DMV Drivers License & ID Cards

  Obtaining a DC Driver’s License

Washington, DC law requires you to have a DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driver’s license if you live in the District for 60 days or more and operate a motor vehicle in public space. Once you begin driving, you have 60 days to get your license. (You must also have at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019.)

Please plan to study and prepare to take your written driver’s license test as soon as you have your social security card, ideally with in 30 days of DC residency . (See #3 below for all of the study and testing materials.)

General Driving Links

Who covers the cost of the DC driver’s license? If a host family requires their au pair to obtain their DC driver’s license so they can drive the children, the host family is responsible for the cost of any classes and driver’s license fee.

 DC Driver’s License For New Arrivals to the US

1.Obtain your Social Security Card

2. Gather the documents you will need to bring.
  • 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.).
  • Cash or a debit/credit card to pay fees.
  • Social Security card.
  • Unexpired passport with visa, I-94, and DS-2019 (you need at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019).
  • Proof of DC Residency Certification (signed by Host Parent and with required documents).
  • Official English translation of out-of-country license if not written in English.* 

       For Rematch and Extension Au Pairs who have Changed Host Families:

  • Update your address with your bank or open a bank account.
  • You need to use this link to request a DS-2019 reprint with your current host family’s information and address. (It will arrive in 2-3 weeks)
  • If your social security card shows your previous address, you will need to do a USPS Change of Address and use the confirmation letter that comes in the mail for proof of residency.

3. Prepare for the DC Driver Knowledge Test

  • Download the DMV Genie app.  The App is free and you will select District of Columbia (and not Washington) as your location in order to practice the right questions. The Genie app’s questions are based on the official DMV manual.
  • Review information on the Knowledge Test.
  • Download and study the DC DMV Automobile Driver Manual.
  • Take these Practice Knowledge Tests to see if you are ready for the official DMV exam.

4. Select a DMV Service Location 

Written Knowledge Exams are 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. Check the DMV locations below to decide which is most convenient for you. Tip: Look for “Best Time to Visit this Location”, located near the bottom of the webpage for each DMV location.

5. Complete the Document Checklist and go take your Knowledge Test.  

  • Go on the DMV website and complete the Document Verification Guide and print out the list it creates.
  • Bring this list and all of the documents (from step 2 above) to the DMV Service Location.

Other Important Things to Consider Before Your DMV Visit

*What if my out-of-country driver’s license is not written in English? If your valid, non-US driver’s license is not in English, you must bring an English translation from either your embassy or from a translation company. Unfortunately, the DC DMV does not recognize International Driver’s Permits (IDP).

    • 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’s 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.  U.S. Translation Company is one company offering this service.
    • U.S. Translation Company offers a special price for Portuguese and Spanish speaking au pairs with America Au Pairs. The normal price for a certified translation is $75, but if you write “Au Pair in America” in the subject line, the price will be $45. Fees will be more for other country translations depending on how difficult it is to find a translator who is certified in your language.

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

The DMV uses an international database to authenticate foreign driver licenses. If your driver’s license does not match the current driver’s license listed by your country in the database, the DMV will not allow you to use your driver’s 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, ask to speak to a manager. Politely suggest that the manager consult the DMV’s online resource. If the DMV is still not willing to give you a license, just leave. Contact your community counselor as soon as possible to discuss what happened.  DO NOT TAKE THE LEARNERS PERMIT, EVEN IF THEY OFFER IT TO YOU.

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

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

  • Here is the information on how to complete the Road Skills Tests (including online scheduling).

Obtaining a DC Driver’s License for relocation from another US State

If you have a US license from another state and require one in Washington, DC please bring the following to the DMV:
 
  • You will need to request a new DS-2019 with your new Host Family’s address. Order it here. It will take about 2-3 weeks to arrive.
  • Check that you have a full license and not a Learner’s Permit.  Ask your host family or community counselor to make sure it is a full license.  If it is a learner’s permit go up to the top of the blog and start as if you just arrived in the United States and do not show the DC DMV this learner’s permit.
  • Next, complete the 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.)
  • Cash or a debit/credit card to pay fees.
  • Social Security card.
  • Your current US driver’s license.
  • Unexpired passport with visa, I-94, and new DS-2019 (you need at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019).  Don’t forget, you will need to request a DS 2019 with your new Host Family address on it.
  • Proof of DC Residency Certification (signed by Host Parent and with required documents).
  • 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.

Obtaining a DC Identification Card (For Non-Drivers)

If you will not be driving but would like an official form of identification, you may obtain a DC Identification Card. This blog post explains how to handle transportation costs for an au pair if car use will not be provided.

To understand how to apply for your Identification Card from the Washington, DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), read this overview on the DMV website, click on each link and follow the four steps below.

How to Obtain Your DC Identification Card

1. Obtain your Social Security Card

2. Gather the documents you will need to bring.

  • 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.)
  • Cash or a debit/credit card to pay fees.
  • Social Security card.
  • Unexpired passport with visa, I-94, and DS-2019 (you need at least 6 months left on your visa or DS-2019)
  • Proof of DC Residency Certification (signed by Host Parent and with required documents)

3. Select a DMV service location

Check the website for the DMV locations to decide which is best for you.Tip: Look for “Best Time to Visit this Location”, located near the bottom of the webpage for each DMV location.

4. Complete the Document Checklist and obtain your Identification Card.

  • Go on the DMV website and complete the Document Verification Guide and print out the list it creates.
  • Bring this list and all of the documents (from step 2 above) to your DMV Service Location.