In Texas, everyone who drives a motor vehicle is required to have a valid driver license. A person 18 – 75 years of age with a valid out-of-country driver license in his or her possession may drive a private, non-commercial motor vehicle in the state of Texas for up to 1 year from the date of entry to the United States if the individual’s home country has reciprocity with the United States. The following information should help you obtain a Texas Driver License.
Where to Get or Renew a Driver License
You must fill out an application for a driver license at any local Texas Driver license office. To find the nearest office from your location, you can look online at www.txdps.state.tx.us. Information can also be found in your phone directory under government offices (“The Blue Pages”). You can find a list of driver license offices under the State section, Department of Public Safety. At the time of this publication renewals could be done online with the link on the DPS Home Page and for a list of offices go to Driver License/ID Related Information and then Driver License Office Locations.
Requirements for Getting a Driver License
You must be at least 16 years of age (15 for a learner’s permit which allows a minor to drive with someone in the front seat that is 21 years old and holds a valid driver license). A vision, driving and written test is required for those who seek a driver license for the first time. However, if you have a valid out-of-state license you only have to take a vision test assuming you have the requisite documentation listed below. If your license has been expired for more than two years, you must also take a written and driving test.
Documents You Will Need to Take With You
Status Required Documents
- Birth certificate, consular certification of birth abroad
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization;
- INA U.S. Citizenship Identification Card, U.S. passport book, U.S. passport card
- Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, Passport or I-94 stamped “Approved I-551” or “Processed for I-551”, Re-entry Permit I-327
- B Visas Passport, I-94, and Visa or Immigration documentation indicating this status which may include but is not limited to an I-797
- H Visas Passport, I-94, and Visa or Immigration documentation indicating this status which may include but is not limited to an I-797
- L Visas Passport, I-94 and Visa or Immigration documentation indicating this status which may include but is not limited to an I-797
Note: Documentation may indicate L-1 only rather than L-1A or L-1B
Please see the following chart for other immigration status: Temporary Visitor Issuance Guide
When Will Your License Expire
- U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents – 6 years after issuance
- Temporary Lawful Presence (e.g. B, L, and H visa holders) – Expires when the period of lawful presence expires. If the period of lawful presence is indefinite, the license will need to be renewed every year.
How You Can Prepare For the Tests
We recommend that you get the Texas Driver’s Handbook at your nearby Texas Department of Public Safety office or a bookstore to prepare for the driving and written exams. You may also do your studying online at www.golocalnet.com/st/texas. It is organized, and there are practice exams you may take.
What the Costs Are For a Driver License
A new Texas Driver license will cost $25 and is good for 6 years. If you are required to take a driving test, you will be charged an extra $11. For renewals, the cost is $25. Applicants under 18 will be charged $16 for a license, which will expire on their 18th birthday.
What You Should Expect
The process time varies by location. Some offices are always busy so it would be best to get to the office as early as possible, while others may have short lines before or after lunchtime. If you need to take a driving test, you can schedule online, visit the office and wait for a walk-in appointment, or schedule an appointment for another day. Lines can be very long, so you should be certain to check your documentation beforehand to prevent embarrassment and unnecessary delays.
Times of Operation
Times of operation are different between driver license offices. Generally, offices are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Mondays thru Friday. You should check your local office to see if their hours differ from the general time.
When You Should Receive Your Card
It normally takes 3-4 weeks to receive your driver license card. Upon passing your tests, you will be issued a temporary permit until you receive your card.
Foreign nationals should be aware that a false claim to U.S. Citizenship should preclude them from being eligible to apply for naturalization (U.S. citizenship) and other immigration benefits. In Texas, only U.S. Citizens are permitted to apply online.