DC Driver License for Au Pairs

Photo: Jzee (Flickr)

Photo: Jzee (Flickr)

Planning to drive? DC law requires you to obtain a DC driver license within 30 days of arriving in DC. You need at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019.

To understand how to apply for your driver license from the Washington, DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), read each of these six steps and click on all links.

1. How to Obtain a DC Driver License for Non-US Citizens

2. You will need to pass the DC Knowledge Test

3. When you are ready to apply for your driver license and take the Knowledge Test, find a DMV Service location. Check to see the hours of operation and also the best time to visit this location.

Tip: Knowledge Exams are usually offered Tuesday-Saturday 8:15 am-3 pm. On Wednesdays, hours begin at 9:15 am. Allow at least 3  hours for the entire visit. Tuesdays are usually very busy and the wait can be longer. Each location gives information on the best time to visit them on the website. 

4. Bring the following with you to the DMV:

  1. Completed application (On page 2 , Section G, Voter Registration, check the following box:  ❑ I decline/opt out. Do not register me to vote or update my voter registration. Then skip to Section H.)
  2. Cash or a debit/credit card to pay fees
  3. Social Security card
  4. Unexpired Out-of-Country driver license
  5. Official English translation of out-of-country license if not written in English*
  6. Unexpired passport with visa, I-94, and DS-2019 (you need at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019)
  7. Proof of DC Residency Certification (signed by Host Parent and with required documents)
  8. You will need to pass a vision screening at the DMV. Bring your glasses or wear contacts if you normally use these when you drive.

5. Other important information about your visit to the DMV:

*What if my out-of-country driver license is not written in English? 

If your valid, non-US driver license is not in English, you must bring an English translation from either your embassy or from a translation company.

  • The embassy translation must be on official embassy letterhead. The date of the translation must be on or after the actual date of the non-English language driver license.
  • Translations from companies must be certified with a translation stamp, or notarized by preparing a notarized affidavit confirming the translation was prepared by a qualified translator and that it is both accurate and complete.)  Other au pairs have used these translation companies: Indy Translations or US Translation Company.

What if the DMV tells me they can’t authenticate my out-of-country driver license?

The DMV uses an international database to authenticate foreign driver licenses. If your driver license does not match the current driver license listed by your country in the database, the DMV will not allow you to use your driver license as proof that you are able to drive.

If the DMV says that your license does NOT match their book of official out-of-country licenses, politely ask to speak to a manager. Ask the manager to consult the DMV’s online resource. If the DMV is still not willing to give you a license, just leave. Do NOT take the learner permit, even if they offer it to you. Contact Catherine (your Community Counselor) as soon as possible, and let her know what happened.

What if I have already talked with Catherine, and I know that the DMV can’t authenticate my out-of-country driver license ?

In this situation, you will be required to pass both the Knowledge Test and the Road Skills Test in order to obtain your DC driver license. Important:  An au pair must be  21 or older to be issued a full DC Driver License in this circumstance.

6. Other Driver License Information

Additional online study aids recommended by other au pairs in the cluster

Updated on 02/12/19

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