How To Get a Driver’s License in Texas?

It is required by law to get a DPS (Department of Public Safety) Texas driving license within the first 90 days of moving to the state.

So, if you have just moved to Texas or are a citizen who has started driving then you have come to the right place to find out how to get a driver’s license in Texas. 

We will talk you through what you should do before you apply and how to apply for the different types of driver’s licenses which will set you up for success in becoming a legal driver in Texas. 

Before You Apply For A License

The first thing you have to do before applying for a driver’s license is to make sure that you have completed all of the relevant training and courses. 

Before applying for a full driver’s license, you can apply for a learner’s permit which allows you to drive a car with someone who is a licensed driver and at least 21 years of age in the passenger seat at all times. 

This allows you to get lessons from either a professional driving instructor or a friend or family member that has a valid license before you do the DPS course. 

Texas has requirements for both teens and adults to complete online driving courses which cover warning signs, traffic, and traffic safety. Anyone under the age of 24 must complete this course before they are able to get their driver’s license. 

The course is six hours long and is an approved Texas adult driving course made compulsory by the DPS.

In order to successfully complete this course, you will also have to pass the written test, be issued a Texas learners permit, and then be able to do the in-car road test which you must also pass and complete. 

If you are under 18 years old, there are two possible options for you that you can do to get your license. This includes a Parent-Taught Drivers Education (PTDE) or lessons at a TDLR-Approved driving school. 

For the PTDE program, your parent or legal guardian will have to submit a $20 application which will deem if they are qualified for the role of instructor and if so, must teach the student using the relevant PTDE course materials. 

The PTDE instructor must also have a valid license with no revocations, traffic violations, or suspensions.

If they have more than six points on their driver record then they will not be suitable to teach the teen how to drive. They must also not have a mental illness or be disabled as well as convicted of driving under the influence. 

The TDLR-Approved driving school option allows you to complete seven hours of behind-the-wheel lessons with an approved partner driving school after doing a 32-hour classroom portion of the driver’s education course. 

You may also have to complete an Impact Texas Driver (ITD) course as well if you are to take a driving test for the issuance of the driver’s license.

This course was designed to teach drivers how to be safer on the roads as one of the major causes of car crashes in Texas is caused by distracted drivers. 

After you have successfully completed all of the relevant driving lessons and courses, you can now prepare to apply for your driver’s license. To do this, you should start to gather the documents that you will need to be issued a license. 

These documents include proof that you are a resident of Texas and a citizen of the U.S but you will also have to have your social security number, social security card, proof of vehicle insurance, and the Texas vehicle registration. 

All of the above documents must be up to date and not expired and if you have changed your name you will need to have a document showing proof as well.

If you are a teen driver, temporary visitor, new resident, or a U.S military veteran then the conditions for your application may have extra steps. 

Applying For a License

Learners

If you are aged between 15 and 17 you are eligible for a learner’s license which gives you the ability to practice your driving with an adult who has a valid license.

It expires as soon as you turn 18 and even though it comes with its limitations as a driver, it’s a great way for you to experience the rules of the road. 

When you are driving with a learner’s license, it is legally required for you to have an adult at least 21 years old with a valid license in the front passenger seat and you must have the learners license for no less than six months unless you turn 18 years old before this.

You cannot use any wireless communication devices such as mobile phones when you are driving, even if it is hands-free unless it is an emergency.  

To get a learner’s license you must finish the first six hours of the driver education course and have a high school diploma or a degree that is equivalent to one.

You must show proof that you have attended school 90% of the time in the spring or fall semester and your last report card. 

Make an appointment and go to a driver license office with a parent or legal guardian and show proof of the following things: U.S citizenship or lawful presence, Texas residency, identity, Texas vehicle registration, insurance, and a Texas Driver Education Certificate.

A Verification of Enrolment and Attendance issued by the school that you go to must also be brought or you can present a GED instead. 

Provisional

If you are between 16 and 17 years of age you are able to apply for a provisional driver’s license which will limit you in some ways in comparison to a full driver’s license that you can get at 18.

When you turn 18, your provisional license will automatically be upgraded to a regular driver’s license. 

The provisional license is different from a full one in the way that you are not allowed to drive a car with more than one passenger who is under the age of 21 and not a member of the family.

You are also not able to drive between midnight and 5 am unless you need the car to get to work or to a school activity within these hours, medical emergencies are also exempt from this rule. 

To apply for a provisional, you must have completed the behind-the-wheel part of the driver education course as well as the Impact Texas Teen Driver Program which was covered in more detail earlier. You must also have passed your driver’s test. 

You will need to go to a driver’s license office in person per appointment and bring the completed driver’s license application that you can find online as well as at these offices if you are unable to access it.

A parent or legal guardian must come with you and bring the application that they have signed.  

The documents you will need to bring with you are the application, proof of identity, evidence of lawful presence, Texas Driver Education Certificate of Completion, passing of driving test evidence, and evidence that you completed the Impact Texas Driver Program. 

Once the documents have been approved, they will ask you to provide your thumbprints, signature, and a picture for your license and records.

You will also have to pass the vision exam and pay the application fee which is $16 and is the same price as a learner’s license. If you are taking the driving skills test you will need to show proof of vehicle insurance. 

Robert Miller
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