Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Delaware
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Whether you’ve just moved to Delaware or you’re a 16 year old ready to get behind the wheel, you need to apply for a new driver’s license. The Delaware DMV issues the following types of licenses:
- Class D operator's license (passenger cars, pickups, utility vehicles, panel trucks weighing less than 26,000 pounds).
NOTE: If you’re younger than 18, you must take a driver's education course before applying for your Level One permit.
Learner’s Permit for 18 or Older
If you’re older than 18 and new to driving, you’ll first apply for a Learner’s Permit. You must hold this for 60 days and practice driving before you take the road test.
New DE Residents
If you’ve moved here from another state with a valid driver’s license, all you need to do is:
- Go to your local DMV.
- Fill out an application and pay the $40 fee.
- Pass the vision screening.
You must turn in your old license within 60 days of moving here and show two proofs of residency, such as utility bills. The road and written tests are waived, unless your license is expired.
Younger Than 18― The minimum age to drive in Delaware is 16 years. Teens must follow the steps of the Graduated Driver's License Program. Before you get a Level One learner’s permit, you’ll have to take an approved driver education course.
18 and Older― Taking a supplemental driver’s ed class always helps people pass the tests, although it’s not required.
The best way to prepare is by studying the Drivers Manual. It’s also available in Spanish.
You should also use the free practice tests to try out your road rules knowledge.
There are four DMVs. Call to see if they will make a testing appointment for you. If you have special test day needs for a disability, you must call ahead to inquire about accommodations and appointments.
On the day of the test, be prepared to:
- Pay the $40 license fee. If you want to pay by credit card, check with the office first.
- Pass the vision test.
- Provide one primary and one secondary forms of identification from Delaware’s lists.
Driver’s license applications must be made in person.
If You Pass
Congratulations! Make an appointment to come back and take the road test in 10 days.
If You Fail
If you fail, you must wait 10 days before taking the written test again.
A license usually requires a car, so start shopping. Consider how far you’ll be traveling and how often. Used cars have lots of great values. Don’t forget to get a vehicle history report if you go that route. A report details the car’s past, so you can be sure you’re not buying a flooded out engine or the like.
Once you have a car, you’ll need car insurance. Shop different providers for the best deal. Be sure to ask about discounts for good driving or good grades if you’re a student.
All first-time drivers must take the road test at the same office where you took the written test. First, make an appointment before you come in. You must also provide proof of car insurance and a valid registration.
Show up with a licensed driver. If you fail, you’ll have to get driven home.
Once You Pass
The DMV will issue your license on the spot.
If You Fail
Ask for another road test appointment. Each DMV has its own waiting time requirement.
Non-citizens must apply for a license within 60 days of becoming a resident. You’ll have to pass the written and road tests (see above).
The exception is Germany, which has a reciprocity agreement with Delaware.
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