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Apply for a Learners Permit

Learners Permit Application

If you want to obtain a drivers license, you would have to start by applying for a learners permit. Possession of a drivers permit gives you the chance to practice driving while being supervised by a more experienced licensed driver, which minimizes the risk of you being involved in a traffic accident. Applying for a drivers permit involves taking a number of tests, such as a vision exam and a learners permit test. If you are under 18 years of age, you will need to meet all graduated license requirements during the process.

Graduated Drivers License

Graduated driver license programs were enacted in most states in response to high accident and mortality rates among teen drivers. In most cases, graduated drivers license programs target drivers under the age of 18 years, however some states went much further and make everyone go through the program when applying for a driver's license. Graduated license rules set a number of additional requirements that must be met before a full unrestricted drivers license can be issued. You can usually find some information about your state graduated license rules in the DMV drivers manual.

Tests Required

Before you can be issued with a learners permit, the Department of Motor Vehicles wants to make sure that you are fit to operate a vehicle and know your way around the state driving laws. That's why applying for a drivers license always includes taking a learners permit test and a vision exam. Some states will also require you to get a full physical before accepting your application.

Permit Test

A permit test consist of a bunch of multiple choice questions on the state driving laws, road signs and safe driving practices. The number of questions on the test varies between 20 and fifty questions. The passing score for the permit test is usually around 80%. Permit test questions are based on the materials put forth in the driver handbook, so you can prepare for the test by studying the book and then testing yourself with free practice permit tests. In most cases, if you fail the permit test three times, your application for a learners permit is denied and you have to wait another three to six months before you can re-apply.

Vision Exam

Seeing well is very important when it comes to driving and that is why vision exams are mandatory for everyone who chooses to obtain a learners permit. The usual requirements is that a person must have 20/40 acuity with both eyes, with or without glasses. If you are unable to meet these requirements, your application for a learner's permit will be denied.

If you take the exam while wearing glasses or contact lenses, a special drivers license restriction code will be placed onto your license. This restriction prohibits you from operating a vehicle without wearing glasses or contacts.

Required Paperwork

When you submit your application for a learners permit, the DMV will require you to present certain paperwork to be able to identify you and verify whether you are eligible for a drivers permit. The following list is what must be presented in most states, however you should check your state requirements with the DMV.

  • proof of id
  • proof of age
  • proof of residency
  • social security number

If you are under 18 years of age at the time of the application, your parents or legal guardians will also need to be present at the office. Your parents will need to sign a consent form, without parental consent you will not be issued with a learners permit. Some states also require teenage applicants to prove that they are currently attending school.

Applying for a Permit - Under 18 Years of Age

Start by checking the legal permit age for your state as it can be anything from 14 to 16 years. You can find the legal permit age for your state in the driver license book or by calling the DMV help line. If you meet the age requirement, check if the graduated license law requires to you complete any classes before you can apply for a drivers permit. Some states require teen drivers to complete a drivers ed program even before they schedule a DMV permit test.

If you're sure that you satisfy all requirements, visit the DMV and submit your application for a permit. You will be asked to take a permit test at this point. In some states, the DMV requires you to schedule the test in advance, while in other you may just show up and take the test any time during the regular office hours.

Once done with the test, you are issued with a permit on the spot or it is mailed to you within a few weeks. This permit allows you to start driving while being supervised by another licensed driver, for example, your parent or legal guardian. Requirements for the supervising driver are mandated by the graduated license law.

Applying for a Permit - 18 Years of Age and Older

Just like a teen driver, you should start the application procedure by learning the state driving laws, road signs and safe driving practices, as you will be tested on these subjects. Once you are ready for the exam, schedule the test or visit a nearest DMV testing station, submit your application for a learners permit, present the required paperwork and take the test. If you pass the exam, you will be issued with a learners permit.

Operating Under a Learners Permit

One thing that you have to keep in mind while operating under a learner permit is that a permit does not grant you full driving privileges. There are certain permit restrictions that must be observed at all times. For example, a permit does not allow you to drive alone and you must be accompanied by a more experienced licensed driver at all times.

If you apply for a drivers permit when you are under 18 years of age, you will need to hold it for a certain period of time, usually between six to twelve months before you can take a drivers test and receive a driver license. Drivers license applicants over 18 years of age usually don't have a minimum holding period for a learners permit and can take a drivers test whenever they feel confident enough behind the wheel.