Getting Your Pennsylvania Learners Permit & Drivers License
Getting your first Pennsylvania drivers license can be incredibly exciting…and incredibly confusing. I Drive Safely is here to make things simpler for you with a step-by-step guide to navigating the licensing process. Just follow these directions to go from drivers ed all the way to your license.
Steps to Getting Your Pennsylvania Drivers Permit
- STEP 1: Pass an approved Pennsylvania drivers education program
- STEP 2: Get your Pennsylvania learners permit
- STEP 3: Be in possession of your learners permit for a minimum of 6 months
- STEP 4: Apply for a Pennsylvania junior license
STEP 1: Pass an approved Pennsylvania drivers ed program
If you wish to get your regular drivers license before your 18th birthday, you need to take and pass an approved Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) drivers ed course.
STEP 2: Get your Pennsylvania learners permit
To apply for a permit:
- To make things easier on yourself, you can schedule a written test through the online appointment setter. Please visit the PennDOT Teen Driver’s Info Center and select “Schedule Your Driver’s Test” or call (800) 423-5542 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Or if you prefer, you can simply go to your nearest driver license center.
- You will need to have your doctor sign a DL-180 form stating that you are healthy enough to drive.
- Your parents/guardian must complete a consent form (DL-180TD).
- When you go to take your written test, be sure to bring:
- Proof of identity (which is listed on the DL-180). These forms must be originals or certified copies.
- Your Social Security card (must not be laminated).
- A check or money order payable to PennDOT for the appropriate fee. Cash is not accepted.
- Be ready to take both a vision and a knowledge test. It’s a good idea to take some practice tests.
- Pay your fees.
* Not Sure You’re Ready to Take the Permit Exam?
Consider this: most new drivers fail their PennDOT written exam the first time they try it. So, beat the statistics! Here’s how.
We offer state-specific practice test packages that can help you beat the odds and pass your written exam the very first time. Written by professional instructors, these packages are designed to teach you what you need to know to succeed. Use it to review all the questions one at a time or to generate realistic exams – or do both. Any way you look at it, practice makes perfect. And with I Drive Safely’s permit practice test, you’re bound to come out a winner with your permit in hand.
After successful completion of the vision screening and Pennsylvania’s knowledge test, the examiner will give you a learners permit that is valid for 1 year. Upon receipt of your learners permit, you may begin to practice driving.
STEP 3: Be in possession of your learners permit for a minimum of 6 months
During this time, you’ll do your behind-the-wheel training in preparation to get your drivers license.
Remember the rules for driving with a learners permit:
- Your permit is valid for 1 year. Minors (individuals under the age of 18) who hold permits may only drive with a supervising adult in the front seat. This supervisor must be over the age of 21 and a licensed driver, or a spouse or guardian that is licensed and a minimum of 18 years of age.
- You may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless a driving supervisor is with you.
Step 4: Apply for a Pennsylvania Junior License
There’s a few steps involved with this process as well.
Step 1: Get Behind-the-Wheel Experience
Before applying for your junior license:
- 16 and 17-year-olds are required to accrue 65 hours of behind-the-wheel training while supervised by a licensed adult. Of those hours, 10 must be at night, and 5 must be during inclement weather.
- You must have your permit for at least 6 months.
- Even if you are over 16 or 17 years of age, it’s wise to get as much behind-the-wheel experience as possible before applying for your license.
When you’ve met the criteria mentioned above and are finally ready…
Step 2: Take the Driving Test
After you have waited the mandatory 6 months from your permit issue date:
- Make an appointment for a road test, either online or by calling (800) 423-5542. Make sure you bring:
- Your learners permit
- The DL-180C form, which confirms that you’ve had at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice
- The registration and proof of insurance for the car you’ll be using to take your driving exam
- It’s imperative that the licensed driver who brings you to your appointment brings his/her license.
Please Note: If you fail the road test, you must wait seven days before you may try again. You will get three chances to pass the test before you’ll have to apply for a permit extension with Form DL-31.
Remember the Rules for Driving with a Junior Drivers License:
- Driving alone is only permitted from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Outside of the above hours, you must drive with a licensed parent, guardian, or spouse.
There are exceptions to these rules. If you are driving because of school, work, charity, or volunteer purposes and are in possession of the corresponding certificate of authorization, the rules may be different. You should contact PennDOT by calling (800) 932-4600 for more information.
Getting Your Regular License
When you turn 18 years of age, your original junior drivers license will automatically become a regular license. However, if you want to apply for a regular drivers license before your 18th birthday, you must have:
- Passed a state-approved drivers education course
- Been in possession of your junior drivers license for a minimum of 1 year
- No points on your driving record
- Parental consent, or the consent of a guardian
You will also need the following completed forms:
- DL-59 Form: Application from Junior Drivers License to Regular Driver’s License
- DL-180TD Form: Parent or Guardian Consent form if you’re a minor (under 18 years of age)
And that’s all there is to it! Once you’ve successfully completed all these steps, you’ll be the proud owner of a drivers license! Congratulations!