Drivers Permits in TexasPage Overview
Teen Driver's Permits in Texas
Many states, including Texas, have initiated a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program to reduce the alarming number of accidents involving teen drivers. As part of the TX GDL, teens must reach certain milestones before getting their unrestricted Texas driver’s license.
Your first step in the GDL process is to get your Texas learner license, otherwise known as a learner’s permit. Below you will find all the details you need to know, from being new to Texas, to taking the written exam.
If you hold a learner’s permit from your previous state or country, you should call the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) at (512) 424-2600 to determine if your permit will transfer to Texas.
If you are eligible to transfer your permit from your previous state, please bring your permit and the documents mentioned below with you to the DPS, and follow the steps listed on this page.
To obtain a learner license in Texas, you must:
- Be at least 15 years old.
- Have passed the classroom portion of a Texas driver’s education course (see “Texas Driver’s Education” below).
Texas Driver’s Education
If you are under 18 years old, you must complete and pass the classroom phase of an approved Driver Education course before you can take your written exam. This phase consists of a minimum of 32 hours of classroom instruction. It also involves required behind-the-wheel driving hours, which are part of your provisional licensing requirements.
You can take Driver’s Ed in a variety of methods, including:
- A traditional classroom setting at your public school.
- A certified driver training school.
- At home with a parent-taught driver education online course.
For more information about Driver’s Ed, please refer to our Texas Driver’s Education page.
NOTE: Drivers between 18 to 24 years old must still take a TX Driver’s Ed course, though its length requirement differs. Please see our page on adult driver’s licenses in Texas for more information.
Once you complete the classroom phase of Driver’s Ed, it’s time to take the written exam to get your learner license. As mentioned above, taking the written exam is not necessary if it was completed during your approved driver education course.
You must apply for your TX learner’s permit in person. You can save yourself some time by making an appointment online. If you’re under 18 years old, you must bring your parent(s) or legal guardian to sign off on paperwork.
When you visit your local Texas DPS office, you’ll need to:
- Provide proof of identity and lawful U.S. presence (e.g. unexpired U.S. passport, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization, original or certified birth certificate).
- 2 documents proving residency (e.g. Texas high school transcript or report card, medical or health card, paycheck).
- The Texas DPS website provides a complete list of residency documents.
- Proof of Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, health insurance card, paystub with name and SSN).
- The Texas DPS provides a list of acceptable identity documents.
- Bring a completed Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) or a high school diploma or GED.
- Submit a completed Application for Driver License or Identification Card (Form DL-14A) with your parent/guardian’s signature of consent.
- Provide the following driver education forms that apply to you:
- A Texas Driver Education Certificate (Form DE-964), IF you completed Driver’s Ed through a driver training school OR a parent-taught driver education (PTDE) course.
- A Texas Driver Education Certificate (Form DE-964E), IF you completed Driver’s Ed through your public high school.
- A Classroom Instructor Driver Education Affidavit (Form DL-90A) if you completed a PTDE course.
- Take the written knowledge exam, if it was not part of your driver’s education course.
- Pay the $16 learner license fee.
The written exam is comprised of multiple-choice questions about Texas traffic laws, road signs, and rules of safe driving. The questions have been created from material found in the Texas Driver Handbook. Once you pass the written test, submit your documents, and pay the $16 fee, you’ll receive your learner’s permit.
With your Texas learner license in hand, you are allowed to practice your driving skills, but you must be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older in the front seat next to you at all times. You are not allowed to use a cell phone in the vehicle while driving.
After you have held your learner’s permit for 6 months, the next step in the GDL process is to get your provisional license. For steps on how to get your provisional driver’s license in Texas, please visit our TX Provisional License page.
For those who can prove hardship and a necessity to drive, the DPS also offers a Minor Restricted Driver License (MRDL), commonly referred to as a hardship license. Hardship circumstances include illness of family members, a financial family hardship, or other acceptable circumstance that requires the minor to drive (all reasons are listed on the MRDL application).
To be eligible for a MRDL, you must:
- Be at least 15 years old.
- Meet the regular licensing requirements mentioned above.
- Have completed Driver’s Ed.
- Have a qualifying hardship, all of which are listed on the application form.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you must submit a Minor’s Restricted Driver License Application (Form DL-77) to your local DPS office, along with the required proofs of identity and driver education forms listed above.
If granted, your MRDL will be valid until your next birthday.
If you need to replace a lost, stolen or mutilated TX learner's license, visit your local driver license office and:
- Submit a completed Application for Renewal/Replacement/Change of a Texas Driver License or Identification Card (Form DL-43) with your parent/guardian’s signature of consent.
- Provide proof of your identity and lawful U.S. presence (e.g. unexpired U.S. passport, Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization, original or certified birth certificate).
- Present proof of Texas residency (e.g. Texas high school transcript or report card, medical or health card, paycheck).
- Provide proof of Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, health insurance card, paystub with name and SSN).
- The Texas DPS provides a full list of acceptable documents.
- Pay the required $11 replacement fee.
For even further details on replacing a lost learner’s permit, please see our page on Replacing a Lost License in Texas.Other Topics in This Section