Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Missouri
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From teen drivers to new-to-Missouri drivers, everyone needs a valid Missouri driver's license to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state.
Most drivers end up here because they want to learn how to get a Class F driver's license which will let them drive regular passenger vehicles. We cover Class F licenses below, but you should also know the Department of Revenue (DOR), through its Driver License and Motor Vehicle Bureaus, offers the following types of additional licenses:
- Class E Licenses are for driving "for hire" vehicles.
- Class M Licenses and Instruction Permits are for driving motorcycles
- Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs) are Class A, B, and C licenses for driving commercial vehicles.
NOTE: If you're a teen driver who needs to go through Missouri's Graduated Driver License (GDL) program before obtaining a regular Class F license, please refer to our Teen Drivers section at this point.
Younger than 18―It's always a good idea to take a driver education course, but the DOR only requires you to get 40 hours of driving instruction with either a qualified driving instructor or another experienced driver (such as a parent or grandparent).
18 and Older―The DOR doesn't require you to enroll in a formal driver education course, but taking a supplemental training course is beneficial.
Where you test and apply for your license depends on where you live. In most cases, driver license offices handle the paperwork processes of license transactions, while Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) locations handle your testing.
Call ahead to make an appointment or to ask about locations, hours, and schedules.
Missouri drivers actually have to take their tests before they make application for their licenses or permits. Follow these steps to get started:
- Call your nearest testing location to ask about testing hours and schedules.
- Present proof of your identity and age, and then begin the testing process (written knowledge, road signs, and driving). The tests you need to take depend on your status (see below).
- Head to your nearest driver license office with your Driver Examination Record (a Form DOR-100, which you'll receive once you pass your tests) and proofs of lawful presence, identity, and residency.
- Make application for your license. This includes completing paperwork, taking your vision test, and paying the appropriate fee ($10 for up to three years and $20 for up to six years).
- Have your picture taken and receive your driver's license.
NOTE: The tests you need to take depend on your status―whether you're a first-time applicant, a new-to-Missouri applicant, or a non-citizen. Please read on to determine which tests you must take.
The Missouri DOR administers two kinds of non-driving, knowledge tests: A written test covering traffic laws and rules, and a road sign test.
If you're a new-to-Missouri driver, you don't have to take the written test unless your out-of-state license has been expired for more than 184 days. You do, however, have to take the vision and road sign tests.
If you're a first-time driver, or a new-to-Missouri driver with an out-of-state license that's been expired for more than 184 days, you must take both the knowledge tests. The Missouri Driver Guide and a voluntary supplemental training course can both help you prepare for the tests.
Regardless of whether you're exchanging an out-of-state license or getting your first license, make sure you bring the required documents as listed above on test day.
NOTE: If you require special testing formats like oral tests or sign language tests, you'll need to call ahead to find out which locations offer them.
Once You Pass
Once you pass the two knowledge tests, you can immediately take your driving test; however, if you'd rather receive a permit to gain some more driving experience, now's the time to ask.
If You Fail
You have two chances per day to pass the knowledge tests. If you fail either of them, you can take it again the next day.
Most driver education courses include the use of a course vehicle; however, you'll need your own vehicle once it's time to take your driving test and you must make sure the vehicle is properly registered and in good working order.
Some drivers consider purchasing used vehicles because of their affordability. If that's a route you're considering, getting a vehicle history report is a great way to know exactly what you're getting.
Missouri requires all vehicle owners to have some kind of proof of financial responsibility; proof that they can meet the financial requirements of Missouri's minimum liability and uninsured motorist coverage. This proof can be in the form of an actual car insurance policy or documents filed with the DOR.
In addition to helping you find the best car insurance rate in Missouri, our Insurance Center explains Missouri's financial responsibility laws and can help you make sure you abide by them.
If you're a new-to-Missouri driver, you don't have to take the driving test unless your out-of-state license has been expired for more than 184 days. You only need to take the vision and road sign tests.
If you're a first-time driver, or your out-of-state license has been expired for more than 184 days, you must take the driving test. Because different areas in Missouri offer tests at different locations, it's best to call ahead to find out exactly where you need to report.
As described above, you must provide your own vehicle for testing. Make sure the vehicle is in good working order, is properly registered, and is covered according to Missouri's financial responsibility requirements.
Once You Pass
Once you pass your driving test, the examiner will give you a Driver Examination Record (a Form DOR-100). You must present this form at your nearest license office to apply for and obtain your driver's license. The form is not a permit for you to drive.
If You Fail
If you fail your driving test, you may take it again the next day; however, if you fail three driving tests you must get written authorization from the DOR and show proof of completing additional behind-the-wheel training before you can take the test again. (Your examiner will provide the necessary forms for this process.)
Missouri doesn't mail licenses; you'll receive it immediately after passing all your tests and completing the necessary paperwork. Of course, now that you're a licensed driver, it's a good idea to keep your most current mailing address on file with the DOR.
If you're just visiting Missouri, you can drive in the state with your valid, out-of-country license. It's also a good idea to get an International Driver's Permit (IDP) from your home country before you come―many car rental agencies require this document.
How to Apply as a Non-Citizen
As a non-citizen, you'll follow the same application process a citizen would follow; however, you must also show special proofs of lawful presence in the United States. Acceptable proofs include official documents from Immigration and Natural Service (INS), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and other United States governmental documents.
The DOR provides an extensive list of acceptable proofs of lawful presence online.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.