Obtaining a Driver License in the US

skip-long-dmv-line-renew-your-drivers-license-aaa-office-instead-no-membership-required.w654You can drive a motor vehicle in the United States provided you carry a driver’s license from your home country and an International Driver’s Permit (IDP).

It is necessary to secure an IDP in your home country before going to the US since the US Government does not issue this license to non-residents.

Definition of International Driver’s Permit

The IDP is proof that you have a valid driver’s license in your own country. It is translated into 12 languages so police and other law-enforcement authorities from other countries can understand the license’s contents. The IDP is a special license with provisions on road safety authorized by the United Nations conventions and signed by 180 countries.

How to Obtain an IDP?

The process varies and depends on the government that issues the license. Contact the Department of Transportation or Department of State for inquiries. See to it that any agency that you have approached for assistance is legitimate. Verify this with any government agency.

You will be required to fill out an official form and submit two passport-size photos. Applicants must be 18 years of age and possess a valid local driver’s license. There is a minimal fee but driving tests are not necessary.

The IDP cannot be post-dated, extended, or renewed. It may be valid only for one year from the date of issuance. Your driver’s license must not expire during that period. The unexpired IDP and driver’s license are requirements for driving in the US.

Never procure IDPs online.

Online services are not legitimate and unacceptable in the US. Check with the local license provider for guidelines.


US Driver’s License

It is imperative to secure a US driver’s license if you do not have a local driver’s license or have been staying in the US for more than one year.

Driving Schools

In some states, driving schools can assist students in getting the driver license. However, they must complete the written test for learner’s permit and practice in driving skills.  Students do not need to take the driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if they undergo this process.

Learner’s Permit

The initial step in securing a US driver’s license is to apply for a learner’s permit. This will allow you to practice driving under the supervision of a licensed driver. The objective here is to learn road rules sufficiently and pass tests for approval of your driver’s license. The DMV provides information about obtaining and using a learner’s permit. It has an expiration date. You need to secure a permanent license before this temporary permit expires. You are compelled to go through the steps from the beginning if the permit expires.

Permanent Driver’s License

Applying for a permanent driver’s license requires applicants to a driving test, written knowledge examination and vision test. Make sure to submit all required documents. Bring your own car with valid registration and insurance during the driving test. The DMV website explains the appointment process and needed set of papers.

Sue J Liu – Chief of Marketing

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