How to Apply for a Drivers License in Texas
New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.
A Texas drivers license can be issued to motorists who are 16 years of age or older. Issued by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a TX DMV license is available to applicants who are able to meet the state requirements and pass the necessary driving skills exams. If you are a licensed motorist who has moved from a different state, you must request a Texas-issued driving credential within a certain period after taking up residency in the state.
Generally, the procedure for submitting an application for a new drivers license in TX varies slightly depending on a motorist’s age. For example, if you are younger than 18 years of age, you must first obtain a learner’s permit and undergo the steps in the Graduated Driver License (GDL) program in order to become eligible to receive a DMV drivers license with no restrictions. Read the sections below to learn more about how to get a Texas drivers license.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Texas as an Adult (18 or Older)
If you are obtaining a new TX drivers license for the first time, you will be required to fill out an application form and submit supporting documentation proving your identity, age and residency status. Overall, applying for a driver’s license online is not an available method in Texas. Instead, these applications must be submitted in person at a DMV office. Furthermore, all applicants will be required to take and pass the required state vision and driving skills exams in order to receive a license.
What documents do you need to get a drivers license in Texas?
The most important aspects for a motorist to apply for a drivers license in Texas involve providing the necessary identification and residency paperwork, as well as being able to prove that the applicant is capable of safely operating a vehicle. To meet these TX drivers license requirements, motorists must submit a number of documents as certified copies or in their original formats.
All applicants, including those who are 18 years of age or older, are required to complete some form of driver education program before they are considered eligible to receive a new license. Furthermore, first-time adult applicants must include the following documents in their driver’s license application packets:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal status: This information must be verified by the Department of Homeland Security before a DMV license application can proceed.
- Proof of identity: Bring one item listed in the “Primary Identity Documents” category or two items listed in the “Secondary Identity Documents” category. Otherwise, bring one item listed in the “Secondary Identity Documents” category and two documents listed in the “Supporting Identity Documents” category.
- Examples of “Primary Identity Documents” include:
- Valid passport
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
- Military ID, if you are obtaining a Texas drivers license as military staff
- Examples of “Secondary Identity Documents” include:
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate
- Certificate of report of birth
- Examples of “Supporting Identity Documents” include:
- Social Security Number (SSN) card
- W-2 stubs or 1099 tax form
- Driver license or ID card issued by another state
- Examples of “Primary Identity Documents” include:
- Proof of Social Security Number (SSN).
- Proof of TX residency, such as:
- Valid voter registration card
- Utility bill from the last 90 days
- Medical or health insurance card
- Home insurance policy or property deed
- Certificate of completion for the Impact Texas Driver (ITD) program.
- Certificate of completion for the necessary driver education program, in the case of applicants who are 24 years of age or younger.
Steps to Applying for a New Drivers License in Texas as an Adult
In order to successfully apply for a drivers license in Texas, motorists must have already watched the free Impact Texas Driver (ITD) program online or through an authorized provider. Applicants who are 24 years of age or younger must also complete a certified traffic safety and driver education program before they can request a license. These Texas drivers license requirements exist for 18 year-olds as well.
Then, adult motorists must prepare their driving license application packets to be submitted to a state licensing office. The basic steps that these applicants must take include the following:
- Prepare the necessary supporting documents, including proof of identification, residency, SSN and legal U.S. status.
- Print out or pick up an “Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card” form. Complete and sign this document.
- Bring in an acceptable payment method for the applicable license fees.
- Head to the closest DMV office with all of the necessary paperwork.
- Provide your thumbprint and take a photo.
- Undergo a vision screening at the DMV office.
- Pass the written knowledge exam.
- After passing the written exam, take the road skills test or schedule it for a later date.
- After passing the road skills test, obtain your temporary driver’s license in Texas. Your permanent credential will be mailed to your mailing address in a few weeks.
FAQ: Can you take the written driving test online in Texas? For maximum convenience, the state does allow you to take the official written exam online.
For more answers to common questions, visit our Texas FAQs page here.
Getting a Texas Drivers License as a New Resident
Texas drivers license services are offered to all new state residents who visit a DMV office. Despite the fact that most qualifications are the same for all adult drivers in the state, new to Texas drivers license requirements indicate that residents who previously held an out-of-state driving credential do not have to pass the state’s knowledge or road skills tests. On the other hand, new residents will be required to exchange their out-of-state credentials for a new driver’s license issued by the Texas DMV. Generally, applicants will have 90 days to file this transfer request.
The drivers license cost for transferring an out-of-state credential is the same as applying for a brand-new TX license. Furthermore, most motorists who hold a driver’s license that was issued in another country will be required to pass the state’s knowledge and road skills exams, unless the credential was issued in France, Germany, South Korea and Taiwan.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Texas as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
If you are younger than 18 years of age, you must obtain a learner’s permit before you apply for a new driver’s license in Texas. Generally, these applicants must meet all of the same requirements as adult motorists, in addition to enrolling in a state-approved driver’s ed course.
Many of the same Texas drivers license eligibility guidelines that apply to adults are also applicable to teens. As a general rule, applicants can request an initial learner’s permit as long as they are 15 years of age. Furthermore, these motorists must meet the following TX DMV drivers license requirements:
- Provide the same types of documents proving your identity and residency as required from adults.
- Have the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
- Complete a “Verification of Enrollment and Attendance” (VOE) form, or provide a high school diploma or GED certificate.
- Certificate of completion of the necessary driver education program.
- Certificate of completion for the applicable Impact Texas Teen Driver (ITTD) program.
Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Driver’s Permit in Texas
All teen motorists applying for a driver’s license in Texas must meet the state’s driver education requirements before they can be issued a driving credential of any kind. As such, applicants who are younger than 18 years of age must enroll in a driver safety and education program that meets state standards of coverage and experience. Moreover, the state driver’s ed requirements include the one-hour Impact Texas Young Drivers (ITYD) program, which can be watched online.
Once a teen applies for a new driver’s license in TX, he or she will be required to pass the vision screening and written knowledge exam before a learner’s permit can be issued. In general, a provisional driver’s license can be obtained by motorists who have held a learner’s permit for at least six months and who have reached 16 years of age.
Overall, this restricted DMV license allows motorists to operate vehicles in Texas under certain conditions.
How much does it cost to get a driver’s license in Texas?
The driver’s license cost varies depending on the age of an applicant. Common fees that license applicants in Texas can expect to pay include:
- New license for applicants younger than 18 years of age: $16
- New license for applicants between 18 and 84 years of age: $25
- New license for applicants older than 85 years of age: $9
- New license for disabled veterans: Free
- New learner’s permit: $16
Note: The cost to obtain a new license if you are between the ages of 18 and 84 is the same as the cost to perform a Texas drivers license renewal for this age range. Similarly, the cost to renew a drivers license as an 85-year-old motorist is the same as the price of a new credential. However, replacing a lost Texas drivers license is less, at $11.