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

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    1) Choose Your License

    You must obtain a driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle on Maryland roads. In most cases the people needing to get their first Maryland driver's license will be those who are new residents of the state or first-time drivers. The state offers the following types of licenses:

    • Non-commercial (class A, B, C, and M)―Class A serves most non-motorcycle drivers, while class M is for motorcyclists.
    • Commercial (class A, B, and C)―For commercial drivers.

    No matter how old you are, if you've never been a licensed driver in any state or country, you must complete the Rookie Driver program, which means taking an approved driver's education program and holding a permit before you can apply for your license.

    2) Take a Driver's Education Course

    Younger Than 18―You are required to complete a driver's education program. The only exception is if you've been a licensed driver in another state or country for at least 18 months.

    18 and Older―You'll need to take a driver's ed class unless you've held a license from another state or country for at least 18 months.

    Although you may not be required to take a driver's education class, taking one is quite beneficial. The courses give you safe-driving tips, bring you up to speed on all the new laws, and can help you improve your driving skills.

    3) Prepare for the Test

    To obtain a permit, you first need to pass a written test about driving rules and safety practices. Taking the time to Study the state's driver manual is a great way to get ready to take your test. After studying, you might want to challenge yourself to a few practice tests.

    4) Locate a Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Office

    You'll need to take your written test and pass a vision test at any MVA office.

    5) Make Test-Day Preparations

    Non-Commercial Applicants

    Once test day is at hand, be ready to:

    • Bring your school attendance certificate.
    • Pass a vision test.
    • Take the written test.
    • Provide your Social Security number.
    • Present proof of lawful presence.
    • Show acceptable proof of age, name, and identity.
    • Provide two acceptable proof of residency documents.
    • Complete an application form. If you're under 18, your parent or guardian must sign the paperwork; in some limited situations, an adult employer or another adult may sign instead.
    • Bring payment for the permit fee; in most cases, the cost is $50.

    Commercial Applicants

    Besides following the non-commercial requirements, those who are in this category must also be ready to:

    • Show your valid U.S. Department of Transportation physical card.

    6) Take the Written Test

    Before taking the written test, you should study the state's driver manual and try a few practice tests. You must also have completed the driver's ed requirements, and have all other paperwork on hand.

    Hearing-impaired customers are encouraged to schedule a sign language interpreter by calling (800) 492-4575 (TDD).

    The MVA provides a list of potential language interpreters for your consideration, if you need such a service.

    7) Get a Car

    In order to take the driving exam, you must provide a car that's safe and properly registered. If you need to find such a car and are considering buying a used vehicle, it's a good to order a vehicle history report before you purchase the vehicle. Many times these reports will show you if they have been in prior accidents, been flood damaged, or if they have been used as transportation vehicles such as a taxi or shuttle.

    8) Get Car insurance

    Liability insurance is required to drive a vehicle. Check out our Insurance Center for insurance requirements in Maryland, or get a quote to see if you can get a better deal on your auto coverage.

    9) Take the Driving Test

    If you just moved to Maryland, you can exchange your out-of-state license for a Maryland license without having to take the driving test. However, your license must either be current or have expired less than one year ago, and you must have held the license for at least 18 months. The MVA provides additional information on this matter.

    Everyone who is required to take the road test must make an appointment for the test, which can be taken at full-service MVA locations.

    Once You Pass

    After you pass, you'll receive your license at the MVA office. Your license fee will vary depending on your situation, but for most drivers it's $45. You will be given either a provisional or a full license, depending on your circumstance.

    If You Fail

    If you fail to pass the road test, you can try again the following business day. You can do this up to three times. After that, you'll need to wait at least one week to try again.

    Non-Citizens

    Visitors

    If you're a currently licensed driver from another country who is visiting Maryland, you may legally drive within the state. Be sure to always have your license with you when driving.

    Having an International Driver Permit (IDP) is usually a good idea. An IDP is issued by your home country, and it basically translates your license so it is more understandable to U.S. officers and officials.

    Residents

    When you decide to get for a Maryland license, you'll need to pass the standard vision, knowledge, and road tests. Plus, you'll need to complete an approved alcohol and drug education course. Some applicants must schedule an appointment for their tests by calling (866) 691-2778.

    The MVA offers additional information for out-of-country driver license applicants.

    If you are applying for a Maryland drivers license and you cannot provide proof of U.S. citizen/legal presence documents, you must:

    The Maryland MVA also recommends that you:

    • Apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) with the IRS.
    • Have filed MD income taxes for the last 2 years.
    • Obtain proof of ID documents, such as your current foreign passport.
    • Obtain 2 residency documents, such as:
      • A lease agreement.
      • Utility bills.
      • Bank statements.
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