Being able to drive unlocks several freedoms in the United States.
It allows you to visit friends on your own schedule or go out to eat or to the movies without worrying about someone picking you up.
You can live further away from work since you can drive to your workplace.
It also enables you to travel to further destinations for pleasure while saving money on travel costs.
There’s no question that having a license can open up a lot of doors.
However, during the process of obtaining your driver’s license, you may wonder how long it’s going to take to actually receive it.
Since your license comes in the mail, you don’t want to miss it.
Here’s what you need to know about how long it takes to get your driver’s license.
How Long Does It Take To Get Your License?
The average time it takes to go through the entire driver’s license process is two to six months.
It largely depends on the number of hours your state requires you to drive before receiving your license.
Every person looking to obtain their driver’s license has to complete a driver’s training course first.
That course involves obtaining a learner’s permit, passing a written test, and completing a vision test.
The ultimate test is the driving test.
Depending on the number of hours you need to put it into practice, you can sometimes complete the course in as little as two months or as long as six months.
For some people who are unable to complete a certain portion of the tests, the length of time can increase.
For example, it may take someone several years to receive their license because they keep failing the written portion of the test.
Once you complete your driver’s training and submit your application, you can expect your license to show up in the mail within two to three weeks.
On rare occasions, it can sometimes take up to 45 days to receive your license.
What Are The Different Tests To Obtain Your Driver’s License?
There are three main tests that an individual needs to complete to obtain their driver’s license.
- Vision Test
- Driving Test
Here’s what you need to know about each test and how long it takes to complete them.
1. Vision Test
One of the last steps you need to take to obtain your driver’s license is to complete a vision test.
This indicates whether you’re legally blind, need corrective lenses, or if you have perfect vision.
Depending on the state of your vision’s health, your license will reflect your ability to see.
For example, if you use glasses, then you can see that on your license.
This tells law enforcement that you need to be wearing either glasses or contacts while operating a car.
If you’re caught without them, then you could receive a ticket.
That’s because you’re choosing to endanger the public since you’re not able to see as well.
It could cause an accident.
The vision test is simple, easy, and fast.
When you arrive at the driver’s licensing agency for your state, they’ll call your number forward and indicate for you to look through a machine.
In the machine, you’ll see a few objects.
You’ll have to answer the questions that the clerk asks based on what you see in the machine.
The licensing agency uses images instead of letters in the event that the individual is not an English speaker.
It’s a quick process and usually takes two to five minutes to complete.
Once your test is over, the clerk will indicate whether you passed or need to repeat it.
If you passed and completed the other tests, then they’ll ask for additional details to ensure your new license arrives at the correct location.
2. Written Test
One of the first tests you’ll take is the written test.
However, in some cases, you’ll have a choice to take either the written test first or the driving test first.
The written test covers the education that the individual received during driver’s training.
A modern driver’s training course covers two sections.
The instructor will hold classes in which the students attend and learn about various road laws and regulations.
This is where they learn about rights-of-way, U-turns, and how different roads in different zones use different speed limits.
This is information they need to memorize for a written test which determines how much information they retained.
If the student doesn’t pass the written test, then it’s determined that they don’t know the laws of the road well enough to receive their license.
Some states will allow them to redo the test without having to repeat the entire course.
Others will not.
The written portion of the test can take anywhere from a half-hour to an hour and thirty minutes.
It largely depends on how long the student takes to complete the test.
Most instructors will give their students two or three hours to complete it.
If they’re not finished with the test by then, the instructor will grade them based on what they did complete.
In most cases, that student will fail and need to take the test over again.
There are special circumstances in which students requiring more time due to disabilities or certain learning behaviors may receive more time.
In all, however, it should only take an hour on average for the written portion of the test.
Grading the written test varies.
Some instructors can grade the tests as they’re submitted.
This means the student can receive their results in only a few minutes.
Other instructors may wait to grade the test until after everyone has submitted theirs.
In this case, it may take a day or two for the student to receive their results.
The written portion can be the longest of all the tests depending on the student and instructor.
3. The Driving Test
The final test a student has to complete to receive their license is the driving test.
During the driving test, the student has to demonstrate an understanding of various laws.
The test usually starts with parking.
During this portion of the test, the student has to complete various parking challenges.
They include backing into a parking spot, parallel parking, and driving through cones.
The driving tester will be in the car with the driver to evaluate their performance.
It takes anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour for the parking portion of the test.
After the parking section is complete, the tester will give directions to the student.
They’ll need to follow their directions and satisfy all rules and laws of driving.
For example, the evaluator will determine the student’s ability to stop at stop signs and traffic lights.
They’ll also determine whether the student knows what to do when driving on one-way streets and two-way streets.
The test covers several different types of roadways like:
- Residential streets
- Downtown and city streets
In some cases, the instructor may even take a student through a construction area to determine their ability to control their speed and obey the laws.
This portion of the test varies in length since it depends on how far each type of roadway is from the other.
For example, the test may last a half-hour longer because it takes a while to arrive in a downtown area.
In most cases, however, the average time it takes to do the driving portion of the test is 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
The evaluator will then inform the student whether or not they passed the driving portion of the test.
How Long Does It Take To Complete A Driver’s Permit?
According to the laws in Michigan, you have to hold your driver’s permit for six months before you can obtain your license.
That time may vary according to every state.
During those six months, you’re required to have 50 hours of supervised driving on your record.
Supervised driving entails driving with someone over the age of 21 who has a driver’s license in the vehicle.
They must be in the car with you and must be in the front passenger’s seat while you’re driving.
You usually receive a learner’s permit after you’ve completed the written test.
This is essentially your first step towards owning an official driver’s license.
The learner’s permit allows you to legally drive on the roadways under supervision as described above.
It’s a way to let you practice driving before the driver’s test.
Because you have to drive with it for six months, you can’t receive your official driver’s license until after those six months.
You also won’t receive your driver’s license if haven’t met the requirement of 50 hours of supervised driving.
Once the six months are over and you’ve completed 50 hours of supervised driving, you’re eligible to take the driver’s test.
Following the driver’s test, you can then receive your official driver’s license.
How Long Does It Take To Receive Your Enhanced Driver’s License?
Thanks to new federal laws, anyone wanting to travel domestically on a plane needs a new type of license or a passport.
This new license, called an enhanced driver’s license or RealID, is supposedly superior in helping law enforcement identify individuals.
It makes travel safer.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the deadline for certain states to enforce RealID, it is eventually going to be a requirement for travel via airlines.
The good news is that it only takes a few weeks to receive your enhanced driver’s license.
Most people will receive their enhanced driver’s license in two to three weeks.
Like an original driver’s license, there is a chance that it can take up to 45 days.
If 45 days pass and you still haven’t received it, then you’ll want to contact your local licensing office.
How Do You Get An Enhanced Driver’s License?
The steps to get an enhanced driver’s license are simple.
1. Bring Documents
You need to bring a few documents to verify your identity.
The first is proof that you are a citizen of the United States.
In most cases, this means bringing an official birth certificate.
A copy of your birth certificate won’t be sufficient.
You need the original certificate with the raised seal.
If you don’t have a birth certificate, then a passport can also satisfy this requirement provided it’s issued by the United States or a US territory.
The second document you need to bring is a valid social security number.
In most cases, you only need to provide the number.
However, it’s a good idea to have your social security card with you.
This gives the clerk proof that you are who you say you are.
You’ll also need proof of your identity in the form of an ID card.
The ID card needs to have a picture of you with your name on it.
Your driver’s license is the best form of identification in this case.
Other photo IDs may work, too.
It varies by state, so check with your state for details on what you will need to obtain the RealID.
Finally, you need proof of residency within the state that you’re attempting to get an enhanced driver’s license.
This is also usually satisfied with a driver’s license because it has your address on it.
If you don’t have one available, then you can also provide bills or other statements that show your address on them.
It also needs to have your name on it.
2. Take A New Photo
Once you present all your documents to confirm your identity, you’ll need to take a new photo.
Since your enhanced driver’s license is going to be your latest form of identification, it needs your most recent government-issued photo attached to it.
When the photo booth is open, you’ll need to stand in front of a background and look into the camera.
The clerk then saves that picture for your new license.
3. Take A Vision Test
In most cases, you won’t need to take a vision test if you’ve recently updated your license.
However, if your license was on the verge of becoming expired, then it may be time for a vision test.
The government regularly has a vision test performed to ensure your ability to see hasn’t changed.
If you do need corrective lenses, then it will state so on the license.
If your vision has worsened and you qualify as being legally blind, then the license will also reflect that.
Since most individuals are updating their licenses before their current one expires because of the deadline, most won’t need to worry about a vision test.
4. Pay A Fee
Unfortunately, there is a fee associated with updating your license to an enhanced one.
The fee in Michigan is $45 for four years.
The good news is that this is a one-time fee that you don’t need to pay as much every time you renew your license in the future.
It simply covers the extra time the clerk has to take on to convert your license into an enhanced one.
In some cases, such as having a low income, you may be able to have the fee waived.
It’s worth speaking with your local branch to determine your eligibility.
Receiving your driver’s license in the mail can take only a few weeks.
However, there’s a lengthy process to follow before you can finalize your application to receive your official license.
With the time it takes to complete driver’s training, you can expect the entire process to take six to eight months.
It largely depends on your ability to pass the three driver’s tests and how fast you can reach 50 hours of supervised driving.