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Getting Your Learner's Permit in Pennsylvania
To reduce the amount of accidents involving teen drivers, many states—including Pennsylvania—have implemented a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. As part of the PA GDL program, one of the first steps on your path to your driver's license is to obtain your PA learner's permit. Below you will find everything you need to know, from taking the DOT written exam to your learner's permit driving restrictions.
Need a Driver's Permit Checklist?
Print out our DMV.org Driver's Permit Checklist and be fully prepared when visiting the DMV office. You'll have all the step-by-step instructions, forms, and fees needed to make getting your Driver's Permit as Easy as 1-2-3.
If you're new to the state, you must obtain a learner's permit if:
- You're a first-time teen driver.
- You are a new PA resident who has an out-of-state driver's license that has been expired for more than 6 months.
It's important to note that out-of-state learner's permits cannot be transferred to Pennsylvania. You must apply for a Pennsylvania driver's permit and complete all applicable knowledge and skills tests in order to get a Pennsylvania driver's license.
When you apply, you'll need to present:
- A completed Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application (Form DL-180)
- If you're under 18 years old, the DL-180 form must be completed by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 18 years old or older.
- A completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form (Form DL-180TD). This form must also be signed by your parent or guardian.
- Proof of identity (e.g. original U.S. birth certificate, certificate of U.S. citizenship, valid U.S. passport). A full list of documents is located on the reverse side of the application.
- If you are changing your name, you must present original documents supporting name changes (e.g. a marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order).
- Proof of residency documents, if you are 18 years old or older (e.g. bank statement, W-2, lease or mortgage). Acceptable documents are listed on reverse side of the application.
- Proof of residency is not required if you're under 18 years old.
- Your Social Security card.
- A check or money order payable to PennDOT for $34.50.
You will also be required to pass a vision screening and a written permit test (see below). Once you pass both of these, you'll receive your Pennsylvania learner's permit, which is valid for 1 year.
Once you have all the documents mentioned above, it's time to take your permit test at a driver license center. The exam is based on information about Pennsylvania traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques contained in the Pennsylvania Study Guide. Inside the guide you will also find a basic practice test. Our recommendation is to prepare for the exam with an industry-leading online practice test from our approved partner.
With your learner's permit in your possession, it's time to polish your driving skills with behind-the-wheel practice. This practice may only be completed with a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
During this phase of the GDL, you must:
- Log 65 hours of supervised driving with a licensed driver.
- 10 hours must be at night.
- 5 hours must be during inclement weather.
Once all 65 hours have been completed, a parent must sign a Parent or Guardian Certification form (Form DL-180C), which you will turn in when you apply for your junior driver's license and take your road test.
You must hold your learner's permit for a minimum of 6 months before you can take your road test for your junior driver's license. For details on the steps to take to get your junior license, please visit our PA Teen Licensing page.
During your learner's permit phase, you may drive only:
- With a licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- While properly wearing a seat belt at all times.
You may NOT drive:
- With any passengers other than immediate family (brother, sister, parent, etc.).
Driving Violations with a Pennsylvania Learner's Permit
Drivers under 18 years old risk a permit suspension of 90 days if:
- You receive 6 points or more on your driving record (points can be accumulated by breaking any of the above conditions, as well as any other PA traffic & safety laws).
- You receive a single traffic ticket for driving 26 MPH or faster over the speed limit.
Once you've completed your behind-the-wheel training hours, you can schedule your road test with PennDOT and move on to your junior driver's license. For details, please visit our page on Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers).
Lost PA Learner's Permit
If you lose your learner's permit, you can apply for a replacement either in person or by mail. The replacement license will be valid for the time remaining on your original.
- Visit a Driver License Center in person.
- Complete and submit a Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application to Add/Extend/Replace/Change/Correct form (Form DL-31).
- Pay the appropriate fee of $5 by check or money order, payable to “PennDOT."
Your duplicate Pennsylvania learner's permit will be handed to you over the counter.
- Download and complete a Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application to Add/Extend/Replace/Change/Correct form (Form DL-31).
- Fill out a check or money order $5, made payable to “PennDOT."
Mail your payment and application to:
P.O. Box 68272
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8272
You should receive your duplicate PA learner's permit within 7 to 10 business days after processing.
Expired Pennsylvania Learner's Permit
You can apply for an extension to your learner's permit if it expires, or if you need more time to practice. You can also apply for an extension if you fail the road test 3 times. Extensions are valid for up to 1 year from the date it was issued.
To apply for an extension, go to your local driver’s license center and:
- Fill out the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (Form DL-180).
- Pay the $5 duplicate learner's permit fee.
If you are unable to go to a driver's license center in person, you may send the application and the fee (check or money order made payable to “PennDOT") to:
P.O. Box 68272
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8272
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