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Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.
Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S., while San Antonio is the second-most populous in the state and seventh largest in the U.S. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the fourth and fifth largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country, respectively. Other major cities include Austin, the second-most populous state capital in the U.S., and El Paso. Texas is nicknamed “The Lone Star State” to signify its former status as an independent republic, and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texan state seal. The origin of Texas’s name is from the word taysha, which means “friends” in the Caddo language.
Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes common to both the U.S. Southern and Southwestern regions. Although Texas is popularly associated with the U.S. southwestern deserts, less than 10% of Texas’s land area is desert. Most of the population centers are in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.
The term “six flags over Texas” refers to several nations that have ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845, Texas joined the union as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that led to the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state before the American Civil War, Texas declared its secession from the U.S. in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.
Historically four major industries shaped the Texas economy prior to World War II: cattle and bison, cotton, timber, and oil. Before and after the U.S. Civil War the cattle industry, which Texas came to dominate, was a major economic driver for the state, thus creating the traditional image of the Texas cowboy. In the later 19th century cotton and lumber grew to be major industries as the cattle industry became less lucrative. It was ultimately, though, the discovery of major petroleum deposits (Spindletop in particular) that initiated an economic boom which became the driving force behind the economy for much of the 20th century. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2015, it is second on the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with 54. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in state export revenue since 2002, and has the second-highest gross state product. If Texas was an individual country, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world.

Texas is the second-largest U.S. state, after Alaska, with an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2). Though 10% larger than France and almost twice as large as Germany or Japan, it ranks only 27th worldwide amongst country subdivisions by size. If it were an independent country, Texas would be the 40th largest behind Chile and Zambia.
Texas is in the south central part of the United States of America. Three of its borders are defined by rivers. The Rio Grande forms a natural border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south. The Red River forms a natural border with Oklahoma and Arkansas to the north. The Sabine River forms a natural border with Louisiana to the east. The Texas Panhandle has an eastern border with Oklahoma at 100° W, a northern border with Oklahoma at 36°30′ N and a western border with New Mexico at 103° W. El Paso lies on the state’s western tip at 32° N and the Rio Grande.
With 10 climatic regions, 14 soil regions and 11 distinct ecological regions, regional classification becomes problematic with differences in soils, topography, geology, rainfall, and plant and animal communities.[20] One classification system divides Texas, in order from southeast to west, into the following: Gulf Coastal Plains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and Basin and Range Province.
The Gulf Coastal Plains region wraps around the Gulf of Mexico on the southeast section of the state. Vegetation in this region consists of thick piney woods. The Interior Lowlands region consists of gently rolling to hilly forested land and is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest.

The Great Plains region in central Texas is in spans through the state’s panhandle and Llano Estacado to the state’s hill country near Austin. This region is dominated by prairie and steppe. “Far West Texas” or the “Trans-Pecos” region is the state’s Basin and Range Province. The most varied of the regions, this area includes Sand Hills, the Stockton Plateau, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert grasslands.
Texas has 3,700 named streams and 15 major rivers, with the Rio Grande as the largest. Other major rivers include the Pecos, the Brazos, Colorado, and Red River. While Texas has few natural lakes, Texans have built over 100 artificial reservoirs.
The size and unique history of Texas make its regional affiliation debatable; it can be fairly considered a Southern or a Southwestern state, or both. The vast geographic, economic, and cultural diversity within the state itself prohibits easy categorization of the whole state into a recognized region of the United States. Notable extremes range from East Texas which is often considered an extension of the Deep South, to Far West Texas which is generally acknowledged to be part of the interior Southwest.

FAQ Texas

How do I get my first driver’s license in Texas?

If you have never held a driver’s license and are applying for one in Texas, you will need to apply for a Texas learner’s permit which requires a vision test and a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. After you receive the learners permit you will need to you to pass a road skills test to get a Texas driver’s license.

How old do I need to be to get a driver’s license in Texas?

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for driver’s license in Texas

What is Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program?

All minors living in the State of Texas are required to complete the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program. This course is designed to help teen drivers slowly gain skill and experience behind the wheel, over an extended period of time, so that when they are issued a non-restricted license, they can safely operate a motor vehicle on Texas highways.

How do I get my Texas driver’s license if I’m under 18?

The first step to obtain a driver’s license in Texas is to receive a learner’s permit. All the minors applying for the learner’s permit must meet the following criteria:
  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Have consent from a parent or legal guardian
  • Completed the required classroom portion of driver’s education
  • Provide proof of a Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form, high school diploma, or GED

If you meet the criteria, you can take a written knowledge test covering a range of topics, including Texas traffic laws and safe driving techniques. Upon completion of this test, you will be issued a learner license, which will allow you to gain behind-the-wheel experience while supervised by a licensed adult of at least 21 years of age. Click here for Learner License Application Checklist. After you turn 16 you can apply for driver’s license and take the road skills test. Please note, you will have to hold a learners permit for 6 months and provide a proof that you have successfully completed an approved driver education course before taking the road skills test.

What is a Provisional License?

If you are between 16-18 years old and applied for driver’s license, you will be issued a provisional license. With the provisional license you can’t drive more than one passenger under the age of 21 and cannot use a wireless communication device, except in the case of emergencies. After you turn 18 your provisional license will expire and you will receive the non-restricted license.

Who needs to complete an Adult Driver Education Course?

If you are under the age 25, and a FIRST TIME applicant for a Texas Driver’s License, you must take an approved Adult Driver Education course BEFORE you can apply for a driver’s license.

Do I need to complete an Adult Driver Education Course if I have a driver’s license form another state?

If, under age 25 and you have a valid license from another state in the USA, you are not required

to take a driver’s license education course.

How do I get my Texas driver’s license if I’m over 18?

If you are applying for the Texas driver’s license and you are over 18, you must follow the following steps:
  • Visit your local Texas DPS location.
  • Provide appropriate documents to verify your identity, Texas residency, U.S. citizenship or lawful presence status, and Social Security number.
  • Bring the certificate of completion of Adult Driver Education Course If you took the Adult Driver Education Course online, please allow 7-14 working days for your certificate to be delivered to your provided address.
  • Complete the “Application for Texas Driver License or Identification Card” form
  • Provide either a proof of Texas vehicle registration (if you are a new Texas resident) and proof of financial responsibility for each vehicle you own or a statement that affirms that you do not own a motor vehicle.
  • Pay the required fees. (Click here to see the fees)
  • Pass the vision test
  • Pass both a knowledge test and a driving test (unless you are exempt). You will have to provide the vehicle.

    Keep in mind that all applicants under the age of 25 in Texas must pass a driver education course before they may apply for their first driver license.

What are the residency requirements for a driver’s license in Texas?

To verify Texas residency, you will need to provide any two documents with your name and residential address on them. Click here for the list of documents. One of the documents has to show that you have lived in Texas for at least 30 days. However, the 30 day requirement will be waived if you are surrendering a valid, unexpired driver license from another state.

What do I need to present to prove a lawful presence in Texas?

If you are not a US citizen or a green card holder, you will have to show a prove of your legal presence. The documents required depends on your visa category. Below is the list of documents you will need to present:
  • Foreign passport
  • U.S. visa (expired or unexpired)
  • I-94


  • F-1s/F-2s: Most recent Form I-20
  • F-1 OPT: OPT I-20 and EAD
  • J-1/J-2: DS-2019
  • Other visa types: I-94

Can I drive legally with a driver’s license from another country in Texas?

Yes, if you are between 18 and 75 years old, have a valid driver’s license from your home country AND your country recognizes the equivalent U.S. license, you may drive a private vehicle for up to one year. To find out if your country meets this requirement, also known as reciprocity, email:

What will the process be like in the Texas DPS when applying for driver’s license?

The whole process usually takes more than one visit to the DPS office and wait times can be long.
  • Upon arrival you will complete an application and present your documents to a clerk. If your paperwork is in order you will be given a written exam.
  • Once you pass the written exam you can set an appointment for a driving skills test.
  • The driving test involves an examiner riding with you as you drive a specified route.
  • Once you pass both exams you will be given a vision test, thumb-printed and photographed. This is required of all Texas drivers.
  • A paper driving permit will be given on site which allows you to drive legally until you receive the driver’s license.
  • The license will be mailed in a few weeks.

What’s going to happen during the driving exam in Texas?

First, the officer will inspect your car to check if the car has valid stickers/registration/documentation. Next, you will be asked to start your vehicle/ignition. Make sure to wear the seatbelt before you start the vehicle. Then the officer will ask you to flash the signal lights one by one to make sure they are working properly and you know the difference between them.
During the driving test you will be asked to:
  • Reverse
  • Do a parallel parking
  • Drive around the DPS or the closest neighborhood (mostly residential areas); be careful with signaling, speed limit, applying sudden breaks

While driving, avoid turning and looking at the officer every time he speaks, this can distract from the driving or watching the road. Just listen carefully and follow the instructions.

Can I take the knowledge exam in Spanish when applying for driver’s license in Texas?

Yes, you can take the knowledge exam in Spanish when applying for a driver’s license in Texas. Knowledge tests are only available in English and Spanish. However, you have to understand road signs written in English to pass the test(s). Also, due to a limited number of Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) who are bilingual, DPS cannot guarantee driving tests will be available in Spanish at every driver license office. If a Spanish-speaking CSR is available, then the driving test may be given in Spanish.

Can I use a translator to take the knowledge and driving exams when applying for driver’s license in Texas?

You can bring someone to translate, but the translator may only help you to communicate with the CSR (Customer Service Representatives) before and after the knowledge or driving test is given. Translators are not allowed to help you during the tests. The CSR will use hand signals and other non-verbal cues during the driving test for applicants who do not speak English.

What will be on my knowledge exam in Texas?

The knowledge exam is covering traffic laws and traffic signs areas. It contains 30 questions with multiple-choice answers. You will need to answer 21 questions correctly to pass the test (70%).

What if I fail my knowledge exam in Texas?

If you fail the knowledge test, you cannot retake the test the same day. After 90 days or three failed attempts, a new application and fee will be required.
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