American Experience | 体验美国

How to Get a US Driver’s License

January 25, 2016 10:00 am | By Phillip

Now I am going to talk about the issue of getting a driver’s license in the US. Each state has different legal requirements, so everyone needs to obtain a driver’s license in accordance with the relevant provisions of the respective states. For example, the use of Chinese driver’s license is not allowed in Massachusetts and allowed for six months in New York. In New Jersey, a Chinese driver’s license can be changed into a New Jersey one. In Washington, you can exchange the Chinese driver’s license to a Washington driver’s license after taking a test. What I want to explain in detail is how to obtain a New York State driver’s license. I took the driver’s license exam in New York City where a person on average takes three to four times to pass the test. They claim it to be the nation’s toughest. The process is also much more complicated than elsewhere.

First you need to go to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to obtain your learners permit. Use Google to search for a nearby DMV and then view the contents of the exam on DMV website. When you are ready, you can choose to take the test. Actually this test is extremely simple. I recommend you spend two hours going through the questions provided by DMV. You can even review them when you are in the queue to take the test. As long as you have 12 correct answers out of 20 questions, you will pass the test. What is more, among the 20 questions, there are a lot of very simple questions, such as whether you should avoid pedestrians, drive under the influence or not. The most important thing is to bring proof of identity required by the DMV. Your bank card bills, VISA, passport, SSN (Social Security Number) are some of the items required to prove your identity. Each piece of identification is worth a different number of points, but together must total six points. For students who do not have a SSN, you may need to go to school and acquire a letter and your transcript. If you have your SSN, then the materials mentioned above will be enough to total six points. After you pass the written or computerized test, you complete the formalities at the counter. Your permit will be sent to you within two weeks. Do not underestimate the usefulness of your permit. It is equivalent to your government photo ID. You can use it as your American identity… as proof of age for purchasing alcohol when going to a bar or restaurant. You can use this card which is much more convenient than your passport.

Next you need to go to a driving school to watch a six hours long video. I recommend you choose the Chinese Driving School in Chinatown where you only need to watch two hours of video to get the proof that you have watched the video. Only after watching the video are you eligible to take the road test.

You can register online or by telephone to take the road test. There are so many people in New York to take the test that generally you may need to wait for about one month. You can cancel the exam as late as one day before the test. If you fail twice, you need to pay ten dollars to gain another two opportunities. I want to emphasize that what the New York driver’s license test focuses on is not the same as in China, and it is not easy to pass. So better take a few lessons at the Chinese Driving School ahead of time. Generally Chinese Driving School lessons are very cheap, about twenty dollars a lesson. When taking your road test, you need to have a registered vehicle, and also have a person with a U.S. driver’s license who is more than 21 years old accompany you. Also do not forget to take your reservation receipt, the proof of video tutorials, as well as your valid learner permit.

There are four items, left turn, right turn, side parking, and a K-turn. I hope everyone can get their driver’s license as soon as possible.