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Texas Driving License

Texas Driving License

Old Jul 26th 2020, 8:56 pm
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Default Texas Driving License

Hello all,

Currently living in Dallas and absolutely love it! Arrived here on a IR-1 visa at the end of May and despite deciding to move from the UK>USA during a global pandemic, everything has thankfully gone smoothly.

Compared to the sleepy little village in the UK where we were able to walk everywhere, living out in the sticks in north Dallas presents it logistical challenges. Thankfully my wife (USC) has a full license.

I also need to get a license (mainly for work) which seems to be not as straight forward as I first thought. In the sense that I pretty much have to start from scratch again! I have booked a driving test and the earliest slot available is in January 2021! I guess I can thank the the back-log of Corona-virus for that one.

Long shot, but has anyone on here recently gone through this process within Texas? I cant even seem to get a learners permit where I can drive (with my wife in the passenger seat) online, and have to schedule an interview which will not be until January next year!

I'm over 25 so do not need to do most of the written exams.

Thanks,
Palmer




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Old Jul 26th 2020, 9:55 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Booking an appointment, in a normal time (pre-COVID) was an option, but not a requirement.

I'll admit it's been 2 years since I lived in TX, but when I did, you could make a reservation OR you could turn up to a mega-center and wait.

The wait WILL be LONG, but you can get it mostly all done in a day. Expect to be there for the bulk of the day though, make sure you download their pre-checklist for documents you need etc, they take great joy in turning you away after waiting hours to be seen because you didn't have the right type of utility bill, etc.

I will say, having lived in TX, IL and IN, the TX DPS was by far and away the worst "DMV" experience I've had.

You mentioned you arrived on an IR-1, has your physical green card arrived? If not, keep in mind they will only issue you a license valid up-to the date on your visa stamps etc. If it hasn't arrived, I'd suggest waiting until it does to avoid yet another trip to the DPS, you cannot change these online unfortunately.
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Old Jul 26th 2020, 10:03 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by TheKingOfHearts View Post
Booking an appointment, in a normal time (pre-COVID) was an option, but not a requirement.

I'll admit it's been 2 years since I lived in TX, but when I did, you could make a reservation OR you could turn up to a mega-center and wait.

The wait WILL be LONG, but you can get it mostly all done in a day. Expect to be there for the bulk of the day though, make sure you download their pre-checklist for documents you need etc, they take great joy in turning you away after waiting hours to be seen because you didn't have the right type of utility bill, etc.

I will say, having lived in TX, IL and IN, the TX DPS was by far and away the worst "DMV" experience I've had.

You mentioned you arrived on an IR-1, has your physical green card arrived? If not, keep in mind they will only issue you a license valid up-to the date on your visa stamps etc. If it hasn't arrived, I'd suggest waiting until it does to avoid yet another trip to the DPS, you cannot change these online unfortunately.

I think all DPS offices are still closed in Texas.
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Old Jul 26th 2020, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Yes, I do this with clients all the time....
DPS is open but with appointments only and yes, wait times are getting longer and longer.
you need to get your driving license application done first - I would hunt around various places. Austin is also Dec/Jan but maybe the smaller towns/offices. Fort worth megacenter has appointments in November but you could log in first thing each morning (8.30am ish) to see if there are any cancellations.
Another thing I would recommend is to buy an online knowledge skills course ( $40ish) and do this in advance. That way, you've eliminated even the possibility of failing the knowledge test and you won't need to use the public computers used by everyone else at the DPS.
Only once you've got your license can you book a roadskills test and you might be better off going with a 3rd party tester to get it done quickly. Cost in Austin of this is $100 or $150 for the same day.
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

So if the OP has a current UK licence and cannot get a Texas licence yet because of the virus are there allowances being made to allow a longer period of time to be able to drive with a UK licence?
Just wondering if you had come across that yet?

Oops..that was meant for PF.

Last edited by Sugarmooma; Jul 27th 2020 at 12:53 am.
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by Sugarmooma View Post
So if the OP has a current UK licence and cannot get a Texas licence yet because of the virus are there allowances being made to allow a longer period of time to be able to drive with a UK licence?
Just wondering if you had come across that yet?

Oops..that was meant for PF.
I was under the impression as an LPR, I am not allowed to drive on my UK license in Texas for the first 90 days (I think that was the timeline). If I was here temporarily, I would be able to do this
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 1:19 am
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Yes, I do this with clients all the time....
DPS is open but with appointments only and yes, wait times are getting longer and longer.
you need to get your driving license application done first - I would hunt around various places. Austin is also Dec/Jan but maybe the smaller towns/offices. Fort worth megacenter has appointments in November but you could log in first thing each morning (8.30am ish) to see if there are any cancellations.
Another thing I would recommend is to buy an online knowledge skills course ( $40ish) and do this in advance. That way, you've eliminated even the possibility of failing the knowledge test and you won't need to use the public computers used by everyone else at the DPS.
Only once you've got your license can you book a roadskills test and you might be better off going with a 3rd party tester to get it done quickly. Cost in Austin of this is $100 or $150 for the same day.
Thankyou very much for your reply. I will check out Fort Worth Megacenter and the online skills course.

I would like to get a learners permit first so that I can drive with my wife in the car before taking the physical driving test. Would this also require scheduling an appointment at the DPS? The information for learners permits for those who are not teens and over 25 is not clear and it does not look like something you can do online.

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Old Jul 27th 2020, 1:56 am
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by Palmer30 View Post
I was under the impression as an LPR, I am not allowed to drive on my UK license in Texas for the first 90 days (I think that was the timeline). If I was here temporarily, I would be able to do this
You can use your UK license for up to 90 days in normal circumstances (!)
Can you extend it now because you can't get to the office. Probably, but no I haven't come across this because we haven't had any international arrivals for months. I would email the DPS and ask. I think you probably could get away with it if you already had an appointment booked and could show this if stopped. However, my concern would be how the insurance would view it if you had an accident.

When you apply for your Texas License it is a restricted one - you are only allowed to drive using this TX license with a driver over age 21 next to you. Once you've passed the road test then you can drive on your own using your TX license. Most of the international people I dealt with (before covid) would still be within their 90 days of using their non-TX license so it wasn't an issue. If stopped you didn't show your restricted TX license, you showed your UK one.
I suggested the 3rd party tester because I would be pretty certain that the wait times for road tests is going to be a long one,
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

When Governor Abbott announced the closure of the TxDoT offices he also suspended provisions of the Transportation Code that related to licenses. I have heard that Troopers and Sheriff Departments have been have been taking a very pragmatic approach to enforcement, so if you are outside of the time limit for driving on an out of State or foreign license as a result of being unable to apply for a Texas one they have not been taking action. Same goes for tags, my temporary tag expired on my motorcycle at the start of the month and I have seen plenty of cars around Houston with expired temporary tags. When I followed up with the Dealer I was told TxDoT had told them they were trying to clear the backlog and in the meantime no enforcement would be taken for driving on expired tags. By the way me and my wife have appointments for our TX drivers licenses this week. We booked last month, Houston may have shorter timelines, they certainly did when we booked. Will let you know how it goes !
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by LegalEagleTX View Post
When Governor Abbott announced the closure of the TxDoT offices he also suspended provisions of the Transportation Code that related to licenses.
For Texas licenses expiring after March 13th, yes:

https://www.dps.texas.gov/director_s.../pr/2020/0319a

They are extended through the validity of the disaster declaration, and will remain valid until 60 days after DPS issue a notice that the extension period has been lifted.

I don't believe they have waived the requirement for new Texas residents to obtain a Texas license.

I have heard that Troopers and Sheriff Departments have been have been taking a very pragmatic approach to enforcement, so if you are outside of the time limit for driving on an out of State or foreign license as a result of being unable to apply for a Texas one they have not been taking action.
Perhaps, but I'm not sure that an insurance provider would be so lenient with anyone who would effectively be driving without a valid license.

I wouldn't want to be in a position to have to find out

Same goes for tags, my temporary tag expired on my motorcycle at the start of the month and I have seen plenty of cars around Houston with expired temporary tags.
These are currently being waived by the DMV:

https://www.txdmv.gov/covid-19
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Old Jul 27th 2020, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

I wouldn't advise anyone to drive past the 90 days on a foreign license without first checking with their insurance company.
You don't have to provide vehicle registration proof to get your license right now.
However the vehicle registration is handled by your county tax office - Austin and San Antonio are issuing registrations and you can get appointments within the week so no worries there.
I'd be very very surprised if Houston DPS had any appointments before December now seeing as the other big cities are swamped.
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Old Jul 30th 2020, 12:33 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

So my wife and I went for our Texas DLs in Conroe, just north of Houston, yesterday. It wasn't without drama.

When we pulled up there were about 5 people standing outside the front entrance and a DPS lady was outside asking people to make sure they had their right documents and taking their temperature with an infra-red thermometer before they could enter. The rule was no entry prior to 30 minutes before your appointment. My appointment was 1:40pm. Masks are mandatory, and everyone had one. A guy waiting was informed he couldn't use his expired TX DL for proof of birth date and he would need his birth certificate, which makes no sense. He was not happy and told the lady this is why had made two bookings for today, as he expected problems. Damn smart. I was 10 minutes, and my wife 40 minutes, early so we went back to the car as it was hot hot. We hadn't filled in the forms beforehand, so I went back got two forms from the lady, and we filled them in in the car.

After 10 mins I went back, the lady checked my temperature and gave me a yellow bracelet and allowed me to enter. The first step was another lady at a desk inside the door who checked each of my documents carefully. I was chatting with her and she clarified that there is no waiver for a UK motorcycle license holder from doing the one day safety course. The exemption for out of state motorcycle license holders is either US states or reciprocal countries like Canada, France and a few others - predominantly right hand drive countries. It is what I thought, but I was hoping on the outside chance for a waiver. Likewise the driving test for motor vehicles. Once she confirmed I had everything I was allowed into the waiting area, where there were about 20 chairs all socially distanced apart. The room was about half full. Another DPS guy did a quick vision test using 4 letters on a wall, I was asked to recite them covering each eye. He then bought up my booking on a tablet and checked me in and I was given a number and asked to take a chair. I waited about 20 minutes before my number came up and went to the relevant counter.

There I was informed that the DHS link was down so my visa status was not able to be verified online! This meant I wouldn't be able to do any of the tests today. Sensing my growing panic she assured me I wouldn't have to rebook, just come back early tomorrow morning and I would be waived to the front of the queue. Whew! She then noticed my insurance certificates were both for the motorcycle and I didn't have one for the car. I had left it in the car by accident. She also wanted me to take a picture of the tag in the front windscreen. So I went outside, picked up the insurance certificate, took a picture of the tag and told my wife who was still there we would have to come back. Expletives were uttered. I then went back inside and the lady said all the documents were fine. She scanned them in, took my thumb prints and then took my photo. I managed to break my mask, but she had spares. She offered to give me a provisional license, but I would need to drive with someone licensed, or I could continue to drive on my UK license - naturally I chose the latter. This part took about 15 minutes and that was it for the day. As I was leaving my wife was sitting in the waiting room. I had a quick word with her before going back to the car. Outside there were now about 20 people standing, so it was getting busier - this was about 2.20pm.

My wife took a lot longer, and she said she had to wait about 45 minutes before being processed. She got the same lady as me, but she was told that instead of coming back early the next day an appointment WAS necessary, apparently the DPS lady in the next counter corrected this. So my wife made appointments for both of us on Friday morning. She was also informed that we needed to watch an hour long video and bring a certificate of completion. This was not mentioned to me! I don't know what would have happened had I shown up without this certificate. The ad-hocery was real.

The process continues y'all...

Last edited by LegalEagleTX; Jul 30th 2020 at 1:26 pm.
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Old Jul 30th 2020, 12:49 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Thanks for the update. Reading this reminds me of the time we spent getting our daughter's first driving licence, in Louisiana in 1999. From previous experiences we thought we had brought everything we needed but her US Passport was not accepted as proof of birth neither was her British birth certificate. I can't remember now how it was resolved, but I think we have had to come back with her Naturalization Certificate which also states her date of birth.

Good luck!! I look forward to hearing more in the coming days.
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Old Jul 30th 2020, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by LegalEagleTX View Post
So my wife and I went for our Texas DLs in Conroe, just north of Houston, yesterday. It wasn't without drama.

When we pulled up there were about 5 people standing outside the front entrance and a DPS lady was outside asking people to make sure they had their right documents and taking their temperature with an infra-red thermometer before they could enter. The rule was no entry prior to 30 minutes before your appointment. My appointment was 1:40pm. Masks are mandatory, and everyone had one. A guy waiting was informed he couldn't use his expired TX DL for proof of birth date and he would need his birth certificate. He was not happy and told the lady this is why had made two bookings for today, as he expected problems. Damn smart. I was 10 minutes, and my wife 40 minutes, early so we went back to the car as it was hot hot. We hadn't filled in the forms beforehand, so I went back got two forms from the lady, and we filled them in in the car.

After 10 mins I went back, the lady checked my temperature and gave me a yellow bracelet and allowed me to enter. The first step was another lady at a desk inside the door who checked each of my documents carefully. I was chatting with her and she clarified that there is no waiver for a UK motorcycle license holder from doing the one day safety course. The exemption for out of state motorcycle license holders is either US states or reciprocal countries like Canada, France and a few others - predominantly right hand drive countries. It is what I thought, but I was hoping on the outside chance for a waiver. Likewise the driving test for motor vehicles. Once she confirmed I had everything I was allowed into the waiting area, where there were about 20 chairs all socially distanced apart. The room was about half full. Another DPS guy did a quick vision test using 4 letters on a wall, I was asked to recite them covering each eye. He then bought up my booking on a tablet and checked me in and I was given a number and asked to take a chair. I waited about 20 minutes before my number came up and went to the relevant counter.

There I was informed that the DHS link was down so my visa status was not able to be verified online! This meant I wouldn't be able to do any of the tests today. Sensing my growing panic she assured me I wouldn't have to rebook, just come back early tomorrow morning and I would be waived to the front of the queue. Whew! She then noticed my insurance certificates were both for the motorcycle and I didn't have one for the car. I had left it in the car by accident. She also wanted me to take a picture of the tag in the front windscreen. So I went outside, picked up the insurance certificate, took a picture of the tag and told my wife who was still there we would have to come back. Expletives were uttered. I then went back inside and the lady said all the documents were fine. She scanned them in, took my thumb prints and then took my photo. I managed to break my mask, but she had spares. She offered to give me a provisional license, but I would need to drive with someone licensed, or I could continue to drive on my UK license - naturally I chose the latter. This part took about 15 minutes and that was it for the day. As I was leaving my wife was sitting in the waiting room. I had a quick word with her before going back to the car. Outside there were now about 20 people standing, so it was getting busier - this was about 2.20pm.

My wife took a lot longer, and she said she had to wait about 45 minutes before being processed. She got the same lady as me, but she was told that instead of coming back early the next day an appointment WAS necessary, apparently the DPS lady in the next counter corrected this. So my wife made appointments for both of us on Friday morning. She was also informed that we needed to watch an hour long video and bring a certificate of completion. This was not mentioned to me! I don't know what would have happened had I shown up without this certificate. The ad-hocery was real.

The process continues y'all...
Wow, sounds like a painful process, I hope you manage to get it sorted soon. Just out of interest, how soon did you manage to get an appointment?

I have began the booking process this week and the earliest appointment I can get (within the Dallas area) is November! I have been told to check online each morning at 6am for cancellations.

Also, you mentioned that you have been driving on your UK license here? Are you a GC holder? I have been hearing lots of conflicting information as to the rules of people driving in Texas within the first 60-90 days with a UK license.

i just want to be able to get out on the road and practice before I take my test (with my UKC wife in the passenger seat) but I dont think I can do that without firstly getting an appointment at the DPS and applying for a learner permit! Which I cant get until November!





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Old Jul 30th 2020, 1:43 pm
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Default Re: Texas Driving License

Originally Posted by Palmer30 View Post
Wow, sounds like a painful process, I hope you manage to get it sorted soon. Just out of interest, how soon did you manage to get an appointment?

I have began the booking process this week and the earliest appointment I can get (within the Dallas area) is November! I have been told to check online each morning at 6am for cancellations.

Also, you mentioned that you have been driving on your UK license here? Are you a GC holder? I have been hearing lots of conflicting information as to the rules of people driving in Texas within the first 60-90 days with a UK license.

i just want to be able to get out on the road and practice before I take my test (with my UKC wife in the passenger seat) but I dont think I can do that without firstly getting an appointment at the DPS and applying for a learner permit! Which I cant get until November!
We booked on 6/17/2020 and had the appointment yesterday. Our new appointment is for this Friday - but it's a special case.

We are both on E1 Treaty Trader visas. Expiration of licenses have been waived by the Governor. The lady at the DPS knew we were outside the 90 day period for our UK licenses and didn't have an issue with us continuing to drive on them. If she did, she would have insisted on issuing us provisional licenses and these people take officiousness to a whole new level!! If you are not driving illegally, you also should be fine for insurance. But the best thing is to avoid accidents altogether. If you drive like every single vehicle on the road is driven by an uninsured unlicensed drunk who is out to kill you and at any moment a car will shoot across you through an intersection, you should be ok. And in Houston, you won't be disappointed.

Last edited by LegalEagleTX; Jul 30th 2020 at 2:36 pm.
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