Driver's License Definition

How to Get One

Young woman driving
How to Get a Driver's License. Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

A U.S. driver's license is a document that permits one to drive legally in the United States. Every state sets the rules as to what is required to obtain a driver's license. One must have a legal driver's license in order to purchase car insurance.

If one is a legal resident of the U.S., the documents required to start the process of obtaining a driver's license is fairly simple. Usually, proof of one's residence, their citizenship, and a social security number is all that is required.

These can be fulfilled easily by a bank statement, a birth certificate and a social security card. Some states do not require proof of citizenship since they have a large amount of immigrants and they want them to be able to obtain a driver's license in order to acquire car insurance.

Most states require one to obtain a learner's permit or instruction permit before they can be eligible for their driver's license. Depending on the state, there are certain tests required before obtaining a learner's permit but for most states a written and eye exam are the main requirements along with a minimum age requirement, which again is dependant on the state. There are more restrictions included with the learner's permit. Some restrictions include not driving alone, no night time driving and the use of electronic devices is not permitted.

Once a driver has successfully passed all the requirements for a learner's permit they can try an obtain a driver's license.

To do this most states require another written test along with a supervised driving test. There is usually a probationary stage after the driver's license is obtained where there are some extra restrictions.