013 to make it easier for law enforcement officials to verify a visitor’s home country while investigating accidents.

In the interim, many thousands of Canadians purchased international drivers’ licenses to cover their trips to Florida. They are no longer necessary.

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