Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Pennsylvania
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1. Start Your Quote:
- 1) Choose Your License
- 2) Take a Driver's Education Course
- 3) Prepare for the Test
- 4) Locate a DMV Office
- 5) Make Test-Day Preparations
- 6) Take the Written Test
- 7) Get a Car
- 8) Get Car Insurance
- 9) Take the Driving Test
- 10) Receive Your License in the Mail
- New Residents From Out-of-State
- Class A (combination vehicle more than 26,000 pounds, such as a motor home with another vehicle in tow)
- Class B (truck or bus or motor home more than 26,000 pounds)
- Class C (regular vehicle license)
- Class M (motorcycle)
- Commercial (CDL) A, B and C
NOTE: If you are younger than 18, you must first get a permit, hold it for a minimum of six months and accumulate 50 hours of driving experience before applying for a license.
Younger than 18―While driver education is not required, it is highly recommended and can be used as part of your 50-hour driving requirement.
18 and Older―Although not mandatory, you should consider enrolling in a driver education course, such as the one offered by our sponsor. It will enhance your road confidence and improve your chances of being a safe driver.
Pennsylvania's Driver's Manual ranks as your best study-source for the written test. All questions are based on material contained in the manual. After studying, test your readiness by taking one or two practice tests.
No appointment is necessary. Tests are given on a walk-in basis at any Driver License Center.
Bring to the test:
- A completed Non-Commercial Learner's Permit application.
- A completed Parent or Guardian Consent form (if you're younger than 18).
- Proof of identity (an accepted list of ID forms can be found on the back of the Learner's Permit Application).
- Two acceptable proofs of residency (if you are 18 or older).
- Your Social Security card.
- Check or money order for $5 permit fee (cash not accepted).
After studying Pennsylvania's Driver's Manual, possibly enrolling in a driver education class, and organizing all the needed requirements described above, you'll visit a Driver License Center to take the test and a vision screening.
The test consists of 18 questions. You must answer a minimum of 15 correctly to pass.
If you fail the test, your examiner will return you your Non-Commercial Learner's Permit application and Parent or Guardian Consent form. Hang on to both forms. You'll need them for when you test again. You must wait at least one business day to re-take the exam.
NOTE: Oral and Spanish tests are available by request.
You'll need a car to take Pennsylvania's road test. Owning a vehicle will make it easier for you to practice on your own, in addition to an optional driver training course, and help meet Pennsylvania's 50-hour behind-the-wheel requirement.
Focus on purchasing a used car that fits needs and budget, rather than image. Before choosing, make sure to order a vehicle history report. This will help protect you from buying a car that has been in a lot of accidents or been flood-damaged.
Car insurance, regardless if you only hold a learner's permit, is required by law. You can compare rates at our Insurance Center.
First, set an appointment for a skills (road) test. Do this online or by calling (800) 423-5542. If you're new to Pennsylvania and hold a valid out-of-state driver's license, you ARE NOT required to take a skills test.
What to bring to the test:
- Your Parent or Guardian Certification form (if younger than 18).
- A current learner's permit.
- A car with a valid state inspection sticker, emissions sticker (if required), as well as valid insurance and registration.
- The license of the person who accompanied you to the exam site.
Once You Pass
You will be issued a camera card and directed to the Photo License Center. After getting your picture snapped, you will be handed a driver's license, valid for four years.
If You Fail
Applicants younger than 18 must wait seven days to retake the exam. Each learner's permit is valid for three test attempts. You'll need to file for an extension on your learner's permit if you don't pass after your third attempt.
Your license will be issued to you immediately after passing the skills test. You'll need to show identification, such as your learner's permit, voter registration card or Pennsylvania photo-ID card.
Visit any Driver License Center with:
- Your out-of-state driver's license (it cannot be expired more than six months)
- Completed form DL-180R
- Proof of identification and residency
- Payment for driver's license fee
You will also be required to pass a vision test.
If your out-of-state driver's license has been expired longer than six months, you will be required to pass the knowledge and road tests.
Out-of-state learner permits cannot be transferred. You must reapply.
You may drive for up to one year within the state, provided, of course, you hold a valid license and an accompanying International Driving Permit (IDP).
If your license and/or IDP expires during this one year window, you cannot drive unless you apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit.
Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation provides an in-depth list of possible scenarios for non-citizens interested in applying for a Pennsylvania license.
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