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FAQ Texas

How do I get my first driver’s license in Texas?

If you have never held a driver’s license and are applying for one in Texas, you will need to apply for a Texas learner’s permit which requires a vision test and a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. After you receive the learners permit you will need to you to pass a road skills test to get a Texas driver’s license.

How old do I need to be to get a driver’s license in Texas?

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for driver’s license in Texas

What is Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program?

All minors living in the State of Texas are required to complete the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program. This course is designed to help teen drivers slowly gain skill and experience behind the wheel, over an extended period of time, so that when they are issued a non-restricted license, they can safely operate a motor vehicle on Texas highways.

How do I get my Texas driver’s license if I’m under 18?

The first step to obtain a driver’s license in Texas is to receive a learner’s permit. All the minors applying for the learner’s permit must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Have consent from a parent or legal guardian
  • Completed the required classroom portion of driver’s education
  • Provide proof of a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form, high school diploma, or GED

If you meet the criteria, you can take a written knowledge test covering a range of topics, including Texas traffic laws and safe driving techniques. Upon completion of this test, you will be issued a learner license, which will allow you to gain behind-the-wheel experience while supervised by a licensed adult of at least 21 years of age. Click here for Learner License Application Checklist. After you turn 16 you can apply for driver’s license and take the road skills test. Please note, you will have to hold a learners permit for 6 months and provide a proof that you have successfully completed an approved driver education course before taking the road skills test.

What is a Provisional License?

If you are between 16-18 years old and applied for driver’s license, you will be issued a provisional license. With the provisional license you can’t drive more than one passenger under the age of 21 and cannot use a wireless communication device, except in the case of emergencies. After you turn 18 your provisional license will expire and you will receive the non-restricted license.

Who needs to complete an Adult Driver Education Course?

If you are under the age 25, and a FIRST TIME applicant for a Texas Driver’s License, you must take an approved Adult Driver Education course BEFORE you can apply for a driver’s license.

Do I need to complete an Adult Driver Education Course if I have a driver’s license form another state?

If, under age 25 and you have a valid license from another state in the USA, you are not required

to take a driver’s license education course.

How do I get my Texas driver’s license if I’m over 18?

If you are applying for the Texas driver’s license and you are over 18, you must follow the following steps:

  • Visit your local Texas DPS location.
  • Provide appropriate documents to verify your identity, Texas residency, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence status, and Social Security number.
  • Bring the certificate of completion of Adult Driver Education Course If you took the Adult Driver Education Course online, please allow 7-14 working days for your certificate to be delivered to your provided address.
  • Complete the “Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card” form
  • Provide either a proof of Texas vehicle registration (if you are a new Texas resident) and proof of financial responsibility for each vehicle you own or a statement that affirms that you do not own a motor vehicle.
  • Pay the required fees. (Click here to see the fees)
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass both a knowledge test and a driving test (unless you are exempt). You will have to provide the vehicle.

    Keep in mind that all applicants under the age of 25 in Texas must pass a driver education course before they may apply for their first driver license.

What are the residency requirements for a driver’s license in Texas?

To verify Texas residency, you will need to provide any two documents with your name and residential address on them. Click here for the list of documents. One of the documents has to show that you have lived in Texas for at least 30 days. However, the 30 day requirement will be waived if you are surrendering a valid, unexpired driver license from another state.

What do I need to present to prove a lawful presence in Texas?

If you are not a US citizen or a green card holder, you will have to show a prove of your legal presence. The documents required depends on your visa category. Below is the list of documents you will need to present:

  • Foreign passport
  • U.S. visa (expired or unexpired)
  • I-94

Plus

  • F-1s/F-2s: Most recent Form I-20
  • F-1 OPT: OPT I-20 and EAD
  • J-1/J-2: DS-2019
  • Other visa types: I-94

Can I drive legally with a driver’s license from another country in Texas?

Yes, if you are between 18 and 75 years old, have a valid driver’s license from your home country AND your country recognizes the equivalent U.S. license, you may drive a private vehicle for up to one year. To find out if your country meets this requirement, also known as reciprocity, email:
license.issuance@txdps.state. tx.us.

What will the process be like in the Texas DPS when applying for driver’s license?

The whole process usually takes more than one visit to the DPS office and wait times can be long.

  • Upon arrival you will complete an application and present your documents to a clerk. If your paperwork is in order you will be given a written exam.
  • Once you pass the written exam you can set an appointment for a driving skills test.
  • The driving test involves an examiner riding with you as you drive a specified route.
  • Once you pass both exams you will be given a vision test, thumb-printed and photographed. This is required of all Texas drivers.
  • A paper driving permit will be given on site which allows you to drive legally until you receive the driver’s license.
  • The license will be mailed in a few weeks.

What’s going to happen during the driving exam in Texas?

First, the officer will inspect your car to check if the car has valid stickers/registration/documentation. Next, you will be asked to start your vehicle/ignition. Make sure to wear the seatbelt before you start the vehicle. Then the officer will ask you to flash the signal lights one by one to make sure they are working properly and you know the difference between them.
During the driving test you will be asked to:

  • Reverse
  • Do a parallel parking
  • Drive around the DPS or the closest neighborhood (mostly residential areas); be careful with signaling, speed limit, applying sudden breaks

While driving, avoid turning and looking at the officer every time he speaks, this can distract from the driving or watching the road. Just listen carefully and follow the instructions.

Can I take the knowledge exam in Spanish when applying for driver’s license in Texas?

Yes, you can take the knowledge exam in Spanish when applying for a driver’s license in Texas. Knowledge tests are only available in English and Spanish. However, you have to understand road signs written in English to pass the test(s). Also, due to a limited number of Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who are bilingual, DPS cannot guarantee driving tests will be available in Spanish at every driver license office. If a Spanish-speaking CSR is available, then the driving test may be given in Spanish.

Can I use a translator to take the knowledge and driving exams when applying for driver’s license in Texas?

You can bring someone to translate, but the translator may only help you to communicate with the CSR (Customer Service Representatives) before and after the knowledge or driving test is given. Translators are not allowed to help you during the tests. The CSR will use hand signals and other non-verbal cues during the driving test for applicants who do not speak English.

What will be on my knowledge exam in Texas?

The knowledge exam is covering traffic laws and traffic signs areas. It contains 30 questions with multiple-choice answers. You will need to answer 21 questions correctly to pass the test (70%).

What if I fail my knowledge exam in Texas?

If you fail the knowledge test, you cannot retake the test the same day. After 90 days or three failed attempts, a new application and fee will be required.
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