Pennsylvania Drivers License Application
If you have never held a license issued by a different state and would like to apply for a Pennsylvania driver's license now, you may be somewhat confused as to how to go about it. So many tests to take, so much paperwork to file. The situation is even more complex is you are applying for a Pennsylvania driver's license before the age of 18, since you will be subject to the state graduated drivers license program and will need to meet additional license requirements. In order to simplify the whole thing for you, we've broken the process of applying for a Pennsylvania DOT drivers license into a series of small steps.
Drivers License - Under 18 Years of Age
Due to the fact that teen drivers have very high crash rates, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has developed a whole set of additional drivers license requirements that must be met by everyone who is applying for a Pennsylvania driving license before the age of 18. These requirements came to be known as the Pennsylvania graduate drivers license program and there is no way for a teenager to get around the program if the goal is to receive a license before the 18th birthday.
The road towards an unrestricted drivers license is quite long and you can start off at soon as you turn 16, since this is the minimum age when you can apply for a Pennsylvania drivers permit. At this age, you can visit the PennDOT office, submit your application for a permit and take a drivers permit test. If you pass, you are issued with a permit that allows you to start practicing your driving skills.
Keep in mind that this is not a driver's license yet and you have to observe all Pennsylvania drivers permit restrictions during this stage. You are not allowed to drive alone and must have someone with a valid Pennsylvania drivers license seated in front seat next to you when you practice driving. The supervising driver must be at least 18 years of age if it's your parent or your spouse or 21 years of age if it's someone else. You must hold your drivers permit for at least six months and during this time, you must receive at least 50 hour of driving instruction (these hours must be documented on a Parent or Guardian Certification form DL-180C.
If you meet the above license requirements - congratulations, you are ready to apply for your Pennsylvania drivers license. Go ahead and schedule your Pennsylvania driver's license test with the DOT. If you pass the test and are still under 18 years of age, you are issued with a junior license. Keep in mind that although your junior drivers license allows you to drive without a supervising driver, it still comes with strings attached and you have to observe all Pennsylvania junior license restrictions until you turn 18.
There is one way to get unrestricted driving privileges before you turn 18 and that is to complete a Pennsylvania driver's education program that is approved by the Department of Education. If you complete the course and you have held a junior license for at least a year, you can submit an Application for Change from a Junior Drives License to a Regular Non-Commercial Driver's License (dl-59) and have junior restrictions removed.
Driver License - 18 Years of Age and Older
If you are at least 18 years of age, applying for a drivers license is much easier for you. Sure, you have to take the same tests and, just like teenager applicants, receive a Pennsylvania drivers permit before you can get a license, but then there are no mandatory permit holding periods and junior license restrictions for you.
You should start by learning the state driving rules, Grab a copy of the Pennsylvania drivers license handbook and read everything there, the information contained there is more than enough for passing the permit test. When you are ready, visit the PennDOT, take the test and receive your permit. Practice driving with another licensed driver and when you are ready, take the drivers license test at the DOT. Once you pass the test, you are issued with a drivers license.
Note that once you pass the drivers license test, you are issued with a temporary license that is valid for 15 days. Your actual Pennsylvania drivers license is mailed to you within this period. When you receive your drivers license in the mail, you must destroy the temporary license.
In order for the Department of Transportation to make sure that you can safely operate a motor vehicle, you will be required to pass a number of tests that will assess your health, your knowledge of the state driving rules and your actual driving skills.
Since the DOT does not have specialist in the field of medicine, it relies on other professionals to conduct a medical evaluation of every permit applicant's health. What this means for you is that before you go to the PennDOT to apply for your Pennsylvania driving permit, you will have to download a Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application form (DL-180) from the DOT website and have your health care provider fill out the back of the form. The form must be completed by a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Medical Doctor (M.D.), Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (C.R.N.P.), Physician’s Assistant (P.A.) or a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), no earlier than six months prior to your application date. Your vision exam will be conducted as part of this general health evaluation.
Drivers Permit Test
In order to prove that you know the state driving rules, you are required to take a Pennsylvania drivers permit test. Passing the drivers permit test is quire easy, provided you prepare for it. The best way to prepare for the test is to read the drivers license book and then take a few Pennsylvania drivers practice tests. Practice tests will help you decide whether you are ready for the permit test or if you need to study a bit more.
Drivers License Test
The drivers license test is probably the most feared experience for anyone who's applying for a Pennsylvania drivers license, however is does not have to be. There are a few easy tips that can help you pass your drivers test in no time at all.
Practice as much as possible. The more hours you practice now, the easier it will be for you to pass your Pennsylvania drivers license test. If you have a chance to practice with different people - do it. This will be beneficial for two reasons - you will get diverse advice from different drivers, plus you will get used to having different people around in the car while driving, so when the drivers license examiner gets into the vehicle, you won't be so stressed.
The Pennsylvania DOT wants to make sure that you are the person you claim to be, so you will be required to present the following paperwork while applying for a PA driver license:
- proof of identification
- proof of date of birth
- Social Security Number
If you are under 18 years of age at the time of the application, you must also show a Parent or Guardian Consent form DL-180TD and a Parent or Guardian Certification form DL-180C for 50 hours of driving hours.