Many international students choose to drive while they are in the US. It provides an unparalleled opportunity for sight-seeing, and it can also be very useful for getting around the Quad Cities.
However, it is certainly not necessary to have a car, especially if you are here just for a semester or year. The Quad Cities has an excellent bus system, and our Student Ambassadors are always happy to give you a lift around the city.
Car rental in the US is quite easy. You may rent a car for as short as a day or as long as you would like. It is an excellent way to travel on a holiday around the country. The Quad Cities has many car rental agencies. Some agencies will only rent to older drivers (over 25), so you will want to ask about this. Also, please ensure that you have appropriate insurance purchased to cover you while you are driving.
If you plan to rent a car in the US, you should obtain an international driver's license before you arrive here. This permit verifies that you hold a valid license in your home country. Contact the authorities in your country to get an international driver's license, as the United States does not issue them to foreign visitors.
If you plan on purchasing a car in the US, you will need to obtain a driver's license. Licenses are issued by each state, so if you are resident in Iowa, you will apply for an Iowa driver's license.
With an Iowa driver's licence, you are able to drive as a tourist in any other state in the US. Please just keep in mind that the traffic laws in each state vary. It is your responsibility to know and obey the laws of that state while driving.
The Iowa Department of Transportation (also called IDOT) administers driver's licenses, and you must follow their laws and regulations for obtaining a license. The two main steps are:
The Iowa Driver's Manual, published by IDOT, contains information on what identification documents to present and what tests are required. This Manual also contains the material you should study for the written test. If you plan to obtain an Iowa driver's license, it is important that you read this manual!
The nearest IDOT branch is located on Kimberly Street, about 10 minutes from campus. If you have questions about applying for your license, it is best to start by contacting this office.