When I came to visit America I was legally able to drive using my Australian driver's license. It took a while to get used to driving on the other side of the car and road, but the basic rules were the same.
When I moved to Virginia I figured I would be able to exchange my Australian license for a Virginian one. I had to renew my Aussie license for another year as it was set to expire and I needed a valid license to take to the DMV. Once I had the required documents, I went to the DMV to get my Virginian driver's license. I sat in the office for quite a while and was happy when my number was called, but this is where all of the fun started.
I told the lady at the counter that I had recently moved to Virginia and wanted to get a Virginia driver's license. I had all of the documentation needed and figured she would enter some information into the computer, take my picture, and a few moments later I would have a license. However, she looked at my Australian license and told me that the DMV doesn't recognize it and that I would have to apply for a learner's permit and then take a driving test in 30 days time to get my full license.
My main concern was that I had a full time job that was 15 miles from home and I didn't know how I could get there if I had a learner's permit. I don't understand why the DMV didn't recognize the license, but it dawned one me that I was legally allowed to drive with my Australian license. I figured out that I could continue driving to and from work with my Australian license and my Virginia learner's permit. If I got pulled over by the police, I would just hand them my Australian license as I was legally allowed to drive with it.
Once that was sorted out in my head (I did not say anything to the lady working at the DMV), I took the computer test and passed all of the questions even though I had not read the handbook. I received my learner's permit and was told I had to wait at least 30 days before I could take my road test and get my full license. A month later I returned to the DMV for my road test. I had no clue what they would test me on and whether I would have to show if I could parallel park, do a 3 point turn or a hill start (which would have been interesting considering this part of Virginia is dead flat). The test ended up taking about 10 minutes and I drove about 2 miles. I asked the examiner why the test was so short and she told me that it was obvious that I could drive so there was no need to extend the test any longer. A few minutes after returning to the DMV, I finally received my Virginia driver's license.
My journey of getting a license in Virginia had a few more steps than I had expected, but it does make for a good story. The good part about it was the whole process only cost $24 dollars which is a lot cheaper than getting your license in Australia. I will make sure I keep my license current as I definitely don't want to go through the whole process again.