Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Pennsylvania
Age Apply for a Learner’s Permit Take Driver's Training Apply for a Driver's License 16 to Younger than 18 X X X 18 and Older X X
If you've held your junior license for at least one year, have a clean driving record, have the consent of your parents or guardians, and have passed a state-approved driver's education class, you can apply for a regular license once you turn 17 1/2 years old. Your junior license automatically becomes a regular license, though, if you just wait until you turn 18.
If you're already at least 18 years old and have your permit, you may apply for a regular license as soon as you feel ready to pass the required tests.
Graduated Driver’s License Program
This program takes extra precautions with the goal of helping young drivers (meaning those under 18 years old) safely become fully licensed drivers. Basically, a driver in this category needs to:
- Have at least 65 hours of behind-the-wheel training with the appropriate supervision.
- Hold a permit for at least six months.
- Apply for a junior license.
NOTE: If you're eligible to obtain your regular license before you turn 18, you must complete a driver's education course. See below for details.
You're not required to receive a formal driver's education in order to gain your driving privileges. However, if you want to obtain your regular license―instead of just having your junior license―before you turn 18, you must successfully complete a driver's education course that's approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
New to the State
If you're an unlicensed individual who is younger than 18 years old, you will follow the same education guidelines as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
These permits are only available to those who are at least 16 years old. You must obtain this permit first before applying for a regular license if:
- You've never held a license (including an out-of-state license).
- You're a new resident and your previous license is expired for more than six months.
To apply for a permit:
- Study the Driver's Manual; then it's a good idea to take some practice tests.
- Complete Form DL-180; have a medical professional complete the back of this form to certify that you're medically cleared to drive.
- If you're younger than 18 years old, have your parents or legal guardians complete Form DL-180 TD. If they cannot accompany you when you apply for your permit, notarize the form.
- If you're at least 18 years old, locate two acceptable proofs of residency, as indicated on the back of Form DL-180.
- Locate your Social Security card (if it's laminated, it's unacceptable) and one form of identification as listed on the back of Form DL-180.
- Be prepared to take both the vision and written tests.
- Go to a Driver's License Center with all of the appropriate material mentioned above.
- If you pass both tests, you'll obtain your permit. You must pay your fees with a check or money order made payable to PennDOT (cash is not accepted).
Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions
Permits are valid for one year. Permit holders who are younger than 18 may only drive with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old, or a licensed spouse or guardian who is at 18 least years old. Driving supervisors must ride in the front seat. See our Drivers Permits page for more information.
Additionally, you can't drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless your licensed parent, guardian, or spouse is with you.
If you're younger than 18, you must accumulate at least 65 hours of behind-the-wheel training and hold your permit for six months before applying for your junior license. Even if you're older than that, PennDOT suggests you get a decent amount of driving experience before attempting to apply for your regular license.
To reiterate, in order to apply for your license you must have:
- Held your permit for at least six months (if you're younger than 18).
- Accumulated at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training (if you're younger than 18).
- Passed a driver's education course (if you're younger than 18 and obtaining your regular license).
If you've met these requirements, take the following steps to obtain your regular license:
1) Take the Driving Test
- Make a road test appointment online or by calling (800) 423-5542.
- Locate your learner's permit.
- Locate your completed Form DL-180C that verifies you've had at least 50 hours of driving experience (if applicable).
- Find the registration for the car in which you'll be taking the road test.
- Locate the proof of car insurance.
- Make sure the licensed driver who is accompanying you to the Driver License Center brings his license.
- Go to the Driver License Center with the material listed above.
- Take the road test.
2) Obtain a Junior or Regular Driver’s License
If you pass, you'll obtain a camera card to bring to a Photo License Center, where you'll obtain your junior driver's license, valid for four years. If you're at least 18 years old, you'll given a regular driver's license instead.
Remember, a junior driver's license automatically turns into a regular license once you turn 18. However, you don't have to wait until then if you have:
- Held your junior license for at least one year.
- A clean driving record.
- The consent of your parents or guardians.
- Passed a state-approved driver's education class.
To complete the switch, you'll need to complete Form DL-59.
If you fail the road test, you must wait seven days before trying again (if you're younger than 18.) Everyone gets three chances to pass the test before applying for a permit extension with Form DL-31.
3) Obey Junior Driver's License Restrictions
Those with a junior's license may drive alone between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Outside of these hours, you may only drive with a licensed spouse, parent, or guardian. Or, if it's for work, charity, or volunteer purposes, and you have the appropriate certificate of authorization with you. Call PennDOT at 1-800-932-4600 for more information.
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