Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Indiana
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As a teen, first-time adult driver, or new Indiana resident, sorting through your driver's license options can be a bit confusing. The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) offers the following license types:
- Class C: Operator's License―For full driving privileges to operate most standard passenger vehicles on Indiana roads.
- Class C: Chauffeur License
- Class M: Motorcycle License
Younger than 16―Driver's education is a requirement.
16 and Older―You don't have to complete a driver's education course before applying for your driver's license. However, taking a supplemental course such as the one offered by our sponsor can help give you the skills and confidence you need to be a safe driver.
To prepare for the written test, you'll want to review the Indiana Driver's Manual, which is available online and at your local BMV branch. When you're finished, consider taking a few practice tests to see test your knowledge.
BMV branches are located throughout the state, and at larger locations you can save time when you schedule an appointment.
To prepare yourself for test day, be prepared to:
- Provide two proofs of residency.
- Provide proof of your Social Security number.
- Provide one primary and one secondary document (or two primary documents) from the BMV's list of acceptable documents. The BMV doesn't accept copies.
- If you're younger than 18, you'll need to have a parent or legal guardian with you to sign and have notarized the financial responsibility agreement affidavit on the application.
- Pay the appropriate fee, which varies according to age and length of license.
You must successfully complete a short, multiple-choice exam that tests your knowledge of traffic maneuvers, signs, and laws. All of the information you need to pass this test is covered in the Indiana Driver's Manual as well as any state-approved driver's education courses.
Once you're ready to take the test, make an appointment with your nearest BMV branch. Be sure to bring the requirements listed above, and arrive at least one hour before the close of business.
NOTE: Accommodations are available for those with special needs. Contact your local BMV office to request accommodations such as an ASL test or a test administered in your native language.
Once You Pass
The BMV will issue you a learner's permit to use when you practice driving with someone who has the same class of license. You must hold your learner's permit for at least 60 days before you can apply for your operator's license.
If You Fail
You're allowed three chances to pass the written test, so discuss options for your retest date with the examiner.
Although you'll have access to a vehicle when you take a driver's training program, you'll eventually want to purchase your own vehicle.
When buying your first car, it's a good idea to spend some time thinking about your needs. What is your budget? If it's limited, then maybe a used car would work for you. Do you need special accommodations, such as a vehicle big enough to hold passengers in a carpool? Take your time looking at available vehicles and don't forget to request a vehicle history report (VHR) before making your purchase.
You must have a valid car insurance policy before operating a motor vehicle, even if you're a new driver practicing to take the test to earn your first license. Visit our Insurance Center for help finding the most affordable policy for your needs―and one that meets minimum coverage requirements.
You aren't required to take the driving test if:
- You are a new resident with a valid driver's license from another state. You can simply exchange your current license for the equivalent operator's license.
- You have completed an approved driver's education course with a grade of B or higher in both the classroom and the behind-the-wheel sections. During the course, you can opt to take the roadway skills test if the school participates in the BMV's roadway skills test waiver program, and if you pass you won't need to take a driving test when you apply for your license.
The driving test is free, but you'll need to make an appointment with the branch to take your road test.
During the driving test, you will demonstrate basic tasks such as parking, turning, changing lanes, and signaling. You will not be asked to break any traffic laws during the exam and the testing official will not try to "trick" you into making a mistake. The exam is designed to be as fair and objective as possible.
Once You Pass
The BMV will issue you your operator's license. The license will expire on your birthday every two, three, or six years depending on your age (two years for drivers 85 and older; three years for drivers 75 to 84 years old).
If you're younger than 18, your license will include a probationary restriction. After 90 days―and you turn 18―you may go back to any license agency and have the restriction removed. The fee is $16.
If You Fail
The BMV official will ask you to spend some more time practicing before retaking the test. You can retake the test two weeks after you fail, and you have three chances to pass.
If you're just visiting the state and have a valid out-of-country license, you may legally drive for up to one year in the state. Keep your license with you at all times.
You'll also need an International Driving Permit. Your home country issues these, and they help translate your out-of-country license for U.S. officials.
How to Apply as a Non-Citizen
You must first contact a BMV branch to begin the Central Verification Process (CVP) to confirm your immigration eligibility. If your status is acceptable, the BMV will give you a temporary permit to keep for at least 60 days before applying for your license.
Be prepared to take the following steps once you're ready to apply for your license:
- Meet primary identification requirements as given in the list of acceptable immigration documents.
- Pass the vision, written, and driving tests.
- Pay the appropriate fee.
If you're successful in obtaining an operator's license, you may still keep your foreign-issued license.
For more information, call (317) 233-1900.
NOTE: If you wish to obtain a Social Security number, submit an application to the Social Security Administration along with documents to provide age, identity, immigration status, and work eligibility. For more information, call (800) 772-1213.
After moving into the state you have 60 days to obtain an Indiana driver's license. You will be required to pass a knowledge exam and a vision test. If your out-of-state license has been expired for more than three years you must also pass a road test.
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