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Drivers License – The only ID you will ever need


Continuation of the Settling down in US series. Next comes the Drivers License.

The Drivers License (DL) process could be different across states. But as far as I understand it is almost the same everywhere. From a disclaimer perspective, I am describing the process followed in Broward County, Florida. If anyone knows of the differences with other states through personal experience, do add a comment so that it can help others reading this post.

The DL is needed for…you guessed it right…driving in the US! But above and beyond that it serves as the perfect form of ID. After getting the license done, that is the only document I have provided for address and identity proof. Everyone accepts it!

When: If you have an India drivers license, then you have upto 6 months to get a local drivers license. But, you will need a drivers license to buy a car and register it under your name. So, unless you plan to drive rental cars for 6 months, drivers license should be an ASAP commodity.

Where: There are numerous DMV offices across the state. You can goto any one in the state for the license. I have heard that getting a license without an appointment is time consuming. So, I took an online appointment for a Class E Drivers License. Again, not all DMV offices give out online appointments. So, figure out the one closest to you with an online appointment available.

Also, if your choice of date and time is not available, check back later. I have seen lot of cancellations happen and slots getting freed up. This is partly due to the fact that one just needs to provide the name and email address for booking an appointment. For my own license, I had 3 appointments blocked. The idea was that depending on the work at office, I will goto the one which is most convenient and cancel the others 🙂

What Documents: Two proofs showing your current address. The proofs have to be from different agencies i.e. you cannot get 2 address proofs from the same bank. Also, the address proofs have to be in original (if possible). The DMV is a little fussy about internet printouts which do not look like originals. Possible address proofs are your power bill, water bill, home phone, internet, other utility bill, insurance, bank letter etc. I had provided my renter’s insurance copy and the lease agreement I had with my apartment community.

If you are staying with a friend and don’t have any address proofs in your name, there is a form available on this website which can be used.

Procedure: (1) Be on time (2) Complete the vision test (3) Complete the two online tests (Road signs and traffic laws, I think) (4) Complete the driving test (5) Pay, get the temporary license printout and then head back home.

The original license comes in the mail in around 1-2 weeks.

Important Links:

– Florida DMV for online appointment: http://www.flhsmv.gov/

– Course material for the online tests:

http://cdn.nationalsafetycommission.com/handbooks/2011/florida_driver_2011.pdf

– Document requirements: http://www.gathergoget.com/

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