Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Texas
Apply for a New Driver's License in Texas
If you're looking to drive legally in Texas, you need to obtain your driver's license right away.
Whether you're a new resident, a first-time driver, or a non-citizen, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) makes it simple to obtain your new license.
New to Texas?
If you're new to Texas, you have 90 days from the time you moved to the state to obtain your Texas driver's license. After that, your out-of-state or out-of-country license will no longer be valid for use in TX.
In order to apply for a license as a new resident, you'll take the same steps as those outlined in “Apply for Your TX Driver's License" below, EXCEPT you will not have to take the knowledge or road tests IF:
- Your driver's license is valid and unexpired.
- Your license is from another U.S. state or territory, OR it's from France, South Korea, Taiwan or Germany.
If your license is from a country other than those listed above, you must take both the written and driving tests.
NOTE: If you have a valid learner license from one of the countries listed above and wish to upgrade to a license in Texas, you'll be required to take the road test but not the knowledge test.
New Military Residents
If you've just moved to TX and you are either active in or recently discharged from the military and your driver's license is expired, you might be able to skip the knowledge and driving tests IF:
- You present a valid military ID card.
- You present proof that your previous state that issued your license has a policy that lets military members drive with expired licenses.
- Contact your previous state to see which documents will suffice.
Types of Texas Driver's Licenses
Texas offers the following full, non-commercial license types:
- Class C:
- The Class C license allows you to drive regular, noncommercial passenger cars and trucks weighing less than 26,001 lbs.
- Noncommercial Class A:
- The Noncommercial Class A license covers vehicles over 26,001 lbs. with towed vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs.
- Noncommercial Class B:
- You can drive a single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 lbs. or more. You can also tow a vehicle under 10,000 lbs. or a farm trailer less than 20,000 lbs. This license also authorizes you to drive a bus seating 24 passengers or more.
If you're interested in applying for another type of license, check out the following pages:
- Teen Drivers
- Covers licensing requirements for teen drivers, including Driver's Ed, permit, and testing requirements.
- Learn how to add a motorcycle endorsement onto your license.
- Commercial Vehicles
- Find out how to get your Class A, B, and C commercial driver license (CDL), as well as how to add endorsements.
Apply for Your New Texas Driver's License
Texas does not require drivers 18 years old and over to have a learner license prior to applying; however, if you are getting your license for the first time, you'll need to have a learner license to practice for your driving test. To learn all about getting a Texas learner's permit, please visit our Driver Permits in TX page.
Once you're ready to apply for your new driver's license, visit your local driver license office and:
- Submit a completed Application for Texas Driver License or ID Card (Form DL-14A).
- Present appropriate proof of ID. The TX DPS provides a full list of accepted documents, but expect to bring:
- Proof of identity, which could include:
- Proof of Social Security number (e.g., Social Security card, W-2 or 1099)*.
- Proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (e.g., birth certificate, I-94).
- Proof of residency (2 documents) (e.g., current mortgage statement, medical card, etc.)*.
- If you are a new resident, present proof of TX vehicle registration.
- Present proof of auto insurance for each vehicle you own OR an affidavit that you don't own a vehicle.
- Surrender your out-of-state or out-of-country license (if applicable).
- Present a certificate completion from a driver education course, if you are between 18 to 24 years old.
- See “Driver Education Requirements" below if you are between 18 to 24 years old.
- Proof of completion exempts you from taking the knowledge test.
- This is NOT required for new residents transferring a valid, unexpired license from another state or country.
- Pass the knowledge exam and driving test (unless you're exempt).*
- Pay the $25 new driver's license fee.
- Applicants 85 years old and over pay a $9 driver's license fee.
- Disabled veterans may be able to waive the fee. (See “Fee Exemption for Disabled Veterans" below.)
Once you've met all of the above requirements, you'll be issued a receipt which you can use to drive legally until your new license arrives. Your permanent Texas drivers license will be mailed to you within 3 weeks.
Your license expires 6 years after the issue date on your birthday.
* If you do not pass the knowledge and driving test on your first try, the driver license office will hold your application for 90 days, and you'll have 3 chances to pass the tests. If you do not pass the tests, you'll need to begin the driver's license application process over and pay a new fee.
NOTE: You may be able to schedule your appointment and/or driving test online; however, this option is not available for all offices. Check the Texas DPS online scheduling page to see if this is an option for your local office.
Driver Education Requirements
If you are applying for a first-time license in Texas and you're between 18 to 24 years old, you're required to take an adult driver education course AND watch the Impact Texas Teen Drivers (ITTD) informational video.
You have 2 options for adult driver education training:
- A course developed for adults, which is offered online or in the classroom. The entire course is 6 hours.
- Driver education course offered by a driver training school. (This course has more classroom and behind-the wheel training and is traditionally offered to younger drivers.)
For more information about the ITTD program, take a look at our guide on teen driver's licenses in Texas.
Military Veterans and Texas Driver's Licenses
If you are a veteran, you may qualify for a fee exemption (if disabled) and may be able to add a veteran designation to your new license.
If you are a disabled veteran, the Texas DPS will waive your driver's license fee IF:
- You were honorably discharged from the military.
- You are at least 60% disabled due to military service.
- You are provided compensation from the U.S. due to your disability.
If you meet the above qualifications, you can get your fee waived by presenting one of the follow documents at the time of application to confirm your disability status:
- A signed letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that confirms your disability status.
- Official documentation that proving the conditions above.*
*If you get disability compensation but you don't have a letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, you'll need to provide verification of your disability by your military branch.
You are eligible to get a veteran designation on your new Texas driver's license if you are a veteran who has been honorably discharged from one of the following U.S. military branches:
- Air Force.
- Coast Guard.
- Marine Corps.
- TX National Guard.
To get the designation, present ONE of the following documents at your local driver license office:
- Letter from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs verifying your disability.
Non-Citizens and Texas Driver's Licenses
As a non-citizen, you will apply for a license in the same way as a U.S. citizen (see “Apply for Your TX Driver's License" above). However, you must prove lawful presence in the U.S. in order to obtain a driver license, and accepted documents vary based on your status.
The Texas DPS provides a full list of accepted documentation for you to check ahead of time to make sure you bring the right document(s).
You'll be issued a limited-term driver license if you are NOT one of the following:
- U.S. citizen.
- U.S. national.
- Lawful permanent resident.
Limited-term licenses lapse on the DHS-determined expiration date of your lawful presence.
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