What You Need to Know Before Getting a Driver’s License at the DPS

Your teen has completed the classroom portion of parent-taught driver’s ed, they are 16 years old and have had their learner’s permit for at least 6 months, they have done their 14 hours of observation and behind-the-wheel instruction, and 30 hours of driving practice. It’s finally time for them to get their license. Are you ready to set them free to drive (and set yourself free from driving them places)? 

Let’s do this thing! Let’s get your teen a drivers license! You’ll have to jump through a few hoops, but this article will break down the next steps of the (kinda intense) process for you. 

Step 1: Schedule an Appointment at DPS

The DPS requires you to have an appointment to get your license. If you walk in without an appointment, you’ll be asked to go to a self-service kiosk to schedule an appointment there. You might get lucky and get a same-day appointment. But then you might not? It’s best to schedule your appointment online. You’ll need the last four digits of your teen’s social security number to make the appointment. 

PRO TIP: Appointments in larger cities may be more difficult to get, especially during the summer. You may need to be willing to drive to a small town or suburb nearby in order to get an appointment faster. 

Step 2: Get a Verification of Enrollment (VOE) from Your Teen’s School

This step is time-sensitive, so be sure to plan accordingly. The VOE is valid for 30 days from issuance, or for 90 days from issuance between the months of June through August. 

So, first make your appointment, then request the VOE when you’re in the 30-day window prior to your appointment (unless it’s summer, then you have 90 days). 

PRO TIP: Planning to get your teen’s license over the summer? Ask for the VOE before summer break. If you did not know to get a VOE before school let out for the summer, you can also use a current report card for the most recent school year.

Step 3: Make a Plan for the Driving Test

Your teen can take their driving test at the DMV for free, or they can take their driving test at a third party skills testing program, such as a local driving school. 

Reasons to consider taking your test with a third party:

  • It can be a lot less nerve-wracking to take the test at a driving school. 

  • Appointments at driving schools are easier to get and more convenient.

 Reasons not to take the driving test with a third party:

  • It costs money.

Before taking the driving test (whether at DPS or at a driving school), your teen will need to show:

  • The DE-964 certificate emailed from Aceable. The parent or guardian who observed the 30 hours of driving practice will need to sign this certificate. 

  • Proof of completing the Impact Texas Teen Drivers Program (ITD). The ITD program is a two-hour video course that your teen must take no more than 90 days before taking their driving test and after they’ve completed the PTDE course. This is a quick online course, so your teen could knock it out once they know when they’ll be taking their driving test. 

  • Your teen’s learner’s permit. Your teen must have had their permit for at least six months before they are eligible to take the driving test or get a license.

  • A parent or legal guardian present at the time of testing. Ideally this would be the parent or guardian who observed the 30 hours of driving just in case the DE-964 certificate wasn’t signed ahead of time.

  • If you test at a driving school you don’t need to show the driving log or VOE. The DPS will want to see those when you go to get your license though!

When your teen passes the driving test, the third party skills testing program will likely give you a sealed envelope with all of the paperwork showing they’ve completed everything and passed. Do not open the envelope! The DPS will get the satisfaction of tearing that open when you go to get your license.  

If you will be taking your driving test at the DPS, you will be required to make an appointment online, and show proof of current registration and insurance for the vehicle you will be testing in at the time of the driving test. 

PRO TIP: The parent who did the driving instruction should go be the one to take the teen to their driving test and to get their license at the DPS. 

Step 4: Gather Your Documents

Oh, the documents you will gather. There are so many. You don’t want to forget anything because your teen may never forgive you. Like, never. 

I’m being dramatic, but really don’t forget your documents. Bring extra documents. Bring other people’s documents. Your dog’s vet records? Why not? It can’t hurt. 

Here’s everything theDPS says you need to bring:

  • Completed driver license application - print and fill this out before you go, but wait to sign the part at the end that requires a notary.  

  • A parent or legal guardian

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship

  • Proof of Texas residency 

  • Proof of identity 

  • Proof of social security number

  • Proof of vehicle insurance

  • Texas Driver Education Certificate (the DE-964 certificate emailed from Aceable)

  • Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE form)

  • Glasses or contact lenses for the vision exam

  • Evidence of passing the driving test if you took it at a driving school or if you will be taking your driving test at the DPS, you will need to show proof of current registration and insurance for the vehicle you will be testing in at the time of the driving test.

  • All the logs - these need to be filled out and signed

  • Application fee

PRO TIP: The DPS has an awesome tool for figuring out which documents you will need to bring to get your driver license. You just need to answer a few questions, and then it creates a handy checklist of documents for you to bring.  

Step 5: Take a Picture of your Teen with their License!

The day your teen gets their license is a BIG day! Capture this iconic moment with a pic of your teen holding their license with pride in front of the DPS. And maybe jump in for a selfie or two –  because your teen couldn’t have gotten their license without you! 

Partner with Aceable to ensure your teen is a safe and confident driver. Get started on Parent-taught driver’s ed today!

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Elizabeth McBride