Unless you're 16 and fresh out of Driver's Education, the thought of applying for or renewing your Texas driver's license is about as pleasant as anticipating a double root canal. No matter how many times you've successfully accomplished the task, you might find yourself scrambling around to make certain you have all you need to avoid making any additional trips to the Department of Safety.
Whether you're one of the first-timers, you've recently relocated to Texas or you're a victim of a wallet theft, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to get your Texas Driver's License (TDL).
Where to Go
If you already have a valid Texas license and only need to renew or change your address, the state allows you to do so online — no need to brave the lines. Simply submit your information on the Department of Safety website, print out your temporary license, and await your new license in the mail. Congrats, you're done!
If you have to apply in person because you are coming from out of state, your license has expired, or you are obtaining your license for the first time, the Texas Department of Safety has a number of locations throughout the Houston metro equipped to renew or issue licenses. The easiest way to find out where to go is to type in your zip code on the department's website, and it will provide you with some nearby options. Depending on the location, you may be able to hold your spot in the queue before you even arrive simply by selecting "Get in Line" option on the location's website.
What to Bring
1. If applying in person, you must present either ONE of the following pieces of primary identification:
- Previously issued TDL or ID card
- Current U.S. Passport
- Foreign passport with a visa
Or TWO of the following pieces of secondary identification:
- birth certificate (original or certified copy)
- Department of State Certification of Birth Abroad (original or certified copy)
Or ONE primary ID and TWO of the following pieces of supporting identification:
- School records
- Insurance policy (valid continuously for the past two years)
- Vehicle title
- Military records (Form DD 214)
- Original or certified copy of marriage license or divorce decree
- Voter registration card (actual card)
- Social Security card (actual card)
- Pilot's license (actual card)
- Concealed handgun license (actual card)
- Temporary receipt for a Texas DL or ID (actual receipt)
- Unexpired photo DL or photo ID issued by a U.S. state
- Expired DL or ID issued by another U.S. state
- Texas Inmate ID card issued by TDCJ
2. Present proof of Social Security Number
3. Present proof of Texas vehicle registration and liability insurance on all vehicles you own.
4. Pass the written, driving and vision examinations
5. Pay the required fee with cash, money order, or a non-temporary check only.
Note: As of March 1, 2010, driver license applicants between the ages of 18 and 24 must complete an approved driver education course and a driving skills test to become a licensed driver in Texas.
Applicants 18 and Under
Applicants aged 18 and under have additional hoops they'll need to jump through. Before getting a provisional license, you must first get a learner license. This permit requires that a licensed driver age 21 or over be seated in the front passenger seat whenever the applicant is operating a vehicle. In addition to the requirements for all applicants listed above, those 18 and under must do the following:
- Present the driver education completion form OR present a Parental Driver Education Affidavit and Classroom Instruction and Behind-the-Wheel Record
- Submit a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance form
- Obtain parental authorization
Applicants Licensed in Other States
In addition to the requirements for all applicants listed above, applicants licensed in other states must do the following:
- Present your VALID out-of-state or out-of-Country (France, Canada or Germany) learner or driver license
- Pass the written, driving and vision tests if your presented license is expired
Fees vary depending on the type of license issued but are typically between $10 and $25. All Department of Safety locations now accept credit cards, so no need to worry about bringing cash or checks.