AM I LEGAL IN THE US?
Adulthood is a complicated concept when you’re an American, but it’s even more complicated if you’re a Brazilian traveling or moving to the United States. Can I drive there? Can I go to a bar? Can I drink?
So, in a nutshell, here’s what you need to know about being “of age” in the US. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the basics here, and many things can change depending on the State you’re in.
1) You can DRIVE! Yes, that’s it! You can actually get a driver’s license when you turn 16 in many states. In some, you can be as young as 14 to get a special license. In others, you can only get a full, unrestricted license at age 18.
2) If you’re 16 years old, the police can already question you without your parents being there. Also, you can respond in criminal court for heinous crimes. Actually, depending on how serious the crime is, you may be put on trial even before 16.
1) If you’re a citizen (or want to become one), know that at 18 you are allowed to vote. However, you are not obligated to do it at any age.
2) Even though you aren’t allowed to drink yet, at 18 years old you may buy and smoke cigarettes (tobacco). However, this is changing and many states like California, and many cities like New York, Boston and Chicago, only allow smoking at 21.
3) Now, you’re already responsible for your actions, and you are to respond civilly and criminally for all of them.
4) At 18 you can also enlist in the military, but just like with voting, you are not obligated to do it.
5) You can enter some fun, nightlife establishments, but that’s about it. Everyone will know you’re a minor (under 21), and you won’t be allowed to drink there.
1) YES! Now you can finally buy and drink booze (at appropriate establishments, of course)!
2) You can also go to nightclubs! And bars, and pubs, and have the time of your life at casinos in Vegas! No one can stop you now. In some states, you can gamble at 18, depending on the casino and the type of game.
3) Although you are allowed to drive since you’re 16, you can only rent cars once you turn 21 and, even then, the insurance is pretty high, and many companies choose not to rent to anyone under 25.
As you can see, those are major milestone ages, and if you want to live in the States, it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot do. Laws vary by state and in some cases, by city!
When it comes to going out and partying, it’s important to always keep informed and follow the rules in order not to get into trouble, because let’s face it, there are many ways to have fun that don’t necessarily involve getting drunk and going crazy!
As for the working age, it varies a lot, so we’re going to talk about it some other time, on a specific post. STAY TUNED!