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Learning to drive as an adult is generally easier than taking the wheel during your teen years. Because unlike a teen, you, in the minds of DMV officials, have a better grasp on road-responsibilities, resulting in a reduced list of requirements and restrictions.

Why Take a Driver’s Ed Course

Depending on your state, driver’s ed might be required. In Texas, for example, beginning drivers up to the age of 24 must complete a certified driver’s training course. But in most instances, you’ll find applicants 18 or older are exempt from driving school.

Even if drivers education is not mandated, you should still give it strong consideration. Reasons include:

  • Expert instruction from a certified driving teacher

  • You’ll be assured of learning the rules of the road

  • You’ll learn driving skills designed to make you a lifelong defensive driver

  • Taking our course will better your chances for passing your state’s road test

  • A class completion certificate may reduce the amount of time you must hold a learner’s permit (this will depend on your state)

  • The remote possibility of receiving a discount on car insurance rates


How do you know when your teen is ready to drive alone? You know your teen best. Your instincts are probably the best judge of all. Remember, even if your teen is legally old enough to get a license, it's your decision whether or not he or she is ready.

Think about these questions:

  • Has my teen had enough practice, in varying conditions, so we are both confident with his or her ability to handle most situations?

  • Has my teen shown he or she can detect hazards and react to them quickly?

  • Have I noticed that scanning for hazards has become habit for him or her?

  • Does my teen always wear a seat belt and remind others to do so?

  • Does my teen not use his or her cell phone or text message while driving?

  • Does my teen wait to pull over to handle distractions or situations that take his or her eyes away from the road? Do I think he or she will act the same when I’m not with him or her?

  • Does my teen speed or drive aggressively?

  • Will my teen know to pull over if upset, frustrated, or angry?

  • Has my teen exhibited responsibility in other areas of his or her life and do I trust him or her to drive my car responsibly?

If you think more time and practice is needed before driving alone, talk to your teen about the reasons why. One possible way to handle it is to make a deal that your teen may get a license, but you don't want him or her driving alone in certain situations. These are all things you can address ahead of time with the parent/teen driving agreement.

International Students

Participants who intend to drive in the United States must familiarize themselves with local, state, and federal driving laws. It's best to consult the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the state in which you would like to drive for recommendations on driving laws and safety practices. All U.S. states recognize foreign driver's licenses. In most cases, if your international license is up-to-date, it will be valid for up to one year after the date you enter the U.S. Consult the DMV in the state where you wish to drive to confirm the length of validity. Your foreign license is valid if accompanied by your passport.

We strongly recommend that you get an international driver's license before you leave your home country. You cannot get one after arriving in the U.S. Depending on the day you obtained your International Driver's License, it should be valid in any state for up to one year.

Obtaining a Driver's License in the United States

In some states, it may be possible to obtain a U.S. license. You will need to contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles for the state where you will be working to find out whether you are eligible to apply for a U.S. driver's license. If eligible, you should obtain a copy of that state's driver's manual from the DMV so you can learn the state's driving rules, and study for the written test and the driving test. Ask which documents you need to present to the DMV when applying for a license. The documents required vary by state.

At a minimum, you will likely be required to show the following documents in order to apply for a state license:

  • Passport

  • Home country's driver's license

  • International driver's license

  • Social Security card

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