Getting a Driver’s License
In the United States it is illegal to drive a car unless you have received a document called a driver's license. A driver's license is a document that permits a person to drive a motor vehicle. In order to get a license you must pass a written exam and a driving exam. The process is different in each state. Below are the procedures for how to obtain a driver's license in Pennsylvania.
There are different procedures for adults and minors. A minor is someone who is under the age of 18, they will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
1. Minors are not able to receive an adult license. Instead they will receive a learner's permit at the age of 16. They will have this permit for a year and will only be allowed to drive with a licensed adult during this time. When they turn 17 they will be eligible to take a drivers test and if they pass they will receive a provisional license. This license will allow them to drive without an adult but they will still have restrictions while driving. These restrictions can be found if you click the link below.
2. If you are 18 years or older you can receive a full adult drivers license. Below are instructions that will help you when applying for an adult license.
You can download the “Pennsylvania Driver's Handbook” from the link below to learn more about the rules and procedures that you need to follow in order to get a license. The handbook is available in English and Spanish only. When you go to get your license you will be tested on the information in the book so make sure to study it carefully. This link includes free practice tests for you to take before the real exam.
You will need to have multiple documents with you in order to get your license. Make sure to have them with you when you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Many of these documents can be downloaded from the link below.
You will need:
A completed Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (Form DL-180). You can fill the DL-180 by pen or on the computer. There is a small section of the DL-180 which must be answered by a nurse/ health care provider/ doctor. It is possible to get this done free of charge by one of the free health clinics that we mentioned in the "Free Health Clinics" section.
A completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form (Form DL-180TD) (only needed if you are younger than 18 years old). It must be completed by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 18 years old or older
- Proof of identity (see the list located on page 2 of DL-180)
2 documents proving residency (also listed on page 2 of DL-180) if you are 18 years old or older. This is not needed for minors.
Your Social Security card.
You will need to pay a fee which is around $40. You cannot pay in cash. Only a check or a money order is acceptable.
Once you have all the documents above, you may begin to apply for your license. The first step is to apply for a 'learner's permit'. To get a learners permit you will need to take an exam. A driver's permit is different from a driver’s license. Permits are granted first, and if the driver drives without any accidents for 6 months, then they can take the final test for a full driver’s license. If you have a driver’s permit you cannot drive alone, someone who has a license must accompany you.
The exams can be taken at any “PennDOT Driver License Center”. There are many of these around the city, you may go to any of them. Look at the link below to find the one closest to you.
Take ALL the documents mentioned above with you to your written knowledge exam which is the test for a driving permit.
Write the exam to the best of your ability.
You may be asked to take an "eye-screening exam" which is a simple and free test to ensure that you can see clearly.
If you pass these tests you will receive a driver's ‘permit’.
Next Schedule a road test either online at this link or by calling 800-423-5542. A road test is a test where an instructor will ride in the car with you while you drive on a driving course. You will need your own car to take the road test. Take these documents with you.
Your valid learner’s permit
A completed Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (Form DL-180)
A completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form (DL-180TD) (if you are younger than 18 years old)
Proof of vehicle insurance
Proof of vehicle registration
Accompanying driver’s valid driver’s license.
Valid Inspection Sticker(s) on your car
If you pass the test, you will get your driver’s license. The test may be difficult to pass if you do not have experience driving.
Address: 5 American Parkway Allentown, PA 18101
Phone: (800) 932-4600