How to get my license
International Drivers Ed: How it Works
Whether you've visiting Texas temporarily, working for a few years, or making a permanent move, it's important to understand the Texas licensing process for drivers with international licenses. Navigating Texas roadways can be challenging if you're accustomed to driving internationally with differing road rules and regulations. Continue scrolling to see how SafeWay driving can assist you in getting on the road to safe driving whether you are a short-term visitor or looking to become a long-term resident in Texas.
International Licensing Options
Short Term Visitors with Existing Licenses
If you're visiting for less than 90 days, you will be able to continue driving using your valid, unexpired driver's license. For visits lasting longer than 90 days, such as studying abroad or working for a few years, you might be able to continue using your foreign driver’s license as long as it’s written in English.
If that’s not the case, then it’s important that you get an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) while you’re still in your country of origin. This is valid for only one year and since it is not issued by the United States, it needs to be obtained before you arrive. This license will not replace your old license, but instead act as a companion license and language translation to your home license.
Long-Term Visitors with Existing Licenses
Some states have reciprocity agreements with other countries, meaning that if your license was issued in the following select countries you can simply exchange it for a Texas drivers license without having to take any tests.
Applicants who have a valid, unexpired learner license from another U.S. territory, or Canada, France, South Korea, Germany or Taiwan and are applying for a Texas learner license, do not have to take the knowledge exam.
Upon advancing from a learner license to a driver license, individuals must complete the Impact Texas Driver Course and pass the skills exam. Individuals under 25 years of age must also complete driver education.
Applicants who have a driver license from any country other than the U.S., Canada, France, South Korea, Germany or Taiwan must take and pass both the knowledge and skills exam. Visit How to Apply for a Texas Driver License for a complete list of requirements and more information on applying for a Texas driver license.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - Applicants who are a member of a force or civilian component of a NATO country and present orders validating their status are exempt from the knowlege and skills exam for the same or lower class of license.
Driving privilege reciprocity allows a person to use a valid, unexpired foreign license to operate a motor vehicle in Texas for up to one year or until a person becomes a Texas resident, whichever date is sooner. Once a person becomes a new Texas resident, they must apply for a Texas license within 90 days to continue to drive legally.
- Reciprocal privileges are limited to persons ages 18 to 75 for up to one year from the date of entry into the United States.
- Reciprocal privileges are limited to private vehicles.
- Every vehicle must have a registration certificate issued in accordance with the laws of the country of residence identifying the vehicle and owner and be displayed on the rear of the vehicle or on a plate attached to the rear.
- Every vehicle must have an oval sign or plaque displayed on the rear of the vehicle to indicate the country of origin.
- Every driver must have a valid driver permit, license, or international permit issued by an authorized authority and be translated into English.
First-Time License (18-24)
Receiving a drivers license is a memorable and major milestone in someone's life. This license signifies freedom, responsibility and maturity. Continue scrolling to find out the requirements and steps to help guide you through this next exciting chapter in life.