United States Driver's License Application Guide

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Quick Overview

Unlike other countries, the United States federal government does not issue a national drivers licenses or identification card. Each of the 50 states in the United States of America issue their own driver's licenses and state IDs.

A driver license or state ID is an official government-issued ID form of identification in the United States. In addition to operating a motor vehicle, a U.S. driver’s license can be used as a form of identification for several other purposes such as: opening bank accounts, traveling within the U.S., cashing checks and as proof of legal age to buy alcohol and tobacco. A State ID can be used as a form of identification, but not only a driver’s license can be used to legally operate a motor vehicle.
Overview of Contents
  • Information on Tests: Written, Vision and Road
  • Information on Proof of Legal Immigration Status
  • Primary and Secondary Forms for Identification
  • Difference between a Drivers License and a State ID
  • Application Procedures for all 50 US States

Product Description

Eligibility Requirements:
A written test, road test and vision test are generic requirements for obtaining a U.S. drivers license but each of the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories have their own requirements and application procedures. There are different procedures for out-of-state transfers and renewals and first-time applications. Some states allow foreign licenses to be used a proof of an individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle, therefore not requiring the individual to take the road test again. Different “classes” of licenses depending on what type of vehicle you wish to drive: cars, motorcycles, trucks or commercial vehicles, exist. You may also transfer your out-of-state license to your new home state. The procedure is different from state to state, but in general you have to take the vision test and/or the written test excluding the driving test.

Proof of Immigration Status:
Since 9/11, the federal government has added extra security measures when obtaining many legal documents such as a state identification card, a driver license, and/or a social security card. The Real ID Act is a new federal law that made it a requirement to show proof of legal immigration status in the U.S. to obtain a drivers license from any state. As of May 2011, driver licenses issued by the states that don’t meet these requirements will not be accepted as legal identification to gain entry into a federal building or to board an airplane in the United States. (All 50 U.S. states are gradually updating their requirements and starting to request proof of [legal] immigration status in the United States. However, in several states this is still not a requirement.)