Pennsylvania Permit Requirements

New drivers in Pennsylvania should understand the Pennsylvania ​driver permit requirements before applying for their driver permit with PennDOT. Make sure you have the met the prerequisites and that you have the required documents ready.

If you are trying to earn a learner’s permit in Pennsylvania, there are important details that you should know.  Being informed about the permit system will allow you to sail through the process with ease.

Pennsylvania Permit Paperwork and Documentation

In Pennsylvania you must be 16 years old before you can apply for a driving permit.  Pennsylvania is also one of a few states that require a physical exam before obtaining a permit.  The physical may be performed by your doctor, a physician assistant, certified nurse practitioner or even your chiropractor.  They will use form DL-180 http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/dl-180.pdf which may be filled out on line, printed out and taken with you when you go to apply for a permit.

You will also need to get your parent or guardian’s written consent to drive if you are under 18.  This permission needs to be provided on form DL-180TD.  http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/dl-180td.pdf  The form must be signed by your parent in person at the PennDOT office or be notarized, so it is probably easiest just to bring a parent with you to the office.

There are several other paperwork documents that you will need to bring.  Proof of identity must be provided, with your Social Security card and original birth certificate which must have a raised seal.  If you are over 18, you must also provide 2 proofs of residency, with documents like utility bills, bank statements or a signed statement from the person you live with.  The fee for a permit is $34.50, which will cover the permit and an actual 4-year license. 

Required Testing for the Pennsylvania Permit

Once you have assembled all this required documentation, you are ready to go to the PennDOT Driver License Center, where you will then take a vision test and the knowledge test.  The written knowledge test is an 18 question multiple choice test that will assess your understanding of Pennsylvania traffic laws, signs and safe driving practices.  Those that do not pass may try again the next day.  See our study guide to help you with the written test.

Pennsylvania Permit Restrictions

The learner’s permit is good for one year, but you may apply for an actual license after holding the permit for 6 months.  Once you have obtained your driver permit you will be able to drive between 5 AM and 11 PM with a supervising licensed driver aged 21 or older.  You will need to log 65 hours of behind the wheel practice, with at least 10 hours at night and 5 hours in poor weather conditions like rain. These hours are accounted for on form DL-180C http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/DL-180C.pdf signed by your parent in person at the driver license office.

Earning a License in Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania has a graduated driver license system to regulate teen driver safety.    After finishing the 65 hours of practice and have held the permit for 6 months, you will be ready to schedule an appointment https://www.dot4.state.pa.us/exam_scheduling/eslogin.jsp#top?2013111112143487=2013111112143487 to take your driving test.  Upon successfully passing the road test you will earn a Junior Driver License.  This will allow you to drive independently between 5 AM and 11 PM, with exceptions for travel to and from work.  You may only have 1 passenger under 18 who is not an immediate family member.  After 6 months you may have up to 3 passengers under 18.

After holding the Junior license for 1 year you can apply for an Unrestricted Driver License.  During that year you must have had no moving violations and no at-fault accidents.  Once you have your Junior license, you will need to take an approved driver education course, consisting of a minimum of 30 hours classroom time and 6 hours of behind the wheel training.  You may apply for this license by mail with a notarized form DL-59.   http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/dl_forms/dl-59.pdf  PennDOT will send you an update card to carry with your Junior license, or for a fee you can get a regular license.  The only additional restriction if you are under 18 is that your license can be suspended for 90 days if you earn 6 points for moving violations or have a high speed violation.  If you do nothing, the Junior license automatically converts to an unrestricted license when you turn 18.