Requirements By Age
||Apply for Class CP Learner's Permit
||Take Driver's Education
||Complete forty (40) hour of Driving
||Apply for Class D Inter-
||Apply for Full Class C License
||18 and Older
This chart represents the process you may have to follow, depending on your age, the time you choose to hold each license, and the steps you’re required to follow. In other words, your exact process may vary, so please see below for more detailed outlines.
If you’re 18 years of age or older, you can forgo every step and immediately apply for your Class C license.
Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act
In 1997, the state enacted the Teenage & Adult Driver Responsibility Act (TADRA), which is the state’s version of the graduated driver’s license program. TADRA is designed to more thoroughly educate new drivers and allow them more behind-the-wheel practice before setting them free with an unrestricted Class C license. With TADRA, the state aims to decrease the number of vehicle-related accidents and deaths.
Under TADRA, teens between the ages of 15 and 18 (excluding teens who are exactly 18) must:
- Obtain a learner’s permit (Class CP license) and hold it for one year and one day.
- Complete a driver’s education course.
- Complete forty (40) hour of behind-the-wheel driving experience, six (6) hours must be at night.
- Complete the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP).
- Obtain an intermediate license (Class D license) and hold it for until you’re 18 and can apply for your full Class C license.
Of course, these requirements vary depending on age and you’re probably only going to go through every single one of them if you start the process at 15. We’ve outlined each permit and license below to help.
Obtain a Learner’s Permit
Once you’re 15, you will apply for your learner’s permit (also called a Class CP license). You will also apply for the learner’s permit if you’re 16 or 17 and are just now starting the process.
- Before you begin the application process, take a few practice tests to prepare yourself for the written exam.
- Get your school to sign and notarize a Certificate of Attendance. These forms are valid for 30 days, so plan accordingly. If you aren’t in school, you must present proof that you’re home schooled, enrolled in college, or your GED or high school diploma.
- Have proof of identification. For most US residents, this will be an original birth certificate. The state provides a list of acceptable proofs for both citizens and non-citizens. (Please note non-citizens must also show their original and valid immigration documents.)
- Have two proofs of residency.
- You won’t have to present your card, but you must be ready to provide your Social Security number. Non-citizens can present a Form SSAL 676, the Social Security Denial Letter. Contact the SSA for more information.
- If you’re new to the state and held a permit, license, or ID in your old state, dig it out. You must surrender it and, if you were a driver, submit a certified driving history no older than 30 days from your old state.
- Be prepared to pass a vision exam.
- Be prepared to pass a two tests knowledge test (this is where the practice tests come in handy).
- Have the $10 fee in the form of cash, a check, a money order, or a credit or debit card.
- Catch your parent or legal guardian when he’s not busy and head to your local Driver’s License Customer Service Center with everything―he has to sign for you. You won’t need an appointment, but you need to arrive about an hour before closing time to complete all paperwork and tests (the knowledge exam must begin 30 minutes before closing time). Also make sure your parent or legal guardian brings his state-issued license or ID.
NOTE: If you fail the written test, the amount of time you must wait before you can retake the test (or either part of it) depends on how many times you fail. If you fail once, you can retake it the next day. If you fail twice, you can retake it in seven days. If you fail three or more times, however, you must wait 30 days to retake the entire exam.
Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions
You can keep your learner’s permit for up to 24 months, but you must keep it for at least one year and one day before you apply for your intermediate or full driver’s license (unless you’re currently 17 and will turn 18 before such time passes).
During that time, you can drive with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and who is sitting in the passenger’s seat.
Keep in mind, the DDS will suspend your license if, for whatever reason, you’re no longer enrolled in school. In other words, if you drop out or are expelled, or if you miss ten (10) unexcused absences in a row with unexcused absences, the DDS can suspend your license. The DDS can also suspend your license for serious misbehavior at school like fighting or bringing weapons or drugs. Learn more at School and Your Driver’s License.
Take Drivers Education
If you’re younger than 17, you must take a state-approved driver’s education course before you can apply for your intermediate or full license.
The Department of Driver Services (DDS) provides an online tool to help you choose an approved driver’s education course.
New to the State
The DDS doesn’t recognize driver’s education courses from other states. If you’ve just moved to the state and you’re younger than 17, you must enroll in and successfully complete one of the state-approved courses.
Obtain an Intermediate License
After you’ve held your learner’s permit for one year and one day, and you’re at least 16 years old, you can apply for your intermediate license (or, Class D license).
However, not everyone will take this step. For example, if you’re 16 or 17 when you obtain your learner’s permit, you may allow enough time to pass between obtaining your learner’s permit and turning 18 to apply directly for your full Class C license (you have up to 24 months with your learner’s permit, after all).
If you choose this path, the main difference is that you must take your driving test when you apply for your full license (because you will have bypassed it along with the intermediate license).
But, if you’d rather apply for an intermediate license first:
- Make sure you have your old learner’s permit to surrender.
- Know your Social Security number. A Form SSAL 676, the Social Security Denial Letter, will suffice for non-citizens. Contact the SSA for more information
- Have your school sign and notarize another Certificate of Attendance. If you’re not in school, locate proof that you’re home schooled or enrolled in college, or find your GED or high school diploma.
- Find your Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) card; you must submit is as proof you completed the class. Chances are, you completed the class in ninth grade but if you didn’t, or if you need more information, visit the state’s page on the matter.
- Successfully complete a state-approved driver’s education course. The DDS doesn’t require proof in the form of a paper certificate since your course instructor will submit your completion electronically to the DDS; however, the DDS does recommend bringing your paper certificate just in case there’s a glitch. If you choose not to complete driver’s education, you can’t apply for your intermediate license until you’re 17.
- Have proof that you completed forty (40) hour of behind-the-wheel driving practice, with six of those hours being at night.
- If you completed driver’s education in a classroom, that proof will be an affidavit with the instructor’s signature (the DDS will provide the affidavit for your parent or legal guardian to sign before your driving test).
- If your driver’s education class was online, that proof will be a notarized copy of the Parent/Teen Driving Guide with your parent’s or legal guardian’s signature.
- Be prepared to pass another vision exam.
- Have the $10 fee in the form of cash, a check, a money order, or a credit or debit card.
- For your driving test, make sure you have a vehicle lined up that’s properly insured and registered. The examiner will check the proof of insurance and tag, as well as give the vehicle a safety inspection. No rentals allowed.
- Make an appointment with your nearest Driver’s License Customer Service Center to complete the paperwork (your parent or legal guardian must sign off on your application, and your legal guardian must bring a certified copy of the court document naming him your guardian), vision exam, and to take your driving test. The DDS doesn’t require appointments, but highly recommends them as no Center guarantees the availability of walk-in driving tests. You can make your appointment for up to 90 days in advance.
NOTE: If you fail your driving test once, you can retake it the next day. If you fail again, you can retake the exam in seven days. After failing three times, and every time after that, you must wait 30 days to retake it.
Intermediate License Driving Restrictions
You may only drive between 6 a.m. and midnight with an intermediate license. Once midnight rolls around, it’s time to get out of the driver’s seat.
During the first six months with your intermediate license, the only passengers you can have are immediate family members. During the second six (6) months, you can add one non-family passenger under 21 years of age, but after 12 months pass with your intermediate license you can bump that number of non-family passengers up to 3.
Practice Behind the Wheel
If you completed a driver’s education course and/or obtained an intermediate license, you’ve met the forty (40) hour of required behind-the-wheel driving practice described above. If you obtained an intermediate license, it also means you’ve already passed your driving test.
However, none of this means you should stop practicing your driving skills. The more practice you get, the more experienced of a driver you’ll become.
Apply for a License
If you’re 18 or older, you can apply for your full Class C license without going through all the steps listed above.
However, if you got into the game at 15, 16, or 17, you’ll be ready to apply for your full Class C license if:
- You’re now 18 years of age.
- You’ve passed your written exam (you passed this when you got your learner’s permit).
- You can surrender a learner’s permit that you held for one year and one day.
- You completed a driver’s education course and can provide proof of the necessary behind-the-wheel driving hours (this applies to applicants who are 16 and didn’t obtain an intermediate license; all others already showed proof when they applied for their intermediate licenses).
If you’ve met each of those requirements as they apply to you, the final step to obtaining a full Class C license is to pass your driving test.
Pass the Driving Test
If you obtained an intermediate license, you’ve already taken your driving test. So, you simply need to:
- Have your intermediate license to exchange for your full license.
- Gather up any required proofs of identity and residency in the event your intermediate license won’t suffice.
- Have the appropriate fee ($20 for a 5 years license and $32 for an eight-year license).
- Head to your local Driver’s License Customer Service Center to complete the paperwork, provide the above, and make the swap.
However, if you didn’t obtain an intermediate license you must pass a driving test before you can get your full Class C license.
- Be ready to surrender your learner’s permit (and make sure you’ve held it for one year and one day).
- Have any required proofs of identity and residency. The DDS may not ask for them because you’ll already have your learner’s permit to present, but it’s best to be prepared.
- Have a properly registered and insured vehicle ready to take the test (no rentals). Be prepared to show proof of insurance and your tag, as well as allow the examiner to perform a safety inspection.
- Determine whether you want a 5 years ($20) or eight-year ($32) license and have the appropriate fee.
- Make an appointment with your local Customer Service Center for the driving test, and bring the above with you on your designated date. (The DDS doesn’t require appointments, but recommends them.)
NOTE: If you fail it, you can retake your driving test the next day. If you fail a second time, you must wait seven days and, the third time you fail, you must wait 30 days.
You aren’t subject to any restrictions once you have your full Class C license.