How to Apply for a Drivers License in Pennsylvania
New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.
2. In Person at the DMV
To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.
A Pennsylvania drivers license can be obtained by any resident who is at least 16 years of age and would like to operate a motor vehicle in the state. Commonly referred to as a DMV license, driving credentials in PA are issued by the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT). In general, application requirements vary depending on the age of each motorist and the purpose for the request. For example, licensed motorists who have moved from another state have to meet fewer requirements than first-time applicants applying for a new driver’s license.
If you are younger than 18 years of age and seeking a DMV drivers license in PA, be mindful that you will be required to meet more requirements than the average adult applicant. In addition to the basic requirements, young motorists must be able to demonstrate that they have completed the required number of practice hours and held a learner’s permit for a set amount of time. In any case, all motorists who wish to apply for a driver’s license must submit an application in person at a nearby PennDOT branch. To learn everything you need to know about getting a license to drive in Pennsylvania, read the sections below.
How to Apply for a Driver’s License in Pennsylvania as an Adult (18 or Older)
Motorists who are 18 years of age or older and applying for a new driver’s license in Pennsylvania must follow a few basic requirements and steps. In any case, it is important to note that submitting a request for a PA driver’s license online is not available in the state. All new state motorists, regardless of age, must first request and maintain a learner’s permit before they can apply for a full license without restrictions.
Once you are ready to apply, you must gather the necessary supporting documentation to prove that you have met all eligibility criteria. Once you visit a local PennDOT branch, you may begin taking the required tests and submit your DOT license application packet.
Pennsylvania Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Adults
General drivers license requirements in Pennsylvania are relatively the same for all motorists applying for a permit or license. Overall, no applicant younger than 16 years of age can apply for a driving credential in the state. Furthermore, when submitting an application, drivers should prepare the following documentation:
- A completed “Non-commercial Driver’s License Application Form (DL-180),” signed by a licensed physician who can state that you are in adequate health to safely operate a vehicle.
- Original Social Security Number (SSN) card
- Proof of identity, from one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate with raised seal
- Certificate of citizenship or naturalization
- Valid U.S. passport
- Two documents with the applicant’s name and PA address to establish residency:
- Current utility bills (water, gas, electric, cable, etc.)
- Tax records
- W-2 form
- Lease or mortgage documents
Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Pennsylvania as an Adult
In addition to the above mentioned requirements for a Pennsylvania drivers license application, motorists who are 18 years of age or older are required to pass a vision screening, a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. However, if are requesting a learner’s permit as the first step towards getting a full license, be mindful that you will not be required to pass all of these state exams when initially requesting the permit. As such, consider the following steps when you apply for a driver’s license in PA:
- Gather the necessary supporting documents, including an appropriate form of ID, SSN card and two proofs of state residency.
- Complete and sign a “Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application (form DL-180)” document. This form must also signed by a physician who can certify that you are capable of safely operating a motor vehicle.
- Pay the applicable driver’s license application fee by check or money order, made out to PennDOT.
- Head to a local PennDOT branch to submit your application.
- Undergo a vision screening.
- Pass the written knowledge test.
- If you pass the aforementioned tests, you will receive a learner’s permit. Then, you must wait six months to qualify for a license with full privileges.
- Take the road skills test and request a full license. Make sure to bring the following documents to the appointment:
Getting a Pennsylvania Drivers License as a New Resident
New Pennsylvania residents who already licensed and meet the general drivers license eligibility requirements to operate a vehicle are not obligated to retake the knowledge or road skills tests. In addition, these applicants are not required to apply for a learner’s permit and wait before they can apply for the license. Instead, new residents to PA have 60 days after establishing residency in the state to surrender their out-of-state license and obtain a new PennDOT license. In general, this only applies to new residents who have valid licenses, or whose driving credentials have been expired for less than six months.
All new residents with out-of-state non-commercial driver’s licenses must obtain a PA credential within 60 days of establishing residency in the state. Furthermore, the driver’s license cost for new residents transferring an existing credential is slightly lower than it is for first-time motorists. However, be mindful that learner’s permits held for less than six months in another state are not valid documents in Pennsylvania. In any case, licensed motorists who move in from another state will be required to provide the following documents to receive a PA DOT license:
- Submit a completed “Application for Pennsylvania Non-Commercial Driver’s License By Out-of-State Non-CDL Driver (DL-180R)” form.
- Undergo a state-administered vision screening.
- Provide proof of ID and two proofs of state residency.
- Show a copy of the applicant’s Social Security card.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Pennsylvania as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
Applicants who are younger than 18 years of age must go through a process for getting a new DMV license in Pennsylvania that is similar to the one in place for motorists of other ages. In general, PA driver’s license requirements for motorists who are 16 or 17 years of age include being able to demonstrate proof that they have completed the requisite number of skills practice hours. However, other forms of driver education programs are not mandated in the state. Overall, motorists as young as 15-and-a-half years of age are eligible to obtain a learner’s permit.
If you are applying for a PA DMV license while being younger than 18 years of age, you will be required to provide the necessary identification documents, as well as a valid Social Security card and two proofs of state residency. In addition, you will need to complete the “Non-commercial Learner’s Permit Application (DL-180)” form and a “Parent or Guardian Consent Form (DL-180TD)” form. Unlike adults, minors who obtain a learner’s permit are required to complete at least 65 hours of skills training in a vehicle alongside a supervising motorist, ten of which must be at night, and five of which must be conducted during inclement weather.
As described in the previous sections, motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must meet many of the same DOT driver’s license requirements that adult applicants must be mindful of. In addition, young motorists must also complete the 65 mandated hours of skills training previously described. Once a teen receives a learner’s permit, he or she must wait six months to apply for a full driver’s license in Pennsylvania.
Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Driver’s License in Pennsylvania
Minors applying for a new driver’s license must complete the 65 hours of skills training mentioned in the previous section in order to become eligible for a driving credential. Young drivers wondering where to get driver’s license training in Pennsylvania can find an eligible licensed motorist to help them practice, or enroll in a state-approved driver’s education program. There are several types of driving preparation courses that are open to new motorists across the state. During these programs, students can prepare for the written knowledge exam as well as the road skills test.
Pennsylvania Driver’s License Costs
The PA driver’s license cost varies according to the type of license an applicant is requesting, as well as his or her age. As such, consider the following list of DMV license fees:
- Initial permit and four-year license: $35.50
- Initial permit and two-year license (65 years of age or older): $25
- Probationary license (PL): $127.75
- Occupational limited license (OLL): $68
- Out-of-state new driver four-year license: $30.50
- Out-of-state new driver two-year license (65 years of age or older): $20