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

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    1) Choose Your License

    If you've recently moved to the state, or you just getting ready to take the wheel for the first time ever, you must obtain an Ohio driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle on Ohio roads. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) provides the following types of licenses:

    2) Take a Driver's Education Course

    Despite the fact that taking a driver's education class isn't required for those in this category, doing so can make you a better driver. These courses teach safe driving techniques and inform you about all the driving laws.

    3) Prepare for the Test

    Take the time to study the Digest of Ohio Motor Laws to get ready for your written exam. When you feel ready, take some practice tests to see how you'll do.

    4) Locate a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Office

    Visit your nearest driver examination station to take your written and driving tests.

    Although appointments aren't taken for written tests, you'll need to make an appointment for your driving tests. You may do make an appointment through the driver exam station or by going online to the appointment site.

    5) Make Test-Day Preparations

    On the day of the test, you must bring the following documents with you:

    • Evidence of your full legal name.
    • Date of your birth.
    • Social Security Number (if you've ever been assigned one).
    • Proof of legal presence (U.S. Birth Certificate, valid U.S. Passport/Passport Card, Naturalization Papers, USCIS documents).
    • Proof of an Ohio residency. (P.O. Boxes are not acceptable. See Acceptable Documents.)

    6) Take the Written & Vision Test

    After you've studied the driver handbook and hopefully taken some practice tests, head to an exam station to take your written test and pay an applicable fee (depending on your age.)

    You will also be required to take a vision test.

    NOTE: The written test is available in many languages. Interpreters are available, too. Contact your nearest driver exam station for more information.

    7) Get a Car

    You must furnish a car that's safe to operate in order to take the road exams that consists of two parts:

    • Driving test.
    • Maneuverability test.

    Regarding your car. If you car is not safe to operate, the examiner will refuse to administer the tests. If you need to find a suitable car and are considering buying a used car, it's smart to obtain a vehicle history report prior to purchasing the vehicle. That report could show you if a car has a clear title, if it has been flood-damaged, or if it has been used as a taxi or shuttle.

    8) Get Car Insurance

    You can't drive without having proof of financial responsibility. The easiest way to accomplish this is by having a car insurance policy. See what the best rates are for you.

    9) Take the Driving Tests

    In most cases, if you currently hold a valid driver's license from another state, the BMV will waive the driving test requirement. However, if you have any driving restrictions place on your current license, you may have to take the tests.

    Everyone who needs to take the driving tests must make an appointment beforehand.

    Next of Kin Notification

    The BMV now allows drivers to register their emergency contact information with the agency. By doing so, you enable law enforcement officials to more quickly notify a family member, guardian, or friend if you're seriously injured in an accident, or are unable to communicate. Register for this service online or at any license agency location.

    Non-Citizens

    If you're visiting Ohio and hold a valid driver's license from another country, you may drive in the state for a short time. Be sure to have your license with you whenever you're driving.

    It might be a good idea to get an International Driver's Permit issued by your home country. The permit translates your license to make it easily readable to U.S. officials, and it should be carried with you at all times.

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