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Booking a Theory Test

Whether out of pleasure or necessity, if you want to drive in the United States, you must first get a driver’s license. Driver’s licenses are governed and issued by each state, but all states recognize driver’s licenses issued and used in other U.S. states. The exception is if you move to another state, as then you must get a new driver’s license from your new state of residence.

To get a driver’s license if you have never had one before, you must pass a theory test, known as the written test, and a practical behind the wheel test with an examiner. Some states may also require a driver’s education course, driver’s training with an instructor, and/or verified practice hours, particularly if you are under a certain age.

The first step to getting a driver’s license is reading and studying the driver handbook or manual that is issued by each state. It contains all the driving rules and information you will need to pass the written theory test. Once you feel comfortable with the rules of the road listed in the manual, you are ready to book your theory test.

Booking the Theory Test

You must book the theory or written test in the state you wish to earn your driver’s license. Each state has a number of local offices where you can do this, but the exact procedures may vary from state to state. Below you will find the information for booking your theory test in three of the U.S.’ most populous states.


In California, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administers driver’s licenses. To book the theory test you have a couple of options. You can make an appointment for your written theory test at any of the local California Department of Motor Vehicles offices using the DMV’s online appointment system through their website (www.dmv.ca.gov) or by phone by calling 1-800-777-0133 during standard business hours. You don’t have to have an appointment, though. You can drop in at any DMV office to take the written test, but you must get there earlier in the day, as written tests are not given after 4:30 pm under any circumstances, in order to allow test takers ample time to finish the test.

After the written theory test, you should submit to the vision test while at the DMV office, as it is a required test for all California drivers.


In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety administers driver’s licenses. If you are under 24 years of age, you need to have first completed a driver’s education course. However, you don’t need to book your theory test in advance. Simply show up at the Texas Driver’s License office closest to where you live. You should be prepared to show proof of your identity, that you are a U.S. citizen or a legal resident, and your Social Security Number.

New York

In the State of New York, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles administers driver’s licenses. Booking your theory test in advance is not required. You can simply show up at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office closest to where you live. However, you need to bring proof of your identity and date of birth in as many forms of the following as you possess: U.S. passport, Certificate of U.S. Naturalization or Citizenship, U.S. Social Security card, U.S. military ID card, and U.S. high school or college ID card accompanied by a high school report card or college transcript. You will need to complete a Driver’s License Application called Form MV-44, submit to a vision test and pay the current application fee. Then you can take the written test.

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