How to apply and renew driver’s licenses

Requirements for driver’s licenses vary from state to state. Usually, you must be at least 18 years old. However, some states will issue a junior license (around age 16) for limited driving if you complete an approved driver education course and have your parents’ consent.

Many states require a learner’s permit. To get one-or a license-you must pass a vision test and a written (and sometimes an oral) exam on the rules of the road, traffic signs, and driver courtesy.

With a learner’s permit, or without it in states that don’t require one, you can practice driving only if a licensed driver is with you.

The last step in getting a license is a road test. An examiner joins you for a drive and directs you to perform such moves as parallel parking and U-turns. He or she observes whether you obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. In many states, you must also have a photograph taken for the license.

A driver’s license is good for 2 to 5 years, depending on the state. Usually you’ll receive renewal forms in the mail. If you don’t receive them before the expiration date, renew the license in person at the office that issued the original. Car registrations should be renewed annually in the same way.