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Apply American Drivers License

Obtaining a driver's license in the United States

Obtaining a driver's license in the United States is one of the most important things you should do when you first arrive. It will not only allow you to drive legally but will also serve as a major form of identification. Most newcomers are surprised to see how much driving is an essential part of American life. Even teenagers drive to school as they can get a license at 16, in some rural areas even 15.

Apply for an American Drivers License

The first step is to locate the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state. Each state has different rules as to obtaining a driver's license. The basic requirements for all states are:

  • Proof of identity. Most states require anywhere from two to three forms of identity. These may include passport, I.D. card, and international driver's license. It should contain your date of birth.
  • Proof of residency. Some states will not let you obtain a license if you are on a visitor's visa, so be prepared to also show proof of legal residency.
  • Social Security number. In some states this can be done at the DMV office whereas in others you would need to go to your local Social Security Office and obtain one.
  • Eye-examination. Do not forget to bring your eyeglasses if you wear any. A photograph will be also taken.
  • Payment of a fee, which varies from state to state and can be anywhere from $10 to $45.

Before you are allowed to take the driving exam in most states you will need to pass the written test. It is usually a multiple-choice computerized test. You can prepare for it by reading the Driver's Handbook, which is available for free at the DMV office. There are also sample questions that will help you practice.

The Driver's Handbook is available in different languages, as is the test itself. Check to see if you can take it in your native language.

You will immediately know the outcome of your test. If you are successful you will be issued a permit, which allows you to drive accompanied by a person who has a driver's license. You can immediately schedule an appointment for a driving test. If you are unsuccessful, in most cases you will be allowed to retake it free of charge.

Obtaining a driver's license is the next step. It involves taking the driving test. You will be required to drive for a certain amount of time, in some states on the highway or freeway. If you have not driven in the United States before you might consider taking driving lessons in order to feel more confident on the road.

Minimum automobile insurance is required in all states. In some states you cannot even get a driver's license if you do not have insurance. You may drive your own car or someone else's during your driving test. The instructor will sit next to you in the car and will tell you where to drive. He or she will ask you if you know how to turn on your lights, how to open the front of your car, etc. You will then be instructed where to drive, when to turn. The instructor will be looking for things such as: whether you look in your rear mirrors when you are changing lanes, whether you observe the road signs, whether you drive safely and respect your fellow drivers. If you pass the exam you will be given a document that will allow you to legally drive. The license itself will be mailed to you within 90 days.

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