How to Apply for a Texas Driver License

September 29, 2020

You may use our interactive REAL ID Document Check Application to assist in preparing you for your Driver License Office Visit. Just follow the steps, and at the end, you will have a customized checklist of the documents to bring for your visit.

The Department issues driver licenses valid for up to eight years to Texas residents 18 years of age and older. The Texas Driver’s Handbook is available online to help you qualify for a Texas driver license. You will need to provide proof of the following to apply for a driver license:

  1. U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence
  2. Texas Residency
  3. Identity
  4. Social Security Number*
  5. Evidence of Texas Vehicle Registration* for each vehicle you own. Registration must be current. Visit Texas DMV vehicle registration for more information (New Residents who are surrendering an out-of-state driver license only)
  6. Proof of Insurance** for each vehicle you own

*You will need to provide your Social Security Number (SSN). It will be verified electronically with the U.S. government. If it cannot be verified, your driver license cannot be issued or renewed. Learn more about this process at our Social Security Number website.

**If you do not own a vehicle, you will sign a statement affirming this.

You may download this brochure for information to assist you in determining which documents you may have that will meet these requirements. 

Additionally, you will need to provide evidence of completion of:

  1. Impact Texas Driver (ITD) if you will be taking a driving test for the issuance of your driver license**
  2. A six-hour adult Driver Education course, if you are 18 through 24 years of age  (Does not apply to new residents who are 18 years of age or older and surrendering a valid, unexpired out-of-state driver license)

Once you have gathered the necessary documents and completed the required courses, you will need to do the following:

  1. Complete the driver license application before arriving at your local office (This form is also available at all driver license offices).
  2. Make an appointment at a driver license office.
  3. Provide the following documentation to the license and permit specialist:
    1. Application for the issuance of a driver license,
    2. U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence,
    3. Texas Residency, and
    4. Identity.
  4. Provide your signature for DL or ID.
  5. Provide your thumbprints.
  6. Have your picture taken.
  7. Pay the application fee.
  8. Pass the vision exam.
  9. Take and pass the knowledge and driving tests. You may complete the testing requirements at the DL office by scheduling an appointment online or through a Third Party provider. Read about testing in other languages and driving test requirements

The following applicants have additional requirements. Select below for more information:

**The certificate of completion must be dated within 90 days prior to taking the driving skills test.

New Texas Residents

New residents who have recently moved to Texas and hold a valid driver license or license not expired over two years from another state or country should read the information found on our New Texas Residents page.

Teen Driver Applicants (Under 18 years old)

Individuals under 18 years of age applying for a Texas driver license must meet additional requirements. For more information, visit the Teen Drivers page.

Temporary Visitors and Foreign Students

Temporary visitors and foreign students applying for a Texas driver license must meet additional requirements. For more information, visit the U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Presence Requirement page.

Motorcycle Applicants

For motorcycle applicants, visit our Motorcycle License page for more information on obtaining a Class M license.

U.S. Military Veterans

Some disabled veterans may qualify for a fee exemption on their driver license or ID card. A veteran designation for driver licenses is also available for qualifying veterans. More information about these services, including qualification requirements, is available on the Veteran Services page.

Address Confidentiality Program

For information on the Address Confidentiality Program, visit the Address Confidentiality Program page.

Once your driver license has been issued, you will receive a temporary driver license. Before leaving the driver license office, review the printed information on your temporary driver license for accuracy.  If any of the information is incorrect, notify the License and Permit Specialist. Your new card will arrive in the mail in approximately 2 – 3 weeks. To check the mailing status of your card, visit our mailing status web page.

Note: If you hold an identification card, you are no longer eligible to apply for a driver license unless you surrender your identification card at the time of application.