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Houston - Driving license

All you need to know about driving license processes and procedures in Texas

Arriving in Houston as a resident you will need to apply for a Texas driving license. An individual setting up residence in Texas can legally drive for up to 90 days if in possession of a valid unexpired driver license from another state or country, but the application to obtain the Texas driving licence has to be submitted within these 90 days.

 If you hold a driver license from any country other than the U.S., Canada, France, South Korea or Germany must take the knowledge and driving tests because Texas does not have reciprocity agreements with other countries.


Individuals who hold a valid, unexpired driver license from another U.S. state or U.S. territory, or from Canada, France, South Korea or Germany (the countries Texas has license reciprocity agreements with), do not have to take the knowledge or driving tests, but the valid, unexpired driver license must be surrendered to DPS when applying for a Texas driver license. 

Individuals who hold a valid, unexpired learner license from Canada, France, South Korea or Germany have to take the driving test but not the knowledge test.

Immigrant Driver's Permit
Texas is the first state in the country to issue a separate driver's license for immigrants, defined as temporary visitors. A temporary visitor is anyone who is not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, refugee or asylee. Temporary visitors who meet the requirements will be issued a driver license or ID card with “Limited Term” printed on it. The driver license or ID card will expire when the period of lawful presence expires. If the period of lawful presence is “duration of status” then the driver license or ID card will expire in one year.
Prior to obtaining a driver's licence or identification card it is now required to show valid government documentation proving that their stay in the country is legal before and the document issued is markedly different so any government officer can recognize immigrants based on this card. On the license appear the terms "Temporary visitor" as well as the expiration date of their legal stay in the United States.
Before September 2011, driver licenses and ID cards issued to temporary visitors read, “Temporary Visitor” instead of “Limited Term.” A driver license or ID card that reads, “Temporary Visitor” is still valid through the temporary visitor status date. A “Limited Term” driver license or ID card will be issued when it is renewed.. 

Taking a driving license test 

Study the Texas Driver's Handbook (click the link to download the pdf Texas Driver's Handbook or stop at any DPS to obtain a copy) . Without it, you will not pass the test, as Texas has some fairly unique driving rules and it is a waste of your time to attend more than once. All the answers to test questions can be found in the handbook. When you feel ready, within the 30 day period, get to the location you have chosen as early as possible or half an hour before closing time. Be patient there is a lot of queuing involved.

  • On arrival, you will need to wait in line to present your paperwork.
  • A wait may then be incurred to continue the rest of the test.
  • Your vision will be tested.
  • You will now be stationed at a computer and requested to answer questions, for which you need a grade of 70% or better to pass. The paper option is available too, but you need to specifically ask for it and it might be easier
  • An oral test will be given if the examiner feels it is needed.
  • You will then be told of a time slot to take The Driving Test. It used to be done the same day but this is no longer possible due a major increase of incoming people to Houston. You will have to come back for the test and often it may take few weeks before you can get an appointment.
  • On satisfactory completion of the test, you will be required to pay your fee, have your photograph taken for your license and check the details to be printed on your license.
  • A receipt will be issued for the above, which you may use as your temporary license for up to 60 days, by which time your official license should have arrived.

Other tips and tricks regarding Driver's Licenses:

Renewal of a Texas Driver's License or identification card within one year of expiration can take place at any local driver's license office.

Renewing a Driver's License: a vision test is required, if your Driver's License has expired for more than two years, you must take both the written and the driving exam.

Proof of Social security is required to renew your Driver's License. If you are a permanent resident you will be asked to present documentation of your visa and your passport.

Arriving from another state: If you have a VALID Out-of-State License and you own a vehicle, you will need to bring proof of Texas registration, insurance , your Out-of-State License and your Social Security number. The only exam required is the vision test.

If you have an EXPIRED Out-of-State License, you will be required to take both written and driving exams and a vision test.

If you do not own a vehicle, you will not have to show proof of insurance, but you will be required to complete an affidavit of non-ownership. At this time, you will also be required to surrender your valid or expired Out-of-State Driver's License.

Lost License, ID, Permit or MRDL (Minor's Restricted Driving License): Visit a Driver's License Office for help in obtaining a duplicate item. 

Original Identification Card: Present a valid form of Identification. One of the following is acceptable: Birth Certificate, Driver's License (expired or valid), Resident Alien Card or a Passport.

ID fee

$15.00 if under the age of 60$5.00 for those 60 or over.
Driver's License and ID cards are issued with different numbers.

How to apply for your Texas driving license 

Driving licenses can be obtained from any of the Houston and surrounding area ‘Full-time Driver's License Offices’ listed below. All offices have proficient Spanish speakers, tests are available in Spanish and the website for Texas Department of Public Safety is available in Spanish. The official office hours are stated to be from 8am until 5pm, Monday through Friday. However, some busier offices open until 7pm on Thursdays. There are a few part-time offices in the more rural areas, but only staffed with one examiner who also has other duties, so it is sensible to use one of the ones below for ease.

All these offices are extremely busy and it is suggested that if you arrive at 8am, or earlier, you have a likelihood of being given an early test. The appointments are strictly on a 'first come first served' basis with no exceptions. The offices prefer you to stick to the nearest office to your potential base, but Rosenberg is quieter due to being out of town, so if you are living/working in Sugarland or west, you may get through the procedure in a timely fashion.

  • Driver's Licence Office (Dacoma)
    4545 Dacoma

    Tel: + 
    1 (713) 957 6144
    Opening time 8am - 5pm  Mon-Fri /8am -7pm Thu
  • Driving Licence Office Houston (Dover)
    3502 Dover



    Tel: +
    1 (713) 643 7501
  • Driving Licence Office Houston (Gessner) 
    12220 S Gessner

    Tel: + 
    1 (713) 773 3334
    Opening hours 7am - 6pm  Mon-Fri
  • Katy City of DPS
    6206 George Bush Dr
    Texas 77493
    Tel: + 1 (281) 394 8598
    Smaller office, but you can save a lot of waiting time compared to some of the larger offices. You still need to get there well before opening hours.
    Next step is to obtain a license application form from the Texas Driver's Licensing Offices.

Pick up an application form from one of the offices above. This is often required to be done in person (so take your wife/husband along to prevent two trips.)

Pick up from the same office a Texas Driver's Handbook (latest version Revised Mar 2000 (as advised 06/24/02)), which you will have to study prior to taking your test.

Application submission
This is on the day you want to take your test  -  take care filling in the form to prevent an extra trip to pick up another one!)
You also need to take into account the following action points:
The application form must be completed where possible, full name etc. 
Be prepared for the test today, having studied the driver's handbook and sample questions and answers.
One formal piece of identification
(i.e. previous driving license, passport)
One support piece of documentation
(with your name and address) – utility bill, birth/marriage record
Physical description
(they will check you in person here for their records). i.e. eye color. hair, glasses etc.
Social security number
(or acceptable proof of existence of this, in the form of a letter which will be provided to the spouse at his/her work establishment recognising both of your existence in the social security register).  If you do not have a social security number (many visa holders' spouses do not get a social security number) you have to have a letter stating you do not have one. Sounds weird, but true. You will usually get this from your/your spouses' employer.

Home address (if you know it), or temporary address - you will have to change it when your driving license is issued. Brief history of physical and medical wellbeing. Brief past of driving experience and record.
The fee required for your license
(which allows for a total of three examinations to be taken, should you fail at the first attempt).

Your license will then be sent to you at the address you have intimated and it must be kept on you at all times whilst driving , as it is considered a violation, should you be stopped by a patrol and not be in possession of a valid and current license.

Instruction Permits
The Instruction Permit is a driving permit that will enable a beginning driver to drive with someone 

If under the age of 18:  You must take the classroom portion of a department approved Driver’s Education Course.

Permit with 'restriction "B ":   This will not be removed until an individual reaches the age of 16 and completes phase II of Driver’s Ed, or has applied and been approved for a MRDL (Minor’s Restricted Driver License), or has turned 18 years of age and has passed a driving test.

If over the age of 18:  You may remove the "B" restriction once you have passed the road test.

Age for Driving Permit:  A person must be at least 15 years of age.

Name change:   A name change due to marriage, divorce, annulment or death of spouse may be certified by the applicant’s signature. However, no name will be used, that has not been previously documented. Documented proof of name change be presented.  If a name is changed for any other reason, a court order verifying such a change is required.

Corrections:   If the License/Identification Card has an error on it, go to the local Driver's License Office and present your license. Inform the technician of the error and upon review, a correction may be issued.

Moving house:  To change address, the law allows thirty (30) days for this to be updated. The duplicate fee is $10.00, by mail or in person at the Driver's License Offices. You may obtain a Change of Address form here (alternatively for more information on driving licence you can check the site:

Useful links

To travel interstate or abroad link to the form to obtain an international permit or interamerican one:

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