I am a Filipino visiting your beautiful Oregon, staying with my sister who is married to an American residing in Coos Bay. My brother-in-law wants me to drive his car sometimes to do some errands, but I am hesitant because my international driver's license has already expired. I heard from a friend that the Philippine driver's license is honored here in the U.S. for three months from the date of arrival. Is it correct that my Philippine driver's license is honored here temporarily for a limited duration? If not, can I obtain a U.S. driver's license with only a visitor's visa?
— Adrian Solis
A complicated question you have here. Here is what I found out by calling the Department of Motor Vehicles and AAA here in Medford: Your Philippine driver's license would be honored here as long as it has not expired and appears to give valid driving privileges. It would be honored for six months, at which time you begin to be considered a resident of the state. That would mean you would need an Oregon license once you have established residency.
DMV said it doesn't have anything to do with international driver's licenses, that those are issued by AAA.
A call to AAA was enlightening. The company said Oregon and most, if not all, other states don't really recognize international driver's licenses; what we honor are driver's licenses from the person's home country.
AAA does not issue international driver's licenses to people from other countries. What it does is issue international driver's licenses to Americans. Those are, basically, a transcription of a person's U.S. driver's license to the international driver's license format for use by Americans traveling out of country.
As far as getting a driver's license with a visitor's visa, that's a no. According to DMV, a visitor's visa is not acceptable documentation. There is a way to do it, but you must meet certain criteria. Due to space concerns, I cannot go through that whole thing, but here's how to find out for yourself. Go to the DMV website at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV. Under "Driver and Vehicle Information," click on "ID & Residency Requirements" and then scroll partway down the page to "Proof of Your Legal Presence, Identity and Date of Birth" to find out acceptable documents.
Dace Cochran, a patrol sergeant with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, writes a regular Q&A column on police issues for the Mail Tribune. Have a question for him? Write to Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501, or e-mail email@example.com.