How to Get Your US Driver’s License

Getting a driver’s license in the United States typically requires you to go through several steps and licenses. Many states require new drivers to go through a Graduated Drivers License program (GDL).

Depending on your age and which state you live in, you may have to first obtain a learner’s permit, then a provisional license, and finally a full drivers license. You will also have to complete different tests, such as the road test and written test, and follow the different restrictions and requirements that come with each new license.

All of this may sound confusing, that’s why we have created state-specific articles detailing all the information you need to know about how to get your state’s driver’s license.

Can You Skip the Permit and Get a Full Driver’s License Immediately?

Depending on your age, you may be allowed to apply for an unrestricted license immediately without first having to get a permit. This is generally only possible if you’re over 18, and even then, some states still require new drivers of all ages to hold a permit for a limited time.

If completing a state-approved drivers ed course is required, it’s most likely only necessary if you’re under 18, but the exact requirements will vary from state to state.

How to Apply for a Driver’s License

You will need to go to your state’s DMV to apply for your license. You must satisfy the state requirements to be eligible to apply, such as completing the required amount of supervised driving hours and holding your permit for a certain amount of time. The requirements will depend on your age.

To apply for your license, you must provide certain documentation, such as:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of date of birth
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of citizenship of legal presence
  • License application

If you’re over 18 and it’s your first time applying for a license, you are going to have to pass a written knowledge test, vision exam, road skills test, among other requirements.

How Long is a License Valid For?

In most states, a standard drivers license needs to be renewed every 4-8 years. It’s a simple process, but you need to make sure to renew well in time to avoid unnecessary trouble.

State-Specific Driver’s License Guides

Since the process of getting your driver’s license will vary depending on which state you live in, we’ve created in-depth guides for each of the following states to help you know exactly what to expect.

Select your state below to start your journey of getting your adult driver’s license!