How To Apply For a Driving License in the US

Drivers’ License Driving is essential in the US because it’s the only way you can get around. However, you must have a US driving license. Even those who have moved in here with their foreign driving licenses must apply for a one to drive even if they are allowed to use it for some time if written in English. People from countries that do not use English as an official language have to apply for an international driving permit before leaving their country.

The international permit is translated into English, but you must use it and the original one when driving in the US. Visitors and tourists who intend to be in the US for a short time can use this arrangement without applying for a US license for a whole year. . However, for people who intend to live in the country and most states give you between 30 and 90 days to get you US driving license. A few countries have agreements that allow their citizen to exchange the original permit with an American.

Steps to apply for a US driving license

If you are an expat who wishes to get an American driving license, you must follow several application steps. They include providing precise information and fees that you must pay. The requirements to get a driving permit differ in various states, but the main steps are the same. Here are is what you have to do:

Gather the required documents

Before you go to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles branch and carry the needed documents, they include:

  • An identification document with your picture, name, and date of birth. A passport can serve this purpose.
  • Social Security Number or a document to prove that you cannot get one.
  • Prove that you are in the US legally with documents including a permanent resident card, visa, or citizen certification, among others.
  • An international driving license.
  • A pass photo, though in some states, they are taken in the application process.

Start by filling out the application to provide personal details, but you must be 21 or older to qualify for a driving license.

Pay the fees

You have to pay for required license fees, which depend on your residence state. Some charge you between $30 and $90 as a one-time fee, but others require you to pay a small amount like $5 annually. Also, the payment step comes later when issuing the license document.

Take the tests

Before you can get a license, you must take both practical and written driving tests. The written test has between 20 and 50 questions, and they are all about traffic regulations and rules. Some tests are time, and others are not and sometimes available in a language that you understand better. After passing the written exam, you schedule the practical ones that include showing your ability to control a vehicle, reversing, and parking skills.

If you pass the exams, you can try again after a few weeks, but you may have to pay more and take extra tests. Besides, if you fail thrice in some states, you will have to start the application process from square one for the fourth attempt.

Get a vision test

The law doesn’t require applicants to pass the vision medical test to get a driving license. The test can be done in the nearest DMV office or get a test report from a medical professional. If you must wear contacts or contacts, some states place a particular restriction on the license. Applicants with low vision get restriction that only allow them daytime driving but must wear their recommended medical special lenses.

Get the license

After submitting all documents and passing all exams, a temporary driver’s license is issued, depending on your resident state. The permanent license is mailed a few weeks later via your address.


A driver’s license is a document that you can use to prove identity, age or during voting. In some cases, you can use it to board domestic flights. This document is valid for eight years in most states, but in some, you have to renew it after four years. Some states recognize your license as valid until you 65 years without the need to renew it.