What are the Requirements for Getting a Driver's License in the United States?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Part of Grand Central Station, there is a secret railway platform underneath the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.  more...

October 22 ,  1962 :  US President John F. Kennedy ordered an air and naval blockade in Cuba.  more...

If you want to drive an automobile legally in the United States, you need to obtain a driver's license. The requirements for obtaining a driver's license vary between states. Generally, one is expected to obtain a license in a state in which one is a resident. In most states, an individual must provide proof that he or she is in the United States legally.

Each state is responsible for setting and enforcing its own driver licensing requirements. To obtain a driver's license, one must pass a driver’s exam in the state in which one is applying. Usually, this exam consists of two parts, a written test and a practical exam. Some states also require driver's license applicants to take and pass a state-approved driver’s education course.

The written portion of a driver's license examination typically consists of questions concerning road signs and road rules. The written exam may also test the applicant’s familiarity with vehicle safety regulations. In some states, the exam may also include questions regarding the proper ways to handle a vehicle in an emergency situation.


Most states provide driver's license applicants with a driver’s manual to study before taking the written test. With this information at hand, passing the written examination is simply a matter of understanding the provided information and memorizing it. It is wise to spend some time reviewing your state’s driver’s manual, even if you feel sure that you are already quite familiar with the information within it. You may be surprised to find some unfamiliar road signs or rules in the manual.

The practical portion of the driver's license examination involves demonstrating skill in operating an automobile. Applicants may be required to show that they are able to drive, turn, back up, and park an automobile safely. They may also be asked to demonstrate a knowledge of automobile controls and how they work. For example, one may be asked to operate the testing vehicle’s turn signals or headlights.

For the practical portion of the driver's license test, an applicant typically needs to be accompanied by a licensed driver. If the applicant fails the practical portion of the driver's license test, that person will need to drive him or her home. This is not a requirement for the written portion of the test. A vision exam is also a part of the driver’s licensing process. In some states, a medical examination may also be required.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Alchemy- You do not need a license to buy a car. Ownership of a vehicle is not dependent on a license to drive. You will need a license to drive the car off the lot, and you may need a license to get a car financed, although this is not always the case. In many cases, you can take out a loan with a passport.

If you were to buy a car with cash you could take the car off the lot right then and there, but it would need to be delivered to an address. For practical purposes, it is best to have a license. If you really want the car, buy it and register it in a licensed driver’s name. You will hold the title, but you will not be the registered driver.

Post 2

Do I need a driver’s license to buy a car? I do not have my license yet, but I found the car I want on a dealership website. I want to buy the car, but I do not want to go to the dealership if it is a waste of time.

Post 1

Why is it when we try to get info on alberta drivers license the info of drivers license in the us states come up.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?