If you have a provisional license, you are probably a newer driver and eager for the freedom a vehicle provides. But what is a provisional license exactly? There are limitations on a provisional license that are not only legally enforced, but part of driver safety. No one can assure you have sufficient practice hours, but a provisional license gives you an opportunity to practice driving.
What is a provisional license exactly?
A provisional license is a license with special conditions. They are also referred to as a provisional instruction permit. And, more casually, they sometimes called a learner's permit. It is only given to people 15 ½ to 18 years old. Even though you can legally drive alone after you are 16 years old, you need to have a provisional driver’s license for six months prior. With a provisional drivers license, you are allowed to drive with a licensed adult 25 years of age or older.
Check with your state, but most provisional licenses come with restrictions, such as:
- Having any passenger under 20 years old in the car for the first year
- Curfews, like not being able to drive between 11pm and 5am (exceptions for work can be applied for)
Failure to obey restrictions can result in serious consequences and could include fines, revocation of the provisional license, and suspension of when you can get your license.
How do I get a provisional license?
To get a provisional license, you have to:
- Be at least 15 ½ years old
- Complete a driver’s education class
- Have already gotten an instruction permit
- Go to your local DMV and fill in an application for a provisional permit
- Agree to comply with offer requests for drug or alcohol tests (this is agreed to when signing the application)
- Pass a vision test
What do I need for my provisional permit application?
Note that you will need both parents’ signatures on your application. By signing that document they are financially responsible you. You may be able to get the application online, depending on your state. If you have not completed your driver’s training, you will need your driving instructor’s signature.
To prepare for your license, you can take a teen driving course that is easy and will prepare teen drivers to drive safely.
The DMV requires the following:
- Your full legal name
- Social Security Number
- Certified copy of your birth certificate or your actual birth certificate
- Proof of residency
- Proof of insurance (your parents’ insurance)
- Proof that you completed a driver education test or are enrolled in a program that includes driver training
- Successful passing of the driver’s knowledge exam
What counts as proof of residency?
If you are not emancipated, you probably don’t have a deed, mortgage, or bill with your name and address on it. What would work best for people 15 ½ - 18 are:
- A school document issued by the school
- Medical or insurance documents
- If you work, you can use a paycheck, tax filing, or other official employment document
- Faith-based document with the name and address of the issuing organization
- Any document issued by a government agency
- Bank documents
- Letter on official letterhead paper from a shelter that will vouch your residency
*This article was updated on 7/13/2020