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  • Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Indiana

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    1) Choose Your License

    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:

    NOTE: Teens must get a permit and possibly complete a driver's education course before applying for an Indiana driver license.

    2) Take a Driver's Education Course

    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.

    3) Prepare for the Test

    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.

    4) Locate a BMV Branch

    BMV branches are located throughout the state, and at larger locations you can save time when you schedule an appointment.

    5) Make Test-Day Preparations

    To prepare yourself for test day, be prepared to:

    • Provide two proofs of residency.
    • Provide proof of your Social Security number.
    • Provide a primary and a secondary document from the BMV's list of acceptable documents. The BMV doesn't accept copies.
    • Pay the appropriate fee, which varies according to age and length of license.

    6) Take the Written Test

    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 early.

    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.

    7) Get a Car

    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.

    8) Get Car Insurance

    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.

    9) Take the Driving Test

    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.

    You'll need to make an appointment with the branch to take your road test.

    You must provide your own vehicle for the driving test. BMV personnel will inspect your vehicle's safety equipment, registration, and proof of car insurance before the exam.

    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.

    10) Non-Citizens

    If you're just visiting the state and have a valid out-of-country license, you may legally drive for a short amount of time 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.

    Moving to Indiana From Another State

    After moving into the state you will need to obtain an Indiana driver's license. You will be required to pass a knowledge exam and a vision test. Some drivers may also pass a road test.