Undoubtedly, the United States of America is a country of motorists. Almost 75% of Americans have vehicles. Moreover, in some American places there is no public transport at all, so having a car is becoming an extremely necessary factor. That’s why so many Americans and foreigners desire to get a driving license in the USA.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for issuing driving licenses in the United States. And besides, to obtain a US driver’s license does not have to be a US citizen or resident. Any foreigner who has reached a certain age has the opportunity to get it.
However, each state has its own minimum age requirements. So in states such as Wyoming, Iowa, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Alaska, Arkansas, Wisconsin, a license can be obtained from the age of 14, while in New Jersey and some other states – from 17. Also, traffic rules, obligations, and fines need to be studied based on the state in which you want to get the document. Accordingly, the cost of taking the test is determined by the states independently. For example, it is $ 48 in Florida, in California – $ 33, in Brooklyn – up to $ 77.
First of all, the driving test generally consists of 2 steps:
- a written test (theory part);
- a road test (practical part).
First of all, the written test includes checking traffic and general safety rules, as well as road signs. To prepare for the exam, the applicant for obtaining a license receives a special driver’s Driver’s Manual, where he can find all the necessary information. There are 46 questions in the test. And for the passing score, it is required to give 39 correct answers.
Also, the written test can be taken not only in English, but also in other foreign languages. Besides, you can even invite a personal interpreter in case of language difficulties.
The test samples, as well as all the instructions, you can find on the official website: https://www.dmv.org/
It is worth adding that everyone has 3 attempts to pass this test successfully. And even if it was not passed the first time, you have the opportunity to retake it on the same day. For each attempt, you have to pay the appropriate fee. It differs in all states: for example, in California – $ 7, and in Florida – $ 10 etcetera.
But after a failed third time, the applicant has to wait 7 days. Only after this period has expired, then he can take the test again.
To register for the written test, you must:
1.Visit the DMV and provide the following documents:
- a valid permanent resident card, certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a foreign passport (who has a tourist, student, and work visa);
- International driver’s license or driving license of your country (if any);
- proof of address;
- a copy of the I-94 form (proof of legal arrival in the USA).
2. Submit the required form and send it along with payment.
3. Take a photo and make a thumbprint.
4. Provide Social Security number and proof of date of birth.
5. Show the original passport.
6. Take a vision test.
Further, after passing the test, you will receive a temporary Learner’s permit. It gives the right to practice driving and prepare for the practical part. But, there are some restrictions for this:
- you can drive only accompanied by a licensed responsible adult who is at least 25 years of age;
- to drive at night is prohibited;
- no passengers allowed.
Moreover, you can prepare for a road test on your own or with the help of an instructor. Payment for classes with an instructor – hourly. So usually the cost of a 2-hour lesson is 50-60 dollars.
Besides, some states demand a mandatory 5-hour pre-licensing course. After that, you receive the MV-278 certificate, which is required to pass the road test.
To pass the practical part, you need to call and pre-register. The rules for passing are exactly the same as for the written test.
In general, the exam usually takes about 10-15 minutes. The maximum number of points is 100, and more than 70 must be collected to pass.
The registration procedure is quite simple. The applicant is required to provide:
- Learner’s permit, which testifies to the passing of the written part.
- Car insurance.
- Registration certificate of the car or rental agreement.
Fortunately for many applicants for a license, they can take the driving test in their own car. Also, you can use a rented car or your friends’ vehicle.
On the day of the exam, the instructor checks the car for serviceability and asks to identify all the necessary parts. Then comes the driving assessment. As a rule, the test takes place in a residential area, where there is quite busy traffic. In the end, the inspector issues an assessment list with points and comments.
After passing the driving test, depending on the state, you can get your license right away or by mail. In addition, for those who get a driver’s license for the first time, in some states, there is probation. Therefore, the driver needs to prove his ability to drive a car during this time.
In conclusion, it is important to point out that for foreigners the validity of a driver’s license is equal to their current US status. Consequently, if the visa runs out, the driver’s license also will be expired.
And although many are intimidated by a large number of rules for obtaining a driving license, in fact, Americans are very loyal in this matter. And getting an American license is much easier than in some other countries.