Getting a Texas Learners Permit

Like other states, Texas employs a graduated drivers license program that grants teens between the ages of 15 and 18 increasing freedom and responsibilities on the road. Each state’s program works a little bit differently, so it’s important that you understand what to expect when you or your teenager want to start driving. If you know how the system works ahead of time, you can plan out your actions ahead of time, enroll in the right courses, fulfill all your driving requirements, and earn your driving privileges.

Getting Your Texas Learners Permit

Texans can apply for their learners permits (or “learners licenses” as they are sometime called) as young as 15 years old, but only if they have completed the classroom portion of a state-approved drivers education course. This consists of at least 32 hours of in-class instruction from an official instructor, and may even conclude with the written exam usually taken at the DPS before being approved for your learner’s permit. If you succeed in obtaining your learners license, you must have a licensed driver over age 21 in the front seat of the car at all times.  

What to Bring to the DPS When You Apply

When you apply at the DPS for your permit, you’ll need to bring several forms and identifications with you, so it’s a good idea to know ahead of time what will be required. Make sure you bring the following to the DPs when you apply for your learners permit:

  • A Texas driver education certificate to prove you have completed the necessary education
  • A complete DL-14A (Application for Driver License) form, including parent or guardian’s signature
  • Verification of enrollment and attendance in high school
  • Two proofs of Texas residency
  • Social Security card or other proof of Social Security number

Texas Learners Provisional License

At age 16, you can finally graduate up to having a provisional license if you have displayed good driving behavior, completed 30 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, had your permit for at least six months, and passed the driving test. A provisional license will allow you to finally drive by yourself. However, you still can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m., you can’t drive with more than one passenger under 21 years old, and you cannot use a cell phone (even with a headset) except in the event of an emergency. These restrictions will be lifted after one year of good driving on your provisional license, or when you turn 18.

You can learn more about Texas learners permits and provisional licenses at the TxDPS website.

At 18, you will finally have a full drivers license without any restrictions or provisions. It can seem like a long wait up to this point, but the restrictions of the graduated drivertexass license programs are in place for a reason. By easing young people into the world of driving, the streets are kept safer, lives are saved, and teens are given the chance to learn the complex maneuvers of driving at a healthy pace. Just be patient, and enjoy the ride.