Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in Delaware
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DMV's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DMV's recent updates for the latest information.
This page will help you obtain your first driver's license from the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Delaware REAL ID Driver's License
The Delaware DMV has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses. As of October 1, 2021, the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—a standard license will not after this date.
You have the choice to apply for a standard license or upgrade to a REAL ID. Details are outlined below.
NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old, please follow the instructions on our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Delaware page.
New to Delaware?
Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.
If you've recently moved here from another state or country, you will need to transfer your out-of-state or foreign driver's license to Delaware within 60 days of becoming a resident.
NOTE: If you have an out of state, or foreign country driver's license, you must be over 16 years old to be eligible for a transfer.
Visit either the Wilmington, New Castle, Dover, or Georgetown DMV office and:
- Surrender your out-of-state driver's license or provide a certified copy of your driving record.
- You can keep your foreign driver's license.
- Submit proof of your:
- Identity and legal presence in the U.S., such as your:
- Social Security number (SSN).
- DE residence address (2 documents).
- The DMV provides a full list of documents acceptable for a REAL ID-compliant license. If you're unable to offer these specific documents, you'll receive a non-compliant license.
- Submit proof of any name changes.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pass a written knowledge exam and a driving test.
- May be waived if you have a valid driver's license from another U.S. state.
- Will be waived if you have a driver's license from Germany, Taiwan (Republic of China), or France.
- Pay the required fee of $40 (valid 8 years)
A complete list of required and accepted documents can be found on the Delaware DMV website.
Every driver license applicant is subject to a written and road skills test, but the DMV may waive the test in certain situations. In order to help you prepare for the written test, the DMV offers a practice test and they also have an app for that. In addition to these resources, we suggest using an online practice test from our certified partner. Check out all the resources available and decide which methods work best for you.
Types of DE Driver's Licenses
The Delaware DMV issues different types of driver's licenses and endorsements depending on your age and the type of vehicle you wish to drive.
- Class D driver's license: Standard operator's license for passenger cars, pickup trucks, utility vehicles, and most panel trucks.
- Learner's permit: Required to learn how to drive (under restrictions) before obtaining a Class D license.
- Commercial driver's license (CDL) (Class A, B, and C): Required for operating commercial vehicles.
- Non-CDL (Class A and B): Required for operating farm and authorized emergency vehicles with a CDL waiver.
- Conditional, occupational, and hardship driver's license: Grants limited driving privileges.
- Ignition interlock device endorsement/license: Allows driving only if vehicle has an ignition interlock device.
- Motorcycle endorsement.
Eligibility Requirements for a Driver's License
To apply for a Delaware driver's license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old or have met the graduated driver's licensing (GDL) requirements.
- If you're under 22 years old and also enrolled in a special education course based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), you must also adhere to Delaware's GDL process.
- Have held a DE learner's permit for at least 10 days.
- See our Driver's Permits in Delaware page for application instructions.
- Be a resident of Delaware.
- Be physically and mentally able to drive safely.
- Not be an alcoholic or addicted to narcotics.
- Be a legal U.S. resident.
- See the DE DMV website for a list of ineligible immigration statuses.
Apply for a Delaware Driver's License
Before you apply for your Delaware license, you must FIRST obtain a learner's permit and hold it for at least 10 days. Only then will you will be able to take your DE DMV road test and obtain your driver's license. Jump over to our learner's permit guide for steps and requirements.
NOTE: You have 6 months from when you obtain your learner's permit to pass the driving test. You may be granted an extension for an additional 6 months upon application and paying a $5 fee.
Once you've held your permit, you can take your road test at any DE DMV office. Be sure to bring with you to the DMV office:
- The vehicle you'll take your road test in.
- The vehicle registration card and insurance card.
- Your immigration documents and Alien Registration number or I-94 number, if you're a non-U.S. citizen.
- Your DE learner's permit.
- The driver's license of the person who accompanied you to the DE DMV office.
- Payment for the required fee: $40.
Your driver's license will be valid for up to 8 years. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, your license will only be valid for the length of your legal stay in the United States.
DMV Written and Driving Tests
To obtain your DE driver's license, you will need to pass a driving test. If you have a Delaware learner's permit, you would have already passed your DMV written knowledge exam.
If you are transferring a driver's license from another U.S. state or country, you may be required to pass both the written and driving exams.
If you fail either of these exams, you must wait 10 days before re-taking it.
Written Knowledge Exam
Your written knowledge test will consist of questions about topics including:
- Rules of the road.
- Safe driving practices.
- Road signs.
Use the Delaware DMV Driver Manual as a study guide. The questions will be based on information found in the manual.
Your driving test will last for about 30 minutes. During this time, you will be asked by your instructor to complete a number of tasks to show you are capable of driving. Some abilities you'll need to demonstrate include:
- Parallel parking.
- Changing lanes.
- Backing up.
- Following and overtaking other vehicles on the road.
- Responding to road and traffic signs.