Drivers Permits in Delaware
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, 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.
Delaware Driver's Permits
In Delaware, if you're a new teen driver, you must complete the graduated driver license requirements of the DE Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The first step is to complete a driver's education course and then obtain your level 1 learner's permit.
If you're over 18 years old,* you will still need to obtain a learner's permit (temporary instruction permit); however, you will have different requirements and restrictions.
Once you have your driver's permit, you will be able to begin practicing driving while supervised and be on your way to passing your road test.
This page outlines the steps you need to take to obtain your DE driver's permit, driving restrictions you must follow, and how to move on to the next steps of the GDL process.
*NOTE: For those under 22 years old and under an active Individualized Education Program (IEP), you'll need to follow the GDL permit steps below.
Delaware REAL ID Driver's License
The Delaware DMV has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses. As of May 3, 2023, 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.
New to Delaware?
If you have an out-of-state driver's license, you have 60 days to transfer it once you move to Delaware.
You will receive a level 1 learner's permit if you've only had your out-of-state driver's license for less than 1 year.
NOTE: You must have completed Driver's Ed in your previous state and have it approved by the DE Department of Education. Make sure to bring your certificate of completion when you apply.
For more information about transferring your out-of-state driver's license, see our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Delaware page.
To check if you can transfer your out-of-state driver's permit, contact the DE DMV directly.
Delaware Learner's Permit Requirements
In order to get your learner's permit in the state of Delaware, you must be at least 16 years old and have successfully completed an approved Driver’s Ed course, if you're:
- Younger than 18 years old.
- Younger than 22 years old AND under an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) for which you receive special education services.
To apply, visit a Delaware DMV office in person and:
- Submit an application signed by a sponsor.
- Present your DE driver's education certificate of completion.
- If you completed Driver's Ed in another state, see “Out-of-State Driver's Ed" below.
- Submit documents proving your name, date of birth, legal status, Social Security number, and Delaware residency.
- The DE DMV offers a complete list of federally accepted documents for a REAL ID permit. If you can't provide items from this list, you'll receive a non-compliant permit instead.
- The agent may be able to verify your SSN electronically, but bring your documents just in case.
- Pass the written permit test, if you haven't already passed it during your Driver's Ed course.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pay the $40 fee.
NOTE: If you're 18 years old or older, UNLESS you're receiving special education services as outlined above, you do not need to complete Driver's Ed, and you will receive a temporary learner's permit.
Out-of-State Driver's Ed
If you completed your driver education course in another state, your out-of-state certificate must be approved by the Delaware Department of Education.
For approval, send your Driver's Ed certificate to:
Mr. Michael Wagner,
Education Associate Driver Education
Department of Education
Collette Education Resource Center
35 Commerce Way, Suite 1
Dover, DE 19904
You can also fax it to (302) 739-1770. For questions or more info, call (302) 857-3320.
Taking the Written Delaware Permit Test
The written permit test consists of 30 questions developed from the Delaware Driver Manual. You must answer 24 questions correctly to achieve a passing score.
You may be asked questions relating to:
- Highway signs and what they mean.
- Pavement markings.
- Motor vehicle laws.
- Safe practices when driving.
- Traffic stop procedures.
Delaware Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions
Once you have your learner's permit, you may begin practicing driving; however, you must follow certain restrictions.
Under 18 Years Old
Drivers under 18 years old must follow the below driving restrictions:
- You can only have 1 passenger other than your supervising driver in the vehicle with you for the first 12 months.
- Family members are exempt, but you must still be supervised.
- For the first 6 months, you must drive supervised at all times.
- For the second 6 months, you can drive unsupervised between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
- You can drive unsupervised only for church, work, and school purposes.
NOTE: Your driving supervisor can be your parent, guardian, or other licensed driver who is at least 25 years old (and must be approved by your sponsor) as long as they:
- Have a valid driver's license.
- Have held their driver's license for at least 5 years.
- Are seated in the front passenger seat while you are driving.
18 Years Old and Older
If you're 18 years old or older, your temporary learner's permit will allow you to drive while supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
During the first 6 months of having your level 1 Delaware learner's permit, you must complete 50 hours of supervised driving time, including 10 hours at night. These hours must be logged in an affidavit signed by your parent or guardian.
The supervised driving log can be found in the Parent's Supervised Driving Program document.
Next Step: Getting Your Provisional License
If you're younger than 18 years old, you can move on to the next step and obtain your driver's license once you:
- Have held your learner's permit for at least 1 year.
- Pass the road test.
NOTE: If your Delaware learner's permit has been suspended, cancelled, or revoked for any period of time, this will not count towards your requirement of 1 year holding your permit.
If you're 18 years old or older, you can take your road test 10 days after receiving your temporary learner's permit.
For more information about teen driving, or for details on getting your official license, see our other helpful pages: Teen Drivers,
Driver Education, Drivers Training, Driver's License & ID, and Applying For a New License.