Every state in US, has it’s own rules and regulations for motor vehicles. Though mostly all basic rules are same, but do verify them by calling or visiting a local DMV office. How to get a driving license?

There are two steps for it.

  1. Written test.

  2. Road Test.

Written test is about traffic laws and signs. There are 36 questions on the test paper. A passing score is at least 31 correct answers. You have three chances to pass . If you failed 3rd time also, then you will have to pay the fee again and you will again get 3 more chances.

Go to the nearest DMV office, or visit DMV site for a booklet on traffic laws and signs (drivers handbook). Study it for the written test.

What is the procedure?

  • Visit a DMV office (make a prior appointment for a faster service).

  • Submit the completed application form, along with the fee.

  • any three of the following –

  1. proof of your date of birth.

  2. original passport.

  3. marriage certificate

  4. visa stamped on your passport

  5. any other id proof

If you have and international license from your country (India), it isn’t much of help. But if you have an Inidna driver’s license, you dont need to take a written test, you may take the road test rightaway.

Nowadays the Government has stopped giving SSN to the people on dependent visa. But they do give an official denial letter, specifying as to why they can’t issue you an SSN card. You can show this denial letter in order to get your driving license. It is accepted at the DMV.

  • Now you can appear for the written test.

Once you pass the written test, you have to give a eye test there itself. If you wear glasses/ contacts, please put them on for the test.  You will then be issued a temporary permit. If you have never been licensed before, you may use this permit to practice driving with an accompanying adult, who is 25 years of age or older, with a valid state license. It is illegal for you to drive alone.

Now you might take classes from some Instructor. Once you are comfortable in driving, you can fix up an appointment over the phone, for the road test.

Road test:

It’s a driving test, where a instructor will test your driving skills. Major criteria is to inspect, how carefully and safely you drive. It normally takes 10-15 min. It is a 100 points test, and minimum 70 is passing. You can get 3 attempts in case you are unable to pass. If you failed 3rd time also, then you have to reappear for the written test.
Upon passing the driving test, an interim license will be issued, which is valid for 60 days. In the mean time you will receive your original photo license via mail.


  • Read the drivers handbook carefully for rules and signs, for the written test.

  • Refer few old question papers, to get an idea of the test.

  • Once you passed the written test, take an appointment for your road test.

  • Take some driving classes from a good instructor, who can teach you the rules and precautions.

  • Here the instructor charges on hourly basis ( anything from $35 to $50), hence they try to prolong the class as much as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask, if you have any query for any signal rules, sign board, or anything else.

  • Ask few friends about the best instructor, before selecting one. Don’t just take the recommendation of your HR person for the instructor.

  • Instructor will provide his car for the road test which will have dual controls.

  • Getting a preferred appointment with DMV is difficult. You may go to any of the DMV offices, where ever you can get an appointment.

  • During your road test, don’t get nervous, or extra conscious. Most important is to follow the signs, speed limits, listen to the instructions, and drive safely. If you can’t understand any instruction, don’t hesitate to ask again. Don’t be in a hurry.

  • If you don’t get the license for a very long time, contact the DMV office.

  • Never ever drive without your driving license.


Note: Indian International Drivers Permit (IDP) works only in certain states. Please make sure it works for the state you are driving in.