15 Things You Can Legally Do at 16 (in Most States)

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Turning 16 is an important milestone for every person. You can be more independent and free in many ways at this age. You will also have the right to make your own decisions without the guardian’s permission.

That means you will have to take responsibility for your actions before the law. So, what can you do at 16? What are the suggestions for 16-year-olds?

Let’s find out in the following article to see things you can do when you turn 16.

What Can A 16-Year-Old Do?

Below are some of the things a 16-year-old can do in most states in the US. However, some states still have their own laws and restrictions. You need to consider and learn carefully before deciding to implement.

1. Have a Driving License

America is a country where cars are one of the most popular means of transport. So you can learn to drive by owning a driver’s license and using it legally. Now, you can help your family on long trips or know how to use an additional vehicle.

After owning the driver’s license, you can think about buying a used car. Instead of expensive new cars, a used car will be more affordable. In addition to vehicles, you can also learn other certificates, such as flying a hot air balloon or a ship.

2. Get Married

You can register your marriage and start a family from 16. However, this age may not have enough experience and mature thoughts. Therefore, you should still have your parents’ permission to register your marriage.

3. Research about The University

Check the information about the university you might want to enter

You don’t have much time left to decide which school you will attend next. It is an excellent time to start researching your plans.

Unlike previous levels of education, the college will be a more specialized training environment about what you choose.

Most universities have entrance exams. You need to research and choose a school from now on to define your goals clearly.

Some schools will also prioritize certain types of certificates. You can register for the exam in advance to reduce the pressure in the official entrance exam.

4. Can Register for Military Service

You can be available to register for military

16 years old is when you will decide how your life. Some people feel uninterested and decide to drop out. Some people, because of forced circumstances, choose to work full-time. And you can also apply to join the military.

If joining the army is your dream, now is the time to do it, and no one can stop it. You can also participate in summer camps to test the feeling of being a soldier.

However, joining the army also requires certain conditions, such as a high school diploma. So if you intend to join the military, you should prepare all the documents from now on.

5. Get a Full-time Job

You can start working from the age of 14. However, at this time, the law still limits the number of working hours to ensure time for learning or development. Just two years later, when you turn 16, you can get a full-time job.

You can go to work as soon as 14 years old to gain experience and develop more when you are old enough to work full-time. With knowledge and a good attitude, you can find a better job or advance in your current position.

6. Drop Out of School

Dropping out of school is an uncommon practice and encouraged.

However, in some states, 16-year-olds have the right to decide whether they want to continue their education or not. Dropping out of school won’t be so bad when you clearly define your goals and plans for the future.

At this point, you can make your own decisions and live an adult life. That means you can leave school to work, participate in volunteer activities, or travel.

7. Donate Organs

You can start registering to donate organs now. When you die, your body will be more helpful to contribute to medicine in the unfortunate event. Also, good body parts can help others who are sick.

Another thing you can do while you’re healthy is donating blood. Donating blood helps society and as a blood reserve for you. You will also receive many benefits for your body after each blood donation.

However, before donating blood, you need to confirm that you are eligible to donate blood. So make sure you have a healthy body and eat enough before going to the blood donation point.

8. Become a Volunteer

Volunteering is a beautiful job and contributes to the construction and development of society. You can volunteer as early as elementary school. However, some jobs require a minimum age for you to join.

Some jobs like driving and you need to have a driver’s license, and you can only get it when you are old enough. Other volunteer work, such as volunteering abroad programs, will also require you to be 15-16 years old.

9. Research on Soft Skills

Life skills are essential and should be from a young age. It is just the time for you to find and learn new skills to better yourself.

Some skills such as financial investment, buying, and selling help you improve your knowledge and help you make money.

Soft skills such as presentation, repair, cooking will also help you to have an easier life. In addition, you also need to improve your knowledge through reading books or doing scientific research.

10. Possessing a Passport

If in the past, when traveling or going abroad, you will need a guardian to accompany you. When you reach 16 years old, you can be independent and get a legal passport.

This passport is valid for up to 10 years, and you can travel abroad comfortably during that time. You also need to pay attention to renew if you are approaching your 27th birthday to avoid being stuck in your home country because your passport has expired.

11. You Can Change Your Name at Will

Many young people are not satisfied with their parents’ names over the past 16 years. Unlike other countries, the procedure to change a name for a 16-year-old person in the US is relatively easy. You will need to prepare a few papers and proofs, but the process is straightforward.

However, changing your name will also affect your recognition and impression of people before. If not necessary, you can use stage names or alternative names.

Many celebrities don’t appear with their real names on their birth certificates, and you can do too.

12. Invest in Yourself

16 years old can be an adult, and you will have to take care of yourself. At this point, your parents and guardians will no longer be responsible for raising you. So you need to know how to take care of yourself and invest in yourself properly.

In addition to having your financial savings or investment, you also need to take care of your health. Practicing sports and taking care of mental health are indispensable for adults.

Investing in yourself is not only about knowledge; you also need to take care of your appearance. Some skincare products or some elegant clothes are indispensable.

13. Activate Your Debit Card

16 years old and independent in life is not easy. So a debit card will help you cover the necessary expenses in advance. This card also works to manage to spend and help you better understand the value of money.

Instead of spending lavishly, you will need to consider carefully before buying. The bank will also have student support packages, but you will also be more responsible for working and earning money to pay off debt.

However, to avoid bad debt, some banks do not issue cards to minors or still need support from parents.

14. Sex

You are of legal age and are responsible for your actions. Sex is a basic human need, and you can do it at this age. You should have the basic knowledge and apply it correctly to protect yourself.

Don’t worry if you don’t have sex because not everyone is to do so as soon as they age. Maybe you need a little more time to wait until the right person and the right time for it to happen.

15. Try Out Alcohol

The law does not allow you to buy alcohol at this age, but drinking alcohol at home can (allowed only in some states). You can use a little wine at year-end parties or birthday parties. However, you do need parental supervision (see Specific Exceptions by State for more details). Alcohol is also not good for health, so you should not use too much even if you are eligible.


Young people in America are looking forward to turning 16 because they can fulfill their long-standing wishes. Once you are of age, you will be held accountable for all your actions.

Some actions can change your life, like changing your name, getting a tattoo, or getting married. So it would help if you consult elders like parents or a lawyer to make the best decision.

Have we provided you the helpful information? Do you have a better understanding of things you can do at 16 years old? Please share it with your friends.

Thank you for your interest in the article!

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