September 25, 2021

Drivers License Requirements in the United States

Drivers license requirements will differs not only from state to state, but also depending on what kind of license you want and also on your eligibility. Some common requirements are that the person should be of sound health, have acceptably good vision and hearing and normal ability to react to stimuli and not suffer from any mental or physical disability. These are the basic requirements, but sometimes a handicapped license may be offered, provided the handicap does not seriously affect the person’s ability to effectively handle a car. That’s why all DMV’s have a mandatory driving test and passing this test is the most important of all drivers license requirements.

drivers license requirements

There are five types of licenses in the United States, each with its own unique application. We have – passenger car license, restricted license, chauffer and taxi driver license, motorcycle license and enhanced license. All these licenses have their own unique drivers license requirements, and age will differ for different states, and you will have to check with your local DMV for that. Some state, like Kansas and Iowa, will offer learner’s license for as young as fourteen years of age, while others will insist on sixteen years. And they will have different probation periods for learner’s and restricted licenses, before they can upgrade to an unrestricted license.

The license requirements are pretty much the same for all states and differ only in age requirement. A passenger car license will entitle you to drive a car anywhere and with any number of people and this is an unrestricted license, and one of the drivers license requirements to get this license is that you should outgrow the restricted license granted to you. Restricted refers to learners license and usually requires the presence of an adult in the car and once you have completed the minimum time requirement as mentioned in your state laws, you can upgrade to an unrestricted license.

Motorcycle licenses are not covered under passenger car licenses and have to be applied for separately. To qualify for a taxi driver’s license, you must satisfy some drivers license requirements, like for instance, the minimum age may be higher. This is because taxi companies do not want to risk the safety of their vehicles by giving them to inexperienced drivers. So the drivers license requirements for these are stricter and in some states, the minimum age to become a taxi driver can be as hig.

Additional information at:

Drivers License Requirements

Whether you’re a teen driver, an adult driver, a non-American, or new resident to a state, there are established driver’s license requirements you’ll need to meet to get and keep a license. Whenever possible, use your state’s DMV website as a primary resource for information on the type of driver’s license requirements that pertain to you:

  • Download license forms (new drivers, renewals, new residents)
  • View and download driver’s manuals
  • Take sample driver’s tests online
  • Get DMV contact information
  • Schedule your driver’s test
  • Get safe driving tips.

Teen Drivers

Teen driver’s license requirements are some of the stiffest. Why? Teens are inexperienced behind the wheel, can have poor reaction times, and often exercise poor judgment when it comes to peer influence.  Basic requirements for teen driver’s licenses include:

  • Meet age requirements
  • Successfully complete a driver’s education course
  • Get a learner’s permit
  • Log a predetermined number of hours of practice driving with a legal guardian
  • Adhere to driving restrictions, including number of passengers, limits on night driving, limits on distance from home, etc.
  • Pass the written, road, and vision tests
  • Get a provisional license
  • “Graduate” to a permanent license (usually at age 18)
  • Pay DMV license fees.

Some of the above are part of many state’s “graduated” or provisional driving programs, specifically designed for adults under age 25.

Adult Drivers

It’s not always a teen that needs a new driver’s license. Some adults (over age 25) may be applying for a permanent license for the first time or following a two-year or more lapse in licensure (think: military personnel and city-dwellers as examples). In these cases the adult driver’s license requirements can differ from those of teens. For example, adult drivers may not be required to complete a driver’s education program and they are not subject to graduated or provisional license programs.

  • Prove your identity
  • Successfully complete the written, road, and vision tests
  • Pay any licensure and/or DMV fees required.

Renewal Drivers License

Requirements for renewing your driver’s license are usually simple:

  • Renew online, by phone, or by mail. This may differ depending on your state’s requirements.
  • Pay any required fees
  • Present proof of identification or residence as necessary or when requested.

New Residents

New resident driver’s license requirements are also fairly consistent and include:

  • Apply in person for new license following a grace period (30 to 90 days depending upon the state)
  • Provide proof of residence (utility bill, mortgage/rent bill)
  • Provide proof of identification
  • Present a current driver’s license from another state
  • Pass required tests (written, vision, and road if required)
  • Pay license and DMV fees

Young adults under age 25 may have additional license requirements when moving to a new state with a valid driver’s license.

Be prepared. Visit your state DMV website to ensure you are able to meet all the requirements for your driver’s license.