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Driver’s License/Car Registration

Getting a driver’s license and registering a car is a necessary process that most people dislike. It ensures a minimum competence level of all drivers and collects the taxes and fees that help maintain the nearly 10,000 miles of roads that cross Nebraska.

Even people born and raised in the United State have struggled at one time or another with the process and often express negative feelings about the system. One website that tracks people’s attitudes through their comments on social media, Amplicate.com, shows that about 76 percent of people "hate" the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Among the biggest complaints are long lines, long waits, and discovering too late that they do not have all the necessary documents.

The best way to keep the process as painless and smooth as possible is to avoid times when offices are usually very busy. And make sure you have all the proper documents.

Driver’s license offices are busiest:

  • After 3 p.m.
  • When schools are not in session
  • Days before and after a holiday

If applying for a driver’s license, remember:

  • Study the Nebraska Driver’s Manual. About 60 percent of first-time applicants fail the written test. The Driver’s Manual can be picked up in any DMV office or an online copy can be viewed here. A practice test can be found here.
  • Driving tests are usually required for people applying for their first license, but staff at the DMV are authorized to ask anyone perform a driving test. Applicants are required to provide the vehicle for this test. The car should be clean and in good working order. (The Nebraska Driver’s Manual lists on page 11 the skills that will be examined during a driving test.)
  • The DMV requires one piece of identification that also establishes date of birth, such as a passport, a previous driver’s license, or immigration documents. A complete list of acceptable forms of identification are listed on page nine of the Driver’s Manual.
  • The DMV requires two documents that establish Nebraska residence such as a utility bill, bank statement, vehicle registration, mortgage or rental agreement, or even a magazine subscription issued within the last 90 days. A complete list of accepted documents is on page 10 of the Driver’s Manual.
  • The DMV may also require proof of social security which could be your social security card, W-2 form, a pay stub (with a social security number), or a Record of Arrival and Departure found in any valid foreign passport.
  • There will be a vision test, even for renewals. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, and you need them to drive, be sure to have them with you.
  • You will also need a completed data form.
  • Bring cash. Some DMV offices will not accept personal checks or credit cards. A two-year driver’s license (Class O) in Nebraska will cost about $12.50.

If registering a vehicle:

  • Vehicles registered for the first time may be registered in person or by mail.
  • Provide proof of insurance, which is usually a small card issued by the insurance company.
  • Provide proof that sales tax has been paid, or a copy of the lease agreement.
  • Registration taxes and fees are determined by the value of the car. The Nebraska DMV has an online estimator that will help determine how much the registration will cost. (Every registration must renewed every year, and as the value of the car lowers (depreciates) over time, so will the cost of registration.)

Additional help or information about other states’ motor vehicle policies can be found at dmv.org.

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