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US Driver's License - Catch 22?

US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Old Jul 30th 2021, 4:26 pm
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Default US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Hey Everyone, hoping someone here can help me with this frustrating situation
I moved to Austin TX two years ago as a grad student, having a car was never an issue, but now that I've graduated and am back to the working world, I'll need to get one.

However, there seems catch 22:
I need to get my license, in order to get my license I need access to a car for the driving test, I do not have access to a car because I do not have a license and therefore cannot get insurance, so cannot buy a car, so cannot take my test in order to get a license.

I looked at renting a car, but apparently DMV/DPS do not allow you to take a test using a rental car, you must be able to show the cars papers.

Surely other people must have got a driver's license without access to a car, but information online is pretty useless
Thanks for your help
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 4:33 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
Hey Everyone, hoping someone here can help me with this frustrating situation
I moved to Austin TX two years ago as a grad student, having a car was never an issue, but now that I've graduated and am back to the working world, I'll need to get one.

However, there seems catch 22:
I need to get my license, in order to get my license I need access to a car for the driving test, I do not have access to a car because I do not have a license and therefore cannot get insurance, so cannot buy a car, so cannot take my test in order to get a license.

I looked at renting a car, but apparently DMV/DPS do not allow you to take a test using a rental car, you must be able to show the cars papers.



Surely other people must have got a driver's license without access to a car, but information online is pretty useless
Thanks for your help

Must be a Texas rule regarding taking test in rental car, as I took mine in California in a rented car (this was some years ago I admit)

How does any new, young, first time driver get to undertake their driving test - most of them don't own their own cars at that stage?

Last edited by SanDiegogirl; Jul 30th 2021 at 4:37 pm.
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 4:47 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

I'm not sure how helpful this is as we're in Georgia, but my wife was in the same position when we first moved here. We didn't have a car and, although not impossible, it's a pain to buy one without a US licence. She did hers in a rental car...the issue was she had to prove she was insured to do so. She had to prove the insurance met the state minimum legal requirement. So, we got additional insurance through a third party insurance company to cover her and this worked. We hired ours through budget and they state:

"What About Drivers Licensed in Other Countries?
International drivers can rent a car from Budget. Just present a driver’s license, passport, and an International Driving Permit issued in your name from your home country."

I would also caveat this with the fact this is allowed because she already had a full UK driving licence. If you don't already have a licence they won't allow you to rent the car in the first place.

At the DDS (DMV) they asked her if she was approved to do the driving test in the rental vehicle, she just confidently said yes and they didn't ask anything other than proof of insurance.
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 5:07 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Is there a driving school you can use to take the test in their vehicle, similar to how you can in the UK?
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 5:20 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by EdgeAA View Post
Is there a driving school you can use to take the test in their vehicle, similar to how you can in the UK?
Driving school may be an option, trying to find out if that means I also need to get a learner's permit just to take the driving test. It's infuriatingly convoluted
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 5:23 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
Hey Everyone, hoping someone here can help me with this frustrating situation
I moved to Austin TX two years ago as a grad student, having a car was never an issue, but now that I've graduated and am back to the working world, I'll need to get one.

However, there seems catch 22:
I need to get my license, in order to get my license I need access to a car for the driving test, I do not have access to a car because I do not have a license and therefore cannot get insurance, so cannot buy a car, so cannot take my test in order to get a license.

I looked at renting a car, but apparently DMV/DPS do not allow you to take a test using a rental car, you must be able to show the cars papers.

Surely other people must have got a driver's license without access to a car, but information online is pretty useless
Thanks for your help
As other note, go to a driving school, no catch 22 here. I had been driving zip cars in the US for a while but when I needed my NY lisence I had same issue. Paid for 1 lesson, the instructor drove up with me to Yonkers, I think we ha for switch to him driving close the test center, then when we pulled up at the sign where it started he got out and I got in the driver seat again. We want round the block and then then when we got back the taser printed my paper lisence on the printer on her belt and I was allowed to drive back to Manhattan. I used the same place where I went to watch the 6h or don’t drink and drive videos and the benefit wad the instructor was able to refresh me on the NY specific rules as we drive up.
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
Driving school may be an option, trying to find out if that means I also need to get a learner's permit just to take the driving test. It's infuriatingly convoluted
I had to get a learners permit to take my driving test in PA, even though I had my UK license and international drivers license. Just meant in the meantime I could drive without supervision but needed the learners permit to be able to take the test.
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by EdgeAA View Post
I had to get a learners permit to take my driving test in PA, even though I had my UK license and international drivers license. Just meant in the meantime I could drive without supervision but needed the learners permit to be able to take the test.
Yes this was our PA experience too. My husband did take his in the rental car he had for the first few weeks over here after first being told he couldn't, the supervisor at the DMV over-ruled the desk drone. I think here in State College they deal with so many foreign students we were a breath of fresh air because I always had a file with all the required paperwork immidately to hand. My husband and I visited the DMV 4 times in 3 years with 3 licenses each in that time, it was so good to get the green card and finally get a "4 year" license.

So yes we hit the Catch 22 too, but found a work around. Another option is borrowing a car from a helpful friend or colleague so long as the insurance covers you.
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Old Jul 30th 2021, 9:28 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Like a few people have mentioned, taking a test with a driving schools car could be a good option. I would take a look at those options as I know you can do that in California.
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Old Aug 3rd 2021, 3:02 am
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Thanks everyone, I will attempt to go the driving school route, they said I will need a learners permit if I have any refresher or lesson, but going to try to confirm that isn't the case for purely the test
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Old Aug 3rd 2021, 3:36 am
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

You need to show the insurance papers for the rental car , not just the rental agreement- tell the rental company you will need it.
I'd recommend going to the pflugerville megacenter.

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Old Aug 3rd 2021, 11:01 am
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
Thanks everyone, I will attempt to go the driving school route, they said I will need a learners permit if I have any refresher or lesson, but going to try to confirm that isn't the case for purely the test
You will need a learners permit to take the test. Not sure what you mean. I had to do it from scratch in NY, written test, learners permit, watch the videos, and then practical “test”.
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Old Aug 3rd 2021, 1:49 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
Driving school may be an option, trying to find out if that means I also need to get a learner's permit just to take the driving test. It's infuriatingly convoluted
Not sure why you feel this way. Get a learner's permit, take and pass any exams they require, then take and pass the test and get your full license.
That's what we all did, with minor variations in different states.
I took mine in GA in a rental car with no issues.
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Old Aug 10th 2021, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic View Post
Not sure why you feel this way. Get a learner's permit, take and pass any exams they require, then take and pass the test and get your full license.
That's what we all did, with minor variations in different states.
I took mine in GA in a rental car with no issues.
The convoluted part is why do I need a learner's permit simply to take the test and not have any lessons. Why do I need to go spend hours at the DMV, wait weeks for a learner's permit, simply so I can go back to the DMV, wait hours again, and then take the test. And finally, why is there no simple guide for foreign drivers looking to get a driving license on what steps they should take. Also Texas says you can't take it with a rental car, so they must be different to GA
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Old Aug 10th 2021, 4:50 pm
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Default Re: US Driver's License - Catch 22?

Originally Posted by JB88 View Post
The convoluted part is why do I need a learner's permit simply to take the test and not have any lessons. Why do I need to go spend hours at the DMV, wait weeks for a learner's permit, simply so I can go back to the DMV, wait hours again, and then take the test. And finally, why is there no simple guide for foreign drivers looking to get a driving license on what steps they should take. Also Texas says you can't take it with a rental car, so they must be different to GA
Texas, or indeed any state to my knowledge, doesn't have a reciprocal agreement with the UK to exchange driving licenses. As far as the Texas DMV is concerned, you are a new driver and therefore need to apply for the same permit as all new drivers in Texas.

It's a pain in the arse, for sure, but a minor one and the test is so painfully easy in the US you'll pass it with no issues anyway.

With regards to the car, do you have a friend who has full coverage insurance (that includes new driver coverage) who could lend you a car since you can't rent one?
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