The regulations in this guide are taken from Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV) materials, and they may change at any time. For official state regulations, please consult www.expresslane.org.
You must have at least 180 days left on your immigration document. You must also have one of the following:
You will need to attend a driving school and take a 14-hour pre-licensing course. Before taking the course, you will have to go to the OMV and get a Temporary Instructional Permit. The course is 6 hours of class time and 8 hours of driving time, and the driving time is usually broken up into four 2-hour sessions. The school will provide the vehicle for the driving time, and some schools will pick you up at home. The average price for the course is about $400, and many schools can also provide the driving skills test for an additional $40.
A few driving schools are listed below, but you may find others online. OISS does not endorse any driving school, so make sure you ask questions before paying any fees. For example, ask if they are familiar with license requirements for internationals, and ask how long it will take to complete the entire course. Some schools will provide the 6 hours of class time but make you wait to take the driving time, and you want to avoid this.
Gather all the items below before you visit the OMV:
When you visit the OMV you will take a number and wait for service. Wait times can take many hours, so be patient and bring books or something to occupy your time while you wait.
First-time applicants must successfully pass the driver's license examination consisting of the vision test, general knowledge test, and the road skills test. The applicant may have an interpreter to translate for him/her during the examination process. You may take the general knowledge test and the road skills test through a driving schools and present proof of completion to the OMV, then you will only need to pass the vision test. If you have a license from another US state, Germany, South Korea, Switzerland, or Taiwan, you will only need to pass the vision test.
If you are taking the driving skills test at the OMV you will need to provide a vehicle. The vehicle may be yours or a friend's, but it must have a current safety inspection sticker (brake tag), current license plate validation sticker, a current certificate of registration, and proof of liability insurance for the vehicle.
The following documents can be submitted as proof of insurance:
Penalties for driving without insurance in Louisiana are very strict. You could face fines or even jail time. Do not take the risk of driving without being properly insured.
If you are not planning to drive, a state identification card is a useful form of ID. We recommend that you do not carry your passport with you, and a state ID is a safe alternative.
To get a state ID, you must have at least 180 days left on your immigration document. Bring the following to the OMV:
The following offices are open Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. They do not provide driving tests between 11am-1pm.
For more information about obtaining a driver's license, check out Tulane University's driver's license guide.