Whether or not you have an International Driver’s License, you will still need to obtain a Texas Driver’s License as a resident in our great state. Don’t worry, it is very easy to get a License here and remember, you already have one in your home country, so this will be a piece of cake.
The first an foremost thing you will need to do is apply for a Social Security Card! Make sure to do this as soon as possible. The Social Security Office gets very busy and closes at 4pm. The office is usually open from Monday to Friday. I would suggest you wait until the 2nd week to go to the office to make sure that their computer system shows your immigration status. Don’t know how to get a Social Security Card? No problem!
Once you have your Social Security Number and have received the paper copy (a permanent copy will be mailed to you within two weeks) you are ready to register for a Texas Driver’s License! Yay! Follow this link to take you to the Texas Department of Public Safety page to fill out your application for a License as a Foreign Student or Non-Resident Visitor! You will need to bring all of your documentation, including a bank statement with your Host Family’s address, a bank statement or your SSN paperwork/card, your I-20 if you got one at the training school, an I-94, if you received one at training school, your passport, your US Visa, your DS-2019 form, and anything else you have received as part of being a program participant.
Step 1: The Driving Course
The Texas Driver Handbook is also available online so that you can review a little bit of the rules before you take your online course! If you are below the age of 25, you will need to register to take an online driving course and this school is the one that I would suggest! This is the first of a 3 step process to get a license.
Step 2: The Paper Test (online)
This course will provide the 6 hours of instruction as well as the written test which will be given at the end of the course. You will then need to visit the DPS website for San Antonio (please call the number listed of the closest location to make sure that the rules haven’t changed) and schedule an in-person driving test. You will need to bring your own car. I have included the link above which outlines all of the paperwork that is required to obtain a TXDL.
If driving is part of your au pair duties, your host family should pay for you to be a Texas Driver! The cost for the class and paper test is $49 and is on sale now, but can be up to $70. After you have completed the online course, you will be prompted to take a driving test. This test is done online as well. You have three attempts to take this test, but don’t worry, You will pass! Be confident! The completion of this test is the second part of the driver’s license process. You will receive a paper certification that acknowledges that you completed the online course and that you successfully passed the written exam.
Step 3: Impact Texas Drivers (online)
ALL Drivers applying for a driver’s license in Texas, must take this FREE online course. It does take about 4 hours to go through each of the videos and answer the questions. For more information about this course, check out this IMPACT link. This is an informational video geared towards first time drivers in this state and is especially important because some Texas roads have the highest speed limits compared to other states. You will receive this completed certificate to your email and you must print this out before Step 4! This certificate is only valid for 90 days, so the sooner you get to Step 4, the better!
Step 4: In Person Driving Test
Once you have printed out your Course Completion, Paper Test, Impact Certificate, you can begin the process of participating in an in-person driving test with a certified instructor. In order to participate in this test, you must take ALL of your documentation to the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Driver’s License office. (Please research to make sure that you are able to obtain a driver’s license in each office as certain offices to not distribute licenses and manage other driving issues!) In order to make an appointment for the Practical Driving Test, you must show up in person and make an appointment. This is also the time that they will take your Photograph for your license, so if you want to look nice, now is the time! Often, appointments can be made the same day or within two or three days. But ALL foreigners must go in person to schedule the test with ALL of your documentation. You will need to show that you have car insurance or that the car is insured and you MUST bring your own vehicle! They do not have a car there for you to drive! Please make sure that you take all of your documentation so you do not have to return on a different day.
The cost of obtaining the actual license is $25. (Cheaper than overseas!!) If you are above 25, the process is a little different, depending on which country you are from and you can coordinate with the DMV directly. Once you have completed and passed your practical driving test with an instructor, you will be issued a paper driver’s license and a formal license will be mailed to you within two weeks!
Keep in mind that Texas will not give a drivers license to someone who does not have a valid visa less than 90 days from your last working day! Yay! You did it!
Now start practicing and get on the road. Half of the battle with driving is just knowing where to go and the other is confidence. The more you practice and learn where things are, the more you will feel like a confident driver! Happy Driving and Good Luck!
Thanks for reading! xo, pooja
** This is part of a series on creating a Family Manual for a successful year of hosting an au pair. For more posts by Pooja Palimar like this one, please visit the Family Manual tab to the right.
Monday, 16 October 2017 8:04 PM