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What Forms and Documentation Does My Teen Need at the DMV?

If your teen is nearing the age where he or she will be able to start driving, then you're probably wondering what steps you and your teen will need to take to obtain learner's permits, driver's licenses, and everything in between. Specifically, you may be wondering, "what forms does my teen need at the DMV?"

Nobody wants to spend more time than they have to at their local DMV, so making sure you bring in all the necessary forms and documentation the first time around can save you a great deal of time and hassle.

To Obtain a Learner's Permit

If your teen is looking to apply for a learner's permit, you'll want to start by making sure he or she is old enough to do so. In most states, you must be at least 15 years old to obtain a permit (though the age is higher in many states). Generally, your teen will need to wait until the day he or she reaches the required permit age to even apply for a permit, which means he or she may not obtain the permit on the same day. This varies from one state's DMV to the next, however, as some may be able to issue a temporary learner's permit.

The necessary documentation for obtaining a learner's permit generally includes:

  • proof of identity (could be a school-issued ID card, birth certificate, or similar)
  • proof of Social Security number (Social Security card, 1099, W-2 form)
  • proof of state residency (report card, recent bank statement, etc.)

Furthermore, it should be noted that all minors must be accompanied by an adult when they come into the DMV to apply for a learner's permit. In some cases, such as in states that require driver's training prior to applying for a permit, a certificate of completion may also need to be presented.

To Apply for a Driver's License

In most states, teens can apply for a driver's license once they turn age 16. In some states, however, this only applies if the driver has taken and completed a driver's training course, along with a certain number of training hours (usually around 50). Otherwise, a driver's license cannot be obtained until the age of 18 in these states.

When your teen is ready to apply for his or her driver's license, you'll need to make sure you bring the following documentation to the DMV:

  • proof of identity (birth certificate, passport, school ID, etc.)
  • learner's permit
  • proof that the teen passed the written exam and road skills test
  • any payment required for the application (usually in the form of check or cash)

As with applying for a learner's permit, a parent or guardian will also need to be present here. Also, keep in mind that your teen most likely won't receive his or her license the same day; more than likely, a temporary license will be provided until the official one can be mailed out.

An Important Note for Parents

This is a general guide on the documentation required in most states for your teen to obtain a learner's permit and driver's license. You are still encouraged to check your state's specific requirements on their DMV website, as requirements can change from time to time, and each state reserves the right to set forth their own regulations in this regard.

As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind as you plan for your teen to receive his or her learner's permit and driver's license. If you need assistance in finding the right driver's education program to prepare your teen for being behind the wheel, consider enrolling him or her in an online course.

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