Does My Au Pair Need a Connecticut Driver's License?

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There is always a lot of confusion when au pairs arrive to the U.S. and will be responsible for driving children. They drove in their home country for years. Can they drive legally in the U.S? Do they need an International Driver’s Permit? Do they need a Connecticut driver’s license? How can an au pair obtain a Connecticut driver’s license? Here is some information that will help provide clarity on this subject.

The International Driver’s Permit

Au pairs who will be driving in the U.S. must arrive with a valid International Driver’s Permit (IDP). An IDP is essentially an English translation of a foreign language driver’s license issued by a foreign country. These permits can only be obtained in the country which issued the actual license.

In the State of Connecticut, the International Driver’s Permit and foreign language driver’s license are valid for one year. According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, an IDP is not considered a valid license. It must accompany the valid foreign license. Connecticut permits a student or visitor to operate a motor vehicle in Connecticut for a period of up to one year with his or her foreign license. If the license is in a language other than English or Spanish, the license must be accompanied by an IDP, which serves as an English translation of the foreign license.

Exception to the Rule

Like any rule, there are always exceptions. In this case, the U.S. has reciprocity with Germany and France, meaning the State of Connecticut considers au pairs with licenses from Germany and France to be the same as out-of-state driver’s licenses. Therefore, they do not need an IDP.

Who Needs A Connecticut Driver’s License?

Since the IDP is only valid for one year, au pairs who wish to extend their participation in our au pair program for six, nine or 12 months must apply for a Connecticut driver’s license prior to the end of their first year. In addition, the auto insurance companies of some host families require the au pair to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license in order for the au pair to be added to the host family’s auto insurance policy. In addition, some host families prefer their au pairs to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license because it gives them a level of comfort in the au pair’s driving ability. Sometimes au pairs prefer to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license because it serves as a valid form of identification. It is important to note that out-of-country licenses are not acceptable as a form of identification.   

How to Obtain a Connecticut Driver’s License

  1. Au pairs must have a social security number in order to obtain a Connecticut driver’s license. The Social Security Office is located at 2 Landmark Square, #105 in Stamford.

  2. Schedule a Knowledge Test with the DMV (this can be done online).

  3. Study for the Knowledge Test.

  4. Obtain the Learner’s Permit upon passing the Knowledge Test at the DMV in Norwalk. The au pair must bring his/her passport, visa, IDP, social security card and two proofs of residency (first class mail addressed to the au pair at the host family’s address will suffice). You can schedule this online at the DMV. The cost to obtain the permit is $19.

  5. Complete the 8 Hour Safe Driving Class and receive a CS-1 Certificate required for taking the road test. You may sign up for the class at driving schools in Fairfield County to take the class. The cost of the class ranges from $135 to $150. For specific driving school recommendations in your town, be sure to consult your Local Coordinator.

  6. Take the road test at the DMV in Norwalk. The examination fee is $40 and the license is $72.

Now your au pair is all set to help shuttle the kids to all of their activities!!]]>

Christine Meek

Christine is the InterExchange Au Pair USA Local Coordinator for Fairfield County, CT.

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