required documents to obtain a driver's license

What Documentation Is Needed In Order To Receive A Driver’s License?

Getting a driver’s license for the first time can be a very exciting yet stressful occasion! Not only must the potential driver be prepared to take a long and complex written (or computerized) test about the rules of the road, but also the actual driving test itself can be very daunting. Practice and study can make the process much easier and ensure you (or your driving age child) will pass the first time. However, there is another important thing to consider as well— ensuring you bring the required documents to obtain a driver’s license along with you to the DMV.

In recent years, for security purposes many states have made it a bit more difficult to obtain a driver’s license. In fact, a new type of driver’s license and state ID card is being used in some states called a “Secure ID.” This type of license has a higher-level of security attached and as such, the DDS (Department of Driver Services) in many states require even more documentation to make certain the recipient is who he or she claims to be.

Before you go and stand in what could be a very long line to get a driver’s license, it is important that you gather all required documents to obtain a driver’s license and bring them with you. Since the requirements vary from state to state, it is highly recommended that you contact the DDS in your area before you go, just to make sure you have everything you will need.

A few of the typical required items you MAY want to start gathering include:

  • Proof of Identity – For most U.S. residents, the easiest proof of identity is a birth certificate. The DDS will require a genuine, certified copy. You can order one of these from the vital records agency where you were born, or through a reputable, government-approved company like VitalChek. If you already have a copy, just make sure it has an official seal and that it is not a souvenir copy or informational-only copy.
  • Social Security Card – You will generally need to provide your social security card. Some states may accept other proof of your social security number; however, it is not that difficult to replace your card—it just involves a trip to the local social security office and providing proof of your identity.
  • Proof of Address – This varies from state to state; however, most states require two forms of proof. Items such as bank statements, utility bills and tax records are usually accepted.
  • Additional Required Documents to Obtain a Driver’s License – If you are not a U.S. resident or you have had a name change, there may be additional documentation requirements. Call ahead and find out what else you may need.

While getting a driver’s license for the first time can be a bit overwhelming, if you are well prepared, the process is not as difficult as it would otherwise be. Don’t be afraid to call and find out what you will need. The customer service staff at your state’s DDS is there to help you. Once you have everything you need and are prepared for that test, you’ll find the process of obtaining your license is easier than you may think—once you get past that long line at least!

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