Getting your Pennsylvania Driver's License
The State of Pennsylvania requires teens to complete a three-step process before becoming fully licensed drivers. If you're 17½ and have held a Junior Driver's License for at least one year, go ahead and skip ahead to step 3. If you're just getting started, read on, relax and enjoy the ride — becoming a safe driver is a very rewarding and exciting journey!
1) Junior Learner's Permit
Once you turn 16 years old, you can apply for a Junior Learner's Permit. Visit your local PennDOT office and be prepared to take a vision screening and knowledge test. You will want to study a Pennsylvania Driver's Manual for the written exam. You can pick up a copy at your local PennDOT Driver License Center or read the online version.
Make sure you bring the follow materials with you:
- Completed Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (Form DL-180)
- Completed Parent or Guardian Consent (FormDL-180TD form)
- Proof of your date of birth and identification (acceptable documents are listed on the back of your DL-180 form)
- Two proofs of residency (also listed on the back of the DL-180 form)
- Your Social Security Card
- Check or money order payable to the PennDOT for the $35.50 fee — Cash is not accepted
Your learner's permit will be valid for one year. If you feel like you need more time before taking your driver's exam, you can request an extension. The PennDOT encourages drivers to schedule their driver's test the day they get their permit so it can be printed on the back of the permit.
Pennsylvania learner's permit driving restrictions
When you have your learner's permit, you must follow these restrictions:
- You can only drive with an adult who is 21 years or older or a parent/guardian who is at least 18 years old and holds the same or higher license
- You cannot drive between the hours of 11pm and 5am
- Traveling to work or for charitable services is allowed during this time with the proper documentation
- You cannot have more passengers than seatbelts
2) Junior Driver's License
Once you've had your permit for at least six-months, you can apply for a learner's license. Before you can take your road test, make sure you have a signed Certificate of Completion for the 65 hours of behind-the-wheel practice. Remember: 10 of those hours must be completed at night and 5 in bad weather. Unless you've already done so, schedule an appointment at your local PennDOT office online at www.dmv.pa.gov or over the phone at (800) 423-5542.
Make sure you bring:
- Completed Parent/Guardian Certification form
- Registration and proof of insurance for the car you'll be driving
- Driver's license of your supervising driver
Junior License Restrictions
Now that you have a license, there are still some restrictions to keep in mind:
- Once again, unless you're driving to school or a charitable event with the proper paperwork, you cannot drive between 11pm and 5am
- The number of passengers cannot exceed the number of seatbelts and all passengers must be wearing a seatbelt
- Unless your parent/guardian is in the vehicle, you cannot drive more than one passenger under the age of 18 years old who is not an immediate family member
- If you have a clean record, then, after the first six-months, you may drive with up to three passengers under the age of 18 years old in the card with you
3) Regular (Unrestricted) Driver's License
You're finally ready to drive with all the freedom of an adult. Before you can get your Senior Driver's License at 17½ years old, you need to complete a driver education course. Our course is state-approved and will satisfy this requirement.
You must also:
- Have no driving violations within the past year
- Have no at-fault accidents within the last year
- Held your Junior Driver's License for at least a year
- Have the approval of your parent/guardian or spouse
If you have completed your course and meet all of the above requirements, congratulations! You are ready to become a fully licensed driver in the state of Pennsylvania.