APPLYING FOR A NEW LICENSE
PA New Driver’s License
There are a few important steps to getting your first driver’s license in PA, even if you are licensed out of the state. There are a few different types of licenses that you can choose from – but not frivolously as they each indicate different privileges.
- Class A License provides privileges to operate vehicles over 26,000 pounds with another vehicle towed behind.
- Class B License provides privileges to operate a truck, bus, or motorhome that is over 26,000 pounds.
- Class C License is the standard license providing privileges to operate only basic private-passenger vehicles and those that do not reach 26,000 pounds.
- Class M License provides privileges to operate motorcycles
- Commercial License, provided in Class A, B, and C, provides privileges to operate commercial vehicles and trucks.
For all new drivers under the age of 18 in PA, a permit must first be held for a minimum of 6 months, with 50 accumulated driving hours of practice, before a standard license will be issued.
Driver’s Ed in PA
- If you are under 18, driver’s ed isn’t required for your license, but is highly recommended as it is a great way to earn your 50 practice hours of driving.
- If you are over the age of 18, driver’s ed is still not required, but could also be a great help to ensure you have the skills needed to drive more confidently and aware.
Preparation for Your Written Exam
When you are preparing for the driver’s license written exam, you are given a few resources to utilize in order to ensure better success.
- Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual
- Pennsylvania Driver’s Practice Test
- Online driver’s practice tests from third party providers
This is also a good time to think about driver’s training courses or driver’s ed.
Find the Right PA Driver’s License Center
There are several PennDOT locations, with the Driver’s License Center serving as the source of your license issue, with several locations of these offices throughout the state. To find the office that is closest to you and most convenient to visit, you can search online at Locations Info Center
Get Ready for Your Visit
There are several items that you will need when you report to the PennDOT office for your license:
- Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application offered online.
- Parent or Guardian Consent Form – all drivers under 18, also offered online Accepted proof of identification – with a full list on the rear of the application
- Two items to prove residency for all drivers over 18
- Social Security Card
- $5 in check or money order as cash isn’t accepted by PennDOT
Take Your Written Exam with PennDOT
Once you have gotten prepared, taken your practice tests, and know that you are on top of your game, it is time to get into the Licensing Center and take your driver’s written exam. This is going to also be accompanied by a vision screening.
- 18 questions in total on test.
- At least 15 answered correctly to pass.
- At least 1 business day wait for failed tests to be retaken.
- Oral and Spanish exams offered by request only.
If you do happen to fail the written exam the first time, make sure that you retain your documents as you will need them to retake the test.
Getting Your Vehicle
Before you can even think about scheduling your road exam, the vehicle you will take the test in must first be acquired. By all means, you are able to use a family member or friend’s vehicle, but it must be insured and registered in PA.
- Consider your vehicle options.
- Get a vehicle history report if you decide to buy a used car.
- Determine your budget for a vehicle whether new or used.
- Determine funding options for your vehicle.
Auto Insurance in PA
It is imperative that you have auto insurance on your vehicle or the vehicle that you use for your behind-the-wheel exam in order to operate the vehicle in the state. In order to get your auto insurance, you must have a good understanding of the requirements, which you can view at 4DMV.com’s insurance center.
Take Your Road Exam in PA
Make an appointment before you arrive as these tests are offered only by appointment. You can make your appointment in one of 2 ways:
For those new to the state with an out-of-state license that is still valid, a skills (road) test is not required.
If you are required to complete the skills exam, you must bring the following with you:
- Parent/Guardian Consent form if under 18
- Current and valid learning permit
- Vehicle with current and valid state inspections sticker, required emissions sticker if applicable, and valid registration and insurance
- License of driver who accompanies you to the exam
If you pass the skills test, you will be given a camera card, which you will then bring with you to the Photo License Center where your picture will be taken. After the photo, you are given your 4-year photo license which must be held at all times behind the wheel.
If you fail the exam, you will have to wait 7 days if you are under 18 before you are eligible to retake the exam. The learner’s permit you hold is valid for up to 3 tests, after which you must file for a state extension before you are given another try.