How to get a US Driver’s license?

Requested by many international students, I figured I’ll cover the how-to’s with this article. Traveling without a license may seem hard so here goes – 5 steps to get your US Driver’s License.

Step 1: Driver’s Education

You’re not used to driving in the US where special attention is given to traffic rules and regulations and it is important not just to know they exist, but also follow them. This is where an online course on driver training comes in.

DriversED (click link to register) is the one stop shop place for all driver’s in Texas (and a few other states) to complete a 6-hour Driving course which includes multiple slides, videos and case based questions to test what you learnt. While it may seem boring, it is highly important you pay close attention and learn everything.

Once you complete the course, you will receive a certificate in the mail with two half’s – one for your records and the other towards your learner’s license.

Irrespective of age, you HAVE to do this course if you have never legally driven in the United States – for your safety and others.

Step 2: Applying for a Learners License

If you are under the age of 25, you necessarily have to get a Learners License/Permit before you can take your driving test. The process is simple and not as time consuming if you plan ahead. You sign in online an hour before you wish to be there, get an appointment slip and then head to the DPS office accordingly with the following documents-

A. DriversED certificate of completion

B. Passport

C. I-20

D. I-94

E. Proof of residency (Utility bill, Bank statement, lease document)

F. Offer letter from University

G. $25 in cash/credit/debit card towards the application fee.

Step 3: Getting your Learners License

Once you get your learner’s license in the mail (~10 days after application), you can now legaly drive with a vehicle with a 21+ valid US driving license holder in the passenger seat. Practice practice practice to ready yourself up for the driver’s test.

Step 4: Schedule Driving Test

Go online to the DPS website to schedule a driving test and mark it on your calendar. There is a small fee associated with the Test as well. Take all documents with you which you took initially – just incase – along with your Learner’s License.

Step 5: Giving The Test

You need to use a private vehicle to give a test. If you take a rental/Zipcar or commercial vehicle, chances are you will not be allowed to take the test. So find someone who has insurance on the car and time to spare and they might be able to help you out. Alternatively, find out abouy driving schools in the area you live and test there. It may cost more, but it’s a no-hassle deal. For A&M students, Austin driving school is where a lot of students with no access to vehicles go.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. Happy driving, SAFE driving!

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