How Do You Become a Licensed Driver in the United States?


Quick Answer

In order to become a licensed driver in the United States, present proper identification to the Department of Motor Vehicles, confirm your vision, and take written and road tests. The exact requirements and eligible ages differ by state.

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Full Answer

The minimum age to get a general license to drive a vehicle that is not a motorcycle or commercial vehicle varies from 14 to 17, depending on the state. Those under age 18 must generally attend driver's education classes either at their schools or independent driving schools. Some states also require adults looking for a first-time license to attend driver's education schools before applying.

Different states have different rules concerning immigrants, underage drivers and new drivers over age 18. For example, in Washington State anyone with an out-of-state license can get a Washington State license by simply passing the vision test. Foreign persons can get licenses by passing the vision test and possessing valid licenses from British Columbia, Germany, South Korea or Taiwan. In both cases, the person must have a Washington street address to prove that he is a current resident of the state.

In Washington State, non-US citizens can drive in the state for one year with a valid foreign driver's license.

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