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At times, beginning your driving journey can feel like a complicated, lengthy process. Do you want to try and get your license but have no idea how long it will take? Well, we've done some digging and have the answer here for you. Let's check it out below.
Typically, you can expect the driver's license process to take between two and six months. Of course, this depends on your state and how quickly you can get through the testing for your license.
This timeline will also greatly vary based on the required hours of driving your state has before you can take the official license test, so everyone will be different.
As we begin, we will cover all things getting a driver's license and discuss how long this entire process should be. Whether you're in high school or an adult driver that's eager to pass your test, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's get right into this topic!
Why Does Getting Your Driver's License Take So Long?
One of the main reasons getting a license can be difficult is the wait time. Typically, the entire driver's license process will take between two and six months, so this isn't always a fast certification.
State requirements tend to play a key role in the licensing timeline. For example, if you live somewhere like Washington, you can expect your required driving hours and testing to be much more than in a state like Florida.
That is because Washington has stricter regulations for new drivers, often taking them 4-6 months to complete the practice/testing process.
Some may think of this as a good thing, as it gives drivers more time to learn the rules of the road, but that is subjective.
Thanks to improvements in technology over the years, the licensing process has certainly become faster for those with jobs or at school, but that's not to say your state's requirements won't lengthen it.
Can You Get Your Driver's License Online?
Although you will need to go to a physical DMV location to take your driver's license test, you can do all pre-test studying and practice at home. For those getting their permit, you will typically have to register online through your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to begin studying.
From there, you can ask a friend or family member (or anyone licensed to drive) to take you out for practice. You will often need to complete various modules through a learning/testing portal, which you need to pass before the physical driving test.
That said, there are in-person driving classes one can take, so that's another option. This comes down to your learning needs and preferences.
How Old Do I Need To Be To Get A Driver's License?
In the United States, you need to be at least 16 before legally obtaining a full driver's license. However, you can get a permit around 14 or 15 to begin your driving practice, but this varies by state.
For example, in Alabama, you can start your driving journey at 14 with a learner's permit, take your test at 16, and then be granted a full license at 17.
Arizona has slightly different rules, as a driver has to be 15.5 before obtaining a learner's permit, 16 to take the test, and 16.5 to get a full license.
In general, it's best to check your state's DMV website to see what age requirements there are. Although you may be ready to dive into driving at 14, your state may not allow this.
Can I Drive Alone With A Permit?
No. You cannot legally operate a vehicle without adult supervision with a learner's permit. Considering a permit is the first step to a full license, misusing it can result in an even longer process.
For example, if you need to run to the store but a parent isn't present, using a permit is not technically legal. So if you get pulled over and an officer sees your permit, you could have it revoked.
Furthermore, most states won't allow you to start the licensing process immediately after having yours taken, so you could have to wait a while.
Many states call this provisional license a 'Graduated License.' Additionally, you need to have someone over 18 years old with a full license in the car while you have this, no exceptions.
Which State Has The Easiest Driving Test?
When it comes to which state has the easiest driver's license test, this depends. According to a study from Baltimore Business Journal, South Dakota is one the most lenient for prospective drivers.
Ohio and New York closely follow, as they also have very easy in-person driving tests. Of course, that's not to say yours will be a breeze, but according to various studies and feedback, your chances of passing are significantly greater in these states.
On the other hand, Maryland, Washington, and Massachusetts have some of the strictest driving tests in the US, so good luck if you're in one of those states.
Regardless, we recommend taking your practice testing and studying seriously, no matter where you live.
Do You Have To Pay For A Driver's License?
Yes, you do have to pay to receive a driver's license. Although this varies by state, typical costs for a physical driver's license usually range between $25 and $50.
In California, new drivers will have to pay $35 for their license. In Nevada, your license will cost closer to $41.25. Again, this can fluctuate depending on the year and type of license you need, but don't expect to pay more than $50.
In addition to the actual license fee, your state may charge for extra training classes/courses, so the entire process can start to add up. However, many states offer assistance for those who can't afford a license, so that may be something to look into.
Does A Driver's License Last Forever?
No, unfortunately, a driver's license won't last forever. Depending on your state, you may need to go to the DMV to renew your license every 15 or so years.
With that said, certain states have longer timeframes for renewal. For example, Arizona doesn't require a license renewal for 65 years, which is one of the country's longest.
However, regardless of state residence, you will need to update the photo on your license every 10-12 years. This is solely for identification purposes if an officer pulls you over.
So, if you think it's been a while since you took your photo, we recommend going into the DMV and having a new one taken for your license.
What Happens If I Don't Renew My Driver's License?
If you forget to renew your license, a few things can happen. First, driving with an expired license can get you into legal trouble, ultimately resulting in fines.
Secondly, in some states, driving with a license that expired over six months ago can require you to apply for a temporary permit. You will also need to retake your driver's test, so this is something you want to avoid.
And in the worst case, driving with an expired license can get you into legal trouble with the state. Your license could be revoked if you are pulled over multiple times before renewing, which means no more driving at all.
Luckily, every driver's license clearly states when it expires (typically beneath its number), so that's something to watch. Some states will also send you a letter when it comes to renewing, but it's best to know this anyway.
Is Getting A Driver's License Hard?
In general, getting a driver's license won't be too difficult. Considering that your training coursework gives you all the information you need to pass your physical test, the licensing process isn't super complex.
Of course, everyone handles driving and memorizing rules/laws differently, so this won't always be a cakewalk. It's best to study, study, and then study some more.
Taking your car or a family member's out into a parking lot to practice is what many do. The more experience you have behind the wheel, the more likely you are to pass your test.
Another good way to learn about driving is to watch others. If your parent(s) drives you to school, it would be worth it to sit in the front passenger seat, observing their behavior.
Feel free to ask questions about the road and how a car works. No question is a bad one.
To Wrap It All Up
Whether you want to get your driver's license at 16 or 60, it's essential to know how long it will take. From what we found, the entire licensing process will take between two and six months.
Generally, you will need to apply for a learner's permit, study and practice driving for a few months, and then complete a physical driving test. However, not all states have the same process, so make sure to check with them before getting started.
Regardless, don't be afraid to take extra driving lessons, and don't be scared to ask plenty of questions!
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