New drivers generally need to apply for a driver's license in person. However, some states, such as Nebraska, allow new drivers to apply online if they meet certain requirements and have previously held official learner's permits.
State requirements vary, but many states require new drivers to take official tests in person at the Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent agency. Most states require both a written and a practical exam. Even in states that accept passing grades from driving schools in lieu of state-administered tests, new applicants are generally required to apply in person. A current, official photo is required that must be taken at the DMV in most cases. Some states also require eye exams or fingerprinting to obtain a license, which must be done in person.
States that do allow people to apply for licenses online generally restrict it to people who are renewing a license issued within a few years. Other states do not allow any online renewals, but do reissue lost or stolen licenses online. However, this is not always the case. Some states require identity verification and a police report to reissue a lost license. Most states also require in-person applications from drivers who have previously been licensed in other states or let their license lapse for a long period of time.