How to get a Texas license as quickly as painlessly as possible

License exchange – Texas has license exchange agreements with Canada, France, South Korea, Germany or Taiwan as of this moment.  This has been static for years but always double check before you count on it.  If you do not want to have to have an au pair take a road test you could select an au pair from one of these countries with a valid, unexpired license and have them turn it in and exchange it for a Texas one (theirs is returned to their home country and they can swap it back when they return home) and skip all the rest of the steps below.  I would still recommend you have them do the online driving course so they understand the differences between their country and the US rules (plus they are driving your precious kiddos!) but it is not required.
For the rest of us – here are the steps and when I would recommend you do them and a few tips!

#1 Pre-Work

  • Complete Online Course (www.idrivesafely.com).  Select download/print for delivery option for free at very end.  This is required if Au Pair is under 25 but I recommend all take online adult drivers education anyway and that you pay for the course and send them the link 2-3 weeks before they leave their home country so they can focus on the material and complete it before they arrive in the US.
  • Watch Impact Texas Drivers Video (impacttexasdrivers.dps.texas.gov)

#2 DMV (schedule spot online for Lake Worth location)

  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa (Paper)
  • I-94 Arrival Form (Paper)
  • DL-13 SSN Affidavit
  • DL-5 Texas Residency Affidavit (also bring 2 residency documents such as electric/water bills w/affidavit signers name on them)
  • DL-14A Driver’s License Application (select learner license option)
  • Drivers Education Course Certificate (from I Drive Safely)

#3 Driving Test

  • Southlake Driving School ($75, includes up to 3 attempts, schedule online)
  • Bring Impact Texas Drivers Video Certificate
  • They give you a sealed envelope (do not open)

#4 DMV (schedule spot online for Lake Worth location)

  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa (Paper)
  • I-94 Arrival Form (Paper)
  • DL-43 Application for Change (basically just removes restriction)
  • Driving License/Permit from first visit (temporary paper or card if received in mail)
  • Southlake Driving School Sealed envelope (contains Drivers Education Course Certificate & Impact Texas Drivers Video Certificate)

#5 Update Insurance

TIPS:
When your au pair arrives – I highly recommend having them drive ASAP.  We take it easy Friday night because they are tired from traveling/let them sleep in on Saturday but mid day Saturday my husband is in the car doing a driving assessment.  You need to know right away where the gaps are (if any) so you can practice!
Assuming they are a strong driver – Monday morning we are at the DMV.  If you have gotten them a bank account and they can print a statement with address on it they can use that and the DS2019 as their proof of residency.  If not (vast majority) then you can bring your own license and a utility bill and sign an affidavit for them as noted above.  Bring all the paperwork!  Double check before you leave the house.
Use the DMV check in online option (gets you an appointment and allows you to skip most of the line) opens at 830am or you can call in.  The slots go fast!  I was told that at 2pm they open remaining slots online as well but cannot confirm this.
If you don’t mind a little longer drive, do yourself a favor and go to the Lake Worth DMV office!  I have been to Hurst, Lewisville and Lake Worth all multiple times and the difference is night and day.  Much less stressful experience all around.
If you can’t sweet talk your way into a same day road test slot (tell them her job depends on it) then get a drivers PERMIT and go to Southlake Driving School to take the road test.  It’s $75, they get two additional tries if they don’t pass and they usually have availability within a day or two and you can see the slots and sign up online.  We had a great experience with them and my au pair took her road test on the weekend (Sunday afternoon!) so I didn’t have to miss work to take her.
Au Pair passes the road test!
Head back to DMV to get the license!  Voila!  License in days not weeks!  🙂

Monday, 30 July 2018 1:46 PM

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