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How To Get A Driver’s License

If you already have a driver’s license from another country, or have taken a course, you may apply for a driver’s license at the local Department of Motor Vehicles, or “DMV”, in your city or town.

It is strongly advisable that you make an appointment before visiting a DMV field office. Without an appointment you risk standing in long lines, possibly for one to two hours at the busier field offices.

Learning to Drive:

If you do not know how to drive, you will need to go to driving school. Private driving schools and local community colleges offer driving courses.

Driving Tests:

In order to obtain a driver’s license in the U.S. you will normally need to take the following tests:

  • a written test
  • a driving test
  • an eye exam

The written test contains questions about signs and signals, traffic rules and drunk-driving laws. You may obtain a copy of the driver’s manual to study before taking the test by calling or contacting the DMV in your state:

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:

website: http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/
en espanol: http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/Spanish/index.html
tel. (Miami/Dade County): 305-375-2871

Driver’s Manuals (in english y en espanol): http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/handbooks/

California Department of Motor Vehicles:

Home Page: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dmv.htm

Addresses and phone numbers for all Ca. field offices: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/fo/fotoc.htm

Driver’s Manuals: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/driver_handbook_toc.htm

New York State DMV:

A useful online manual and general introduction to the rules of driving: http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/brochure.htm

Identification:

On the day of your test you will need to bring several pieces of identification, normally:

  • your social security number (if you have one) or I-94 card (if non-immigrant) or alien registration card (green card)
  • your passport
  • your country’s drivers’ license (without this you may need to attend traffic school before taking the test – contact your local DMV beforehand)

    Exception:

    The State of California requires that you bring a Social Security Card with you. If you do not have a social security card you must first apply for a Social Security Card from the Social Security Administration (a branch of the federal government) and if you are denied a card, bring the official denial form with you to the DMV.

Different states have different required documents to bring with you to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Before taking your test, be sure to contact the website or field office in the state in which you wish to apply to determine the exact documents you will need.

Florida DMV document requirements:

http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ddl/faqkeys.html#NUSC

California DMV document requirements:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#2500

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