I moved to Dallas, Texas in the month of June 2018 (from India). And the first thing, that I needed for anything and everything was a photo ID document. Without any form of Photo ID, life comes to a pause. I also needed a Driver’s License for mobility as the public transport in Dallas and especially Irving isn’t broad as other cities. I remember using DART to commute to my office once and it took 55 minutes as DART has it’s own route, whereas my office is just 6 mins drive from my apartment. When I started researching about the process of getting the license, I was told that it takes somewhere from 1.5 months to 3 months, just to get an appointment at the DMV.
And yet, I managed to start the process on Tuesday and I had my license on Thursday. Here’s how:
1Documentation → (Estimated Time Needed — 0.5 day) The law states that you must present proofs for various sections. You can find the details here and there. I will keep this post specific and to the minimum requirements (after all we are focussed on the fastest way get behind the wheel).
For non-immigrants like me (on H1B or any other Visa), you must present the below :
Application for the Texas Driver’s License:
Fill and Print this from with due diligence.
Proof (1) of Lawful Presence in USA & Proofs (2) of Residency in Texas:
2. Visa (H1B, I-20) Approval
3. Get a Bank Statement (Savings/Checking/Credit Card).
4. Paycheck/Pay Stub.
(for #3 and #4 — It must have your residence address on it — (Proof of Residency in Texas.)
Proof of Identity:
Your foreign passport (Passport from the Country of your Citizenship)
Social Security Card:
Your SSN Card
Vehicle Registration and Insurance:
Assuming that you don’t own one (How could you, without a License? Right?). Make sure to Answer “NO” to the section titled “VEHICLE REGISTRATION AND INSURANCE INFORMATION” while filling the application.
(If you own a vehicle, please submit the registration document, Simple!)
Course Completion Certificate (ITTD — Impact Texas Drivers):
You need to present the ITTD Course Completion Certificate. More about this below.
2Impact Texas Drivers (ITD) Program: (Estimated Time → 1–3 hours). Texas Law mandates that you must complete the Awareness Video applicable to you (per your age). I highly recommend paying undivided attention to the video as Texas witnesses a large number of crashes/road accidents due to distracted driving. You can complete the video here.
Once you complete the awareness video, you will be assigned a completion certificate which is valid for 90 days. (We just need 3 days validity 😂 ).
3Online Test: (Prepartaion Time → 1 day) You must appear the online test that will be taken at the DPS center.
Please thoroughly read the Driver’s Handbook published by the department here. Again, I insist you to read through the book. I learnt a lof of things that I had earlier taken for granted. Once you are done reading, you might want to look at a few pratice questions that I have shared on my Google Drive.
4Appointment: You will need to secure an appointment at the DPS office twice. Once for the Learners Driver’s License and then for the Actual Driver’s License. There’s a hack in securing an appointment which I learnt the hard way. Here’s the secret:
The appointment portal refreshes daily at 7 AM CT for the current day. Wake up before 7 and login to the Get-In-Line portal. Secure the appointment for the earliest slot (get ahead of the traffic and the crowd).
Make sure that you carry all the documents listed above along with the Application Fee. Once you are the DPS center, wait for your turn, submit the documentation and the fees. The officer will collect your biometrics and perform a vision test. You will be then allotted a Computer to appear for the Knowledge Test. I am relying on you to pass the test. All the best!
Once done, you will be called back and issued a Learner’s License.
5Behind the Wheel Test: This is where my blog is centered around. Securing an appointment for the Behind-the-Wheel test takes months. Texas DMV has a flexibility where you can appear the test at a private center (aka 3rd Party). I researched for a few Certified 3rd Party Driving Schools where you can appear for the Test. Based on my research you can enroll for the test, cheapest at $55.
I would recommend taking an hour of car diving lesson (even though you are a pro) from the school where your test is scheduled. They usually are able to accommodate the lessons and tests back-to-back (Bonus Tip: Search for Schools around the Irving/Carrolton area if you are in DFW metroplex). The driving lesson helps as a mock test for the actual behind-the-wheel test. Once your (1-2 hour) lessons is done, let the school know that you are ready to appear for the Behind-the-Wheel test. That’s it! Appear for the test and clear it.
Note: They are very serious about the test and allow no negligence. You will be mostly appearing for your test with the same instructor you took lessons from. But that doesn’t mean that the instructor will allot grace points towards your mistake. Rules are Rules!
After you clear the test, the school will enclose the test results (signed and stamped) in a sealed envelope. You will need to submit this sealed envelope(test results) to the DMV to convert your Learners License into a Driver’s License. DONOT OPEN THE ENVELOPE AT ANY TIME BY YOURSELF.
6 The Day: This is the day you are going to be thankful to me forever. This is the day, you will be licensed to drive. As I mentioned earlier, wake up early, secure an appointment.
Tip: Carry all the documents as before (including the application), even though you might be tempted to skip them as you already submitted it just 2 days back. There isn’t a feeling worst than having to return back or get to the end of the queue just for some missing documents.
If you have followed my instructions clearly, I can assure you that you will be securing your license at the fastest way possible.
My Timeline — Beat this Speed!
Tuesday — Arranged all the Required Documents, Watched the ITTD Video, Practiced the Sample Questions.
Wednesday Morning — Secured my Learner’s Licence
Wednesday Evening — Cleared Behind-the-Wheel Test
Thursday Morning — Secured my Driver’s License
You would know from my bio that am a motorcycle enthusiast. Soon after I got my drivers license, I applied for the motorcycle license.
I will try to write another blog on the easiest way to score a motorcycle license.
Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.
― Erol Ozan