Driver's licenses in the United States

In the US, driver’s licenses are issued by the individual states and not the federal government and therefore there are slightly different processes depending on which state you are applying for a license in. You should check for any differences in your US state but generally, the documents required to obtain a driver’s license in the US are detailed below.

Required Documents for Driver’s License


One form of ID

US citizens should use one of the following forms of ID:

  • Valid US passport
  • Original or certified US birth certificate
  • Naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship
  • Consular proof of birth abroad

Non-US citizens can also use their valid passport, accompanied by proof of current temporary status classification from DHS. Alternatively, they can use a permanent resident card or current employment authorization card.

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Proof of any legal name changes

If you have legally changed your name, you will also need to provide proof of the change. The documents that are acceptable as proof of your name change are:

  • A US passport (in your current name)
  • Original or certified copies of marriage certificate
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A document with your Social Security number

You must provide your Social Security number by taking your Social Security card or a W-2 form, paycheck stub, Internal Revenue Service for 1099 or US Military ID.

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Proof of residential address (2 documents required)

You must also two documents that prove your address, which must be from the following:

  • Mortgage statement
  • Voter registration card
  • Vehicle registration or title
  • Utility bill
  • Vehicle or home insurance policy
  • Bank letter
  • Medical or health card

What do you need to get a driving license in the US?

When you want to apply for a driving license in the US, you must firstly pass the written and driving exam. If you pass both elements of the driving test, you can then apply for your full driver’s license by providing the required documents to the DMV.

How can you apply online for a driver license?

There are a number of different ways that you are able to apply for a US driver’s license, one way is to visit the DMV office with the required documents listed above. An easier and more convenient way is to apply online for a driver’s license.

By using the website you can apply for your driver license online if your state allows digital applications, by submitting the relevant documents and providing the required information.

For the majority of US states, you will need to apply for your first US driver’s license at the DMV offices but you may be able to renew your license online with Check through the services listed to find out which transactions you are able to complete online.