Who needs a drivers license? Anyone who legally plans to drive on the roads of any country. Can tourists get a U.S driver’s license? Yes. But there is a caveat, okay there are a few of them and it is only when a tourist checks all the boxes that a U.S driver’s license is issued.
For tourists who do not plan to stay more than 60 days, there may be no need for this document, but it all depends on the DMV (department of motor vehicles) in the state you plan to drive in. While some states allow tourists to use their foreign driver’s license along with the International Driving Permit, others require the United States issued license. We have compiled all you need to know to obtain this document.
Visit the Nearest DMV with Required Documents
The DMV is in every state across America and they are the department overseeing vehicle registration and driver licensing. Locate the DMV in your state of residence to make an official application for a U.S driver’s license.
To begin the process to get a United States driver’s license you have to present the following documents:
Passport and Visa
As a tourist, you get a non-immigrant visa that allows you to stay for a specified duration. This visa will serve as a means to identify you are who you claim to be. Also, your passport will be needed too to get your vital information including your date of birth, age, legal status, and others.
The 1-94 Form
The 1-94 form is a document that visitors are required to complete. It details identification information as well as one’s arrival/departure information. As a tourist, you would have been issued this form electronically or in print on arrival to the States. But in case you don’t have it, access it here. After filling this out it should be printed and presented at the DMV along with other required documents. Note that a U.S driver’s license can only be issued for the duration of time a tourist would be in the country.
Foreign Driver’s License
Your home driver’s license is merely used to confirm your identity, date of birth and other vital details. If you don’t have a DL from your country, you may have to provide another document to confirm your identity. Be sure to check with the DMV in your state as requirements vary from state to state.
Documents for Address Confirmation
Finally, tourists are expected to provide documents that show proof of residency and a mailing address you can be reached through. You need 2 of these. A bank statement addressed to you can suffice, and an electricity bill too.
As a tourist on a B-2 visa, you are not required to present SSN as your type of visa doesn’t mandate this. Now that you have all the required documents, it’s time to prepare for a driver’s license knowledge test.
The DMV Knowledge Test
It is good practice to prepare for the test before going directly to a driver’s license centre for the test. Visit the local DMV website in your state and download the study material. Take your time to learn the Dos and Don’ts by reading page to page and then get on the road to practice. When you’re up to speed with the guide it’s time to take the test.
How to Pass the DMV Knowledge Test
Choose a driver’s license centre around you and find out if you need to make an appointment or the test can be done on a walk-in basis. Whatever the case, make sure to arrive early on the day of the test. You will be better off relaxed and ready to get it done properly. Go along with the documents listed earlier as these would be used to process your application.
Before the test proper, you will be given an eye examination using industry-standard equipment. After this, you’ll be given a ticket and directed to a computer site for your test. The test will begin as soon as you acknowledge your readiness on the monitor.
For every question, there are multiple answers and each question is usually accompanied by images. Select an answer and confirm selection, you will be notified if it’s correct or not before the next question pops up. Note that you can skip a question you’re not familiar with, only answering the ones you are sure of. Once you get the required number of points you have now passed the DMV permit test and can proceed to make an appointment for a road test.
The Road Test (Final Stretch)
The road test is all about your ability to practice what you already know in theory. It’s a bit tricky for tourists because there may be differences in what obtains in your country and the United States of America. So you want to get some practice done before the test. For tourists who have little or no driving experience they will be given a learner’s permit that allows them to practice on the roads. You will, however, need to have a supervisor in the car who is over 21 and has a valid driver’s license.
Whether you have not driven before or you have some driving experience, the road test supervisor will be looking out for essential driving skills to pass the test. These include:
- Parallel parking
- Changing lanes
- Checking blindspots
- Obeying road signs
- Driving on the right side of the road.
And the list goes on. See more about passing your DMV test.
When you’re ready for the road test, go to the DMV centre where your identification documents are to complete your application. You will be required to come along with an insured car, and make sure the vehicle is also fit for the exercise. Note that no supervisor expects you to pull off some Fast and Furious manoeuvres. Safe driving and confidence behind the wheel are the main focus.
Once you pass the test, you are issued a U.S driver’s license for the duration of time that is stipulated in your 1-94 arrival/departure form.