Do Canadians Need an International Drivers License in Florida?

Canadian FlagTechnically yes but Florida Highway Patrol has suspended its enforcement according to Florida lawmakers.  The legislation went into effect on January 1 and was intended to make sure all Florida drivers held a license translated into English.  When passing the legislation, it was inconveniently forgotten that tourists from Canada (except from Quebec)  and England already have drivers licenses that are in English.

What the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Said

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued a news release that stated:

“It has come to the department’s attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory.”

Countries honor each other’s drivers licenses and “treaties to which the United States is  a party pre-empt state laws to conflict with them.”

Canadian Automobile Association is Trying to Educate Florida Snowbirds

The law was reported by the Canadian Automobile Association in an effort to educate its members who are flocking to our warmer climate for their winter vacation.  Maureen Wright, the representative for Florida Tourism in Toronto, said the Canadian Automobile Association issued 3,500 international permits at a cost of $25 each over a two day period.  The guidelines for obtaining an international drivers license are available on the CAA home page and will stay there until the appropriate legistlation is passed according to the website.

“We will work with the legislature to amend the law this year so it does not burden international visitors to our state, who make up an important part of our tourism industry,” said John Tupps deputy press secretary to Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Visit Florida Statistics on International Visitors

With Visit Florida stating that about 9.3 million foreigners visited Florida in 2011, 3.3 million of them from Canada it might be a good idea for lawmakers to hurry through the amendment process.  The average US tourist stays 5 nights.  All foreigners average 11 nights and the average Canadian stayed 18.

What Realty Thinks

We love our Canadian renters and buyers at Realty and hope that the law is amended quickly for our customers and friends.  It would be nice if lawmakers would actually read and understand laws before they vote to pass them!  But that is probably a story for another time.

If you are Canadian and looking for a wonderful new home in our sunny paradise, contact me or call me at 239-601-3174.  You can also enjoy browsing our excellent values and searching for a property that is of interest to you.  You will be surprised at the excellent values still available.  If you are interested in purchasing to rent out, be sure to read my blog about renting in Naples.

Remember, it is always toasty in Naples and you deserve your piece of Naples sunshine.



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