Q&A: Can government bodies invalidate the legally issued documents of a foreign country?

We frequently receive questions from clients that we’re happy to answer and share with you. We hope that you see this as a valuable resource. If you have more questions, please email them to info@immigratingtousa.com

Do any government bodies have the authority to invalidate the legally issued documents of a foreign country?

I’m a Hungarian national and a US green card holder – not a US citizen yet. I recently applied for a Hawaiian driving license though I have a valid driver’s license issued by Hungary.

I took both the written and road test and passed both but the female clerk I met at the DMV insisted they would have to invalidate my Hungarian driving license before I could be issued a Hawaiian one. Had I become a US citizen by now it would have made sense but I’m still a Hungarian citizen. Seeing as I seemed to have no choice in the matter, I allowed her to do so. I have been wondering since then: does the DMV or any other government body have the authority to invalidate the legally issued documents or any other property of a foreign country?

Answer: This scenario appears absurd to us too.

Unless the State rules in Hawaii state so, it makes no legal sense that a foreign authority would have the jurisdiction and competence to void or in any other way invalidate a legally issued driver’s license from another state or nation.

Just seek a second opinion by asking to see her Supervisor about it. If you meet them and they are also saying the same thing, you could try a different DMV and hopefully get a better and more “reasonable” response. If for some reason you can’t approach another DMV at this time, then allow them to go ahead and then “invalidate” the Hungarian driver’s license. Most likely they will do this by cutting the edges of the license and by stamping “cancelled” across it but do not throw the Hungarian driver’s license away.

Getting a US driver’s license for the state you currently reside is of paramount importance for now for obvious reasons. If at some point in the future you are back in Hungary and need to use a Hungarian driver’s license, just show them the “invalidated” old license and apart from a few laughs that would get and the chance of instant popularity, there should be little or no trouble renewing or reissuing you a new one.


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