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  • Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Pennsylvania

    Getting a Teen Driver’s License in Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania teenagers must follow the graduated driver’s license (GDL) process regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

    The process includes a learner’s permit and driver’s license stages, each with eligibility requirements and restrictions for teen drivers.

    The stages, requirements, and restrictions are explained in detail on this page.

    New to Pennsylvania?

    If you move to Pennsylvania, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 60 days of becoming a resident.

    You’ll need to go in person to a PennDOT driver’s license center and:

    PennDOT will NOT transfer learner’s permits from other states. To get a PA learner’s permit, you’ll have to follow the Pennsylvania graduated driver’s license (GDL) and permit application processes outlined below.

    PA Graduated Licensing Program

    Like many states, PA uses graduated licensing to ensure that you, as a teen driver, have the skills and knowledge you need to be safe on the roads.

    The Pennsylvania GDL process has three stages:

    • Junior learner’s permit.
    • Junior driver’s license/provisional license.
    • Senior driver’s license.

    Each stage has its own requirements and restrictions, which are explained below.

    Age Requirements

    The stages of the PA GDL process have minimum age requirements, which can differ based on additional factors:

    • Junior learner’s permit: 16 years old.
    • Junior driver’s license/provisional license: After holding your learner’s permit for at least 6 months.
    • Senior driver’s license (regular license):
      • 17 1/2 years old with completion of an approved Driver’s Ed course, held a Junior driver's license for 1 year and has no accidents or convictions.
      • 18 years old without Driver’s Ed.

    Additional eligibility requirements are outlined in each section below.

    Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit

    The PA junior learner’s permit is your first step in the GDL process, allowing you to begin driving while supervised.

    To apply, you must be at least 16 years old. Visit your local PennDOT branch in person and:

    Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions

    When you have a learner’s permit, you can drive ONLY under the supervision of a licensed driver who is:

    • Your parent or guardian and at least 21 years old.
      OR
    • Your spouse who is at least 18 years old.

    Your supervising driver must sit next to you while you are driving.

    Practice Driving with Your Learner's Permit

    You are required to have your Pennsylvania learner’s permit for at least 6 months before moving on to the next phase of the GDL process.

    During that time, and before you can apply for a junior driver’s license, you must log 65 hours of practice behind the wheel, including:

    • 10 hours driving at night.
    • 5 hours driving in bad weather.

    Your parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor will need to verify your hours on the Parent or Guardian Certification Form (Form DL-180C). The form must be notarized if they do not come with you when you apply for a provisional license.

    For more information about supervised practice driving, see:

    Pennsylvania Provisional License

    The provisional license is the second stage of PA’s GDL process. It allows you to drive unsupervised with some restrictions.

    You can apply for your junior driver’s license when you’ve:

    • Had your learner’s permit for at least 6 months.
    • Completed 65 hours of practice driving, including:
      • 10 hours at night.
      • 5 hours in bad weather.

    You will need to visit your local PennDOT office in person and:

    Junior Driver’s License Restrictions

    With your provisional license, you must obey restrictions, including when you can drive and who can be in your car when you drive.

    Supervision

    You can drive unsupervised:

    • During non-restricted hours.
    • When driving to or from work or a volunteer service.
    • You must have a notarized affidavit or authorization certificate from your employer or volunteer supervisor that includes your usual schedule. Keep this with your driver’s license.

    You can drive supervised between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Your supervising driver must be your:

    • Parent or guardian who is at least 21 years old.
      OR
    • Spouse who is at least 18 years old.

    Passengers

    During the first 6 months of holding your Pennsylvania provisional license, you are restricted to only 1 passenger younger than 18 years old.

    After 6 months, you can only carry up to 3 passengers younger than 18 years old.

    These restrictions are waived if:

    • Your passengers are your immediate family members.
      OR
    • You are accompanied by your parent or guardian.

    Every passenger must wear a seat belt.

    NOTE: You cannot have ANY additional passengers if you have ever been partly or completely at fault for an accident, or if you have any driving convictions.

    Graduating to a Senior Driver’s License

    To obtain your senior driver’s license you must:

    You must also have held your provisional license for 1 year.

    PA Senior Driver’s License

    To get your unrestricted, regular driver’s license when you turn 17 1/2 years old, you must have:

    • Completed and passed an approved driver’s education class.
    • Had no driving violations for 1 year.
    • Had no at-fault accidents for 1 year.
    • Held your junior license for 1 year.
    • Your parent, guardian, or spouse’s approval.

    NOTE: Your junior driver’s license will automatically become a senior license when you turn 18 years old.

    Apply for a Senior Driver’s License

    To apply for your senior driver’s license when you are 17 1/2 years old, complete the Application for Change from a Junior Driver’s License to a Regular Non-Commercial License (Form DL-59). The application must include:

    • A school official’s signature verifying your driver’s education.
    • Your parent, guardian, or spouse’s notarized signature giving their permission.

    Submit the application by mail to the address on the form.

    You can choose to receive:

    • A free update card to carry with your junior driver’s license.
    • A regular license for $27.50.
      • You will need to include a check or money order with your application.

    If you wait until you are 18 years old, you will automatically become a senior driver’s license holder.

    Do you want to share and track your major steps? Follow our new license checklist.

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