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Apply for a Texas Learners Permit

Texas Learners Permit Application

Applying for a Texas learners permit is the first thing anyone looking to obtain a drivers license in Texas should do. Obtaining a Texas learners permit is mandatory for all first-time drivers license applicants and there is no way around it. If you currently hold a drivers license or learners permit issued by a different state or a Texas driver license that hasn't been expired for too long, you may be able to omit this licensing stage and go straight for a drivers license. Applying for a Texas drivers permit will require you to take a permit test and, depending on your age, you may also be required to complete a state-approved Texas drivers education course. Keep in mind that having a Texas drivers permit does not grant you full driving privileges and you must observe all permit restrictions until you take a drivers license test.

Texas Graduated Drivers License Program

If you are under 18 years of age, you will need to follow the Texas graduated license law and meet its requirements. This means that before you can apply for a Texas drivers permit, you must first enroll and start taking a Texas drivers education course. There are a few types of drivers ed classes available to you, you may complete the course through your high school, a local driving school or go through one of the Texas parent taught drivers ed classes. The graduated license program also mandates that you will need to hold your learners permit for at least six months before you can go ahead and apply for a Texas drivers license.

Please keep in mind - the graduated license law concerns only those who choose to apply for a drivers permit before reaching the age of 18 years. However, drivers between 18 and 24 years of age are also required to complete a six hour Texas drivers education course prior to applying for a learners permit.

Test Required

The application procedure requires you to take a number of tests that will assess whether you are prepared for operating a vehicle on public roads. These tests must be taken by all first time driver's permit applicants no matter the age. Testing is conducted by the Texas Department of Public safety and will evaluate your knowledge of the state driving rules and your physical and mental health.

Texas Permit Test

A permit test in Texas is very similar to knowledge exams used by other states. The test features questions on the state driving rules, road signs and safe driving practices. There are many ways to prepare for the test and taking a drivers education course is probably the best one. However, if you have not taken a drivers ed class, you should start by obtaining a copy of the Texas learners manual from the DPS website (you may also pick up a copy at your nearest DPS office, but downloading the handbook will definitely save you some time). Texas permit test is based on the information provided in the book, so reading the materials put forth in the manual should be sufficient for learning the rules. Once done with the book, you may also want to test yourself with some Texas permit practice tests. You can find them offered free of charge on the Internet or purchase a test package from one of the driving schools.

Texas Vision Examination

Before you can apply for a Texas driver's license, you are required to pass a vision test. You must be able to pass a vision test, with or without corrective lenses, with visual acuity better than 20/200 in at least one eye without the use of a bioptic telescopic lens or similar bioptic device to meet the minimum vision acuity standard. You are allowed to use a bioptic lens for the behind-the-wheel road test. A bioptic lens restriction and daytime driving only restriction will be added to your driver record.

What to Expect at the DPS

When you show up at the DPS office, ready to apply for a Texas learners permit, you will be required to present the following paperwork:

  • proof of ID
  • proof of Texas residence
  • your Social Security Number
  • drivers ed certificate of completion

If you are under 18 years of age, you will also prove that you:

  1. Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent;
  2. Are a student enrolled in a public or private school who attended school for at least 80 days in the fall or spring semester preceding the date of application; or
  3. Have been enrolled for at least 45 days, and are currently enrolled in a program to prepare persons to pass the high school equivalence exam

The DPS will also require you to give your thumb prints and pay the testing fee. The testing fee is good for three test attempts within 90 days. If you fail one of the tests three times within this period, you will have to pay the permit application fee again.

Operating Under a Texas Learners Permit

Once you meet all DPS requirements, pass the tests and receive your learners permit, you can finally get behind the wheel and start driving. However, you should remember that having a learners permit does not grant you full driving privileges and you must observe all Texas permit restrictions. Thus, you are not allowed to drive alone and must have a supervising driver at least 21 years of age seated next to you whenever you are driving. Permit restrictions are removed once you take the Texas drivers test and receive your full unrestricted Texas drivers license.

Keep in mind that you may lose your driving privilege altogether if you are caught operating under a learners permit without another licensed driver supervising you.