Driver’s License in United States of America
Driver’s License is issued by the individual states and territories in the United States and not by the Federal Government. This is applicable to WashingtonD.C. also. Driver’s license is obtained by the vehicle owners from the state where they reside but it is recognized and accepted for driving in the other states and Canada.
In the events of traffic violations, the other states are authorized to cancel the driving license of the vehicle owner or the driver. The process of getting the license issued is more or less the same in all the states but there are some exceptions. The commercial driver’s license process however is standard and governed by a federal regulation.
Driver’s license is a must for you to be able to operate a vehicle, be it a car or a motorcycle. However, the license is widely used in United States for identification purposes. There are not too many things that you can use for the purpose of identification and therefore driver’s license is widely accepted as standard photo identification. It could be used at the stores for making credit card payment, while taking a flight, while buying alcohol, or while visiting a bar. In fact, there are many places where only driver’s license is accepted as the authentic photo identification. Even passport is rejected in such places.
How to apply for Driver’s License?
The license is issued by each state separately and the process may be different for different states. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the government authority which issues driver’s license in the states. You cannot apply for the driver’s license online but you can download driver’s manual which will help you understand the rules and regulations related to driving on the roads. You can get the driver’s manual from the DMV office also. In some states, you can only get the driver’s license if you have a Social Security Number. If you cannot get the SSN you will need to apply for Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) after getting a letter from SSA. ITIN can be used to get the driver’s license in some states but some do not issue it without SSN.
Written Test – This is the first step towards getting the driver’s license issued. It is advisable that you go through the driver’s manual thoroughly before appearing for the written test. Once you are confident about your knowledge you can go to the closest DMV office and take the test. The test mostly has multiple choice questions and usually there is no time limit. After clearing the test you will be issued learner’s license to operate the vehicles. With the learner’s permit you will be allowed to drive only when another driver with a valid license is with you in the front passenger seat.
Road Test – You can appear for a road test after gaining some driving experience using the learner’s permit. Depending upon your state of residence, there may be a minimum waiting period before you can apply for a permanent driver’s license after getting the learner’s permit. Once you clear the road test successfully, you will be issued a permanent driver’s license.