How to Get a Driver's License in Texas

By Teo Spengler - Updated April 16, 2018
Businessman Showing His Driving License From Open Car Window

There are a lot of roads in Texas, America's second-largest state, but before you tackle any of them, you'll need to get a Texas driver's license. Obtaining a license in the Lone Star state is no harder than in any other state, but it isn't easier, either. You need to pass a written test, a driving test and a vision test, and also provide lots of documentation.

Tip

To get a Texas driver's license, you must pass a written test, a driving test and a vision test, provide fingerprints and documentation and pay a fee.

Driving in Texas

Getting a driver's license in Texas follows the standard, two-step procedure used in most states. First, you must pass a written knowledge test, then a driving skills road test. You'll also need to fill out an application, get your vision tested, have a photo taken and provide finger prints. In addition, you must prove your identity, your Social Security number and your Texas residency, plus establish your citizenship or legal resident status.

If you own a car, you'll need to show proof of insurance. New residents have to provide evidence of Texas vehicle registration for every vehicle owned if surrendering an out-of-state driver's license. Special Texas requirements for obtaining a license include a certificate showing that you completed the Impact Texas Driver program, which educates drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. Those under 25 years old must also show evidence that they completed a driver education class.

What Is the Test for a Driver's License in Texas?

Texas requires you to pass a written knowledge test to get a license. You can study for it from the Texas Driver's Handbook online. You're also required to take a skills, or driving, test.

When Can You Get Your Driver's License in Texas?

You have to be at least 16 years old to get a driver's license in Texas. If you are moving to Texas from another state, you can continue to drive with your out-of-state license for 90 days, during which time you should apply for a Texas license.

What Documents Do You Need to Get a Driver's License in Texas?

You'll need documents showing your identity, Texas residency and U.S. citizenship or legal residency. A valid passport takes care of most of these requirements, but you may need a rental agreement or a utility bill to prove that you live in Texas. You'll also need certificates showing you have completed the Impact Texas Driver program and, if required, driver's ed classes. Don't forget to fill in the driver's license application and also to bring your Social Security card or an IRS W2 or 1099 form with your SSN on it.

Once your driver's license has been issued, the Department of Public Safety gives you a temporary receipt that you can present if you're stopped by law enforcement while driving. Your new license arrives by mail in a few weeks.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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