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Getting Your Indiana Learner's Permit
Being able to drive is an exciting experience for any teen. But in order to ensure the safety of all new drivers, most states – including Indiana – have implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program to help teens become smarter, safer, and more responsible drivers.
The initial step on your path to your Indiana driver's license is to obtain your learner's permit. Below you will find information like age requirements and driving restrictions.
You can also reach the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) at (888) 692-6841 for any further information.
Out-of-state learner's permits will not transfer to Indiana. You will need to follow the steps below to obtain an Indiana learner's permit.
If you've already obtained an out-of-state driver's license, but you have held it for less than 180 days, you'll also need to get an Indiana learner's permit; you may not transfer your out-of-state license unless you have met the time length requirement.
The Indiana GDL mandates different requirements for obtaining a learner's permit based on age:
- 15 years old: You are eligible for your learner's permit as long as you are enrolled in a driver's education course.
- 16 years old and older: You may apply for a learner's permit without being enrolled in a driver's education course.
If you're applying at 15 years old and you're enrolled in Driver's Ed, your course must have at least 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of in-car instruction with your Driver's Ed instructor. Visit our page on driver's education in Indiana for more information.
When you're ready to apply for your learner's permit, go to your local driver licensing office and present:
- Proof of:
- Identity (original or certified U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, foreign passport with visa and I-94).
- Social Security number (Social Security card, W-2 form, 1099 Form).
- Indiana residency (2 documents; e.g., bank statement, utility bill issued within 60 days of application, Indiana voter registration card).
- If you're under 18 years old and you don't have 2 documents proving your residency, you may instead submit an Indiana Residency Affidavit signed by your parent/legal guardian, along with their IN driver's license and proof of their identity and residency.
- Citizenship/lawful status in the U.S. (birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization).
- Your application must be signed by your parent/guardian (only if you're under 18 years old).
- Certificate of Driver Education Enrollment, if you're 15 years old and enrolled in Driver's Ed.
- Payment for the $9 learner's permit fee.
For more information on proofs of identity, residency, SSN, and citizenship/lawful presence, please refer to the BMV's list of required documents.
When you apply for your driver's permit in Indiana, you'll need to take both a vision exam and a written permit test.
The written exam is comprised of questions based on information about Indiana traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques taken from the Indiana Driver's Manual. If you fail the knowledge examination on your first try, you must wait until the next business day before taking the test again.
Once you pass your exam, you'll be issued your learner's permit and you may begin practicing with your supervising driver.
Once you have your learner's permit in your possession, you're required to complete behind-the-wheel driving practice that consists of:
- A minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving practice with:
- A licensed instructor.
- A licensed driver at least 25 years old.
- A spouse at least 21 years old.
- At least 10 hours of driving practice completed at night (as part of your overall 50 hours).
Your practice time must be documented and signed by your parent/legal guardian in a Log of Supervised Driving Practice (Form 54706), and presented to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles at the time you apply for your intermediate driver's license.
With your Indiana learner's permit in your possession at all times, you are allowed to practice driving, but there are some restrictions. These restrictions vary depending on age and whether or not you are enrolled in a driver's education course.
If you ARE enrolled in Driver's Ed:
- You may practice driving only once you've begun your course.
- You may only drive when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver at least 25 years old, a licensed spouse at least 21 years old, or your certified driving instructor.
If you are NOT enrolled in Driver's Ed:
- If you're between 16 and 18 years old:
- You may drive only when accompanied by a certified driving instructor, a licensed driver at least 25 years old, or a spouse at least 21 years old who is licensed.
- If you're 18 years old or older:
- You are allowed to practice driving when accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years old in the front seat.
If your learner's permit expires, or is lost or stolen, you can replace it at any BMV branch office. You'll need to bring all documents mentioned above (proofs of identity, residency, etc.).
For more information, please refer to our page on Replacing a Lost License in Indiana.
While you have your learner's permit, it's time to start polishing your driving skills. This is a very pivotal time for first-time drivers. The actions you do now will have an effect on your entire driving experience. That's why it's important to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
The next step in the Indiana GDL program is to get your probationary driver's license. For more information, please refer to our IN Teen Driver's License page.
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