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How to Get a New Driver’s License in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania drivers license permits residents to operate motor vehicles on public roads and highways. Drivers requesting a drivers license in PA must meet certain eligibility standards and bring all necessary documents to their local Department of Motor Vehicles offices. A DMV drivers license will be issued once drivers satisfy all requirements and present proper documentation. A new drivers license will include identifying information about the driver. Drivers interested in learning how to get a drivers license may review the following sections. For more information, review the sections provided below.

Required Documents to Apply for Drivers License in Pennsylvania

Along with a new drivers license application, applicants must present acceptable forms of identification to verify their residency. For U.S. citizens and state residents, identification needed to get drivers license information includes birth certificates, certificates of U.S. citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization (proof of citizenship change), U.S. Passports or adoption paperwork for foreign adoptions. Getting drivers license information also involves submitting supporting documents. Supporting documents may be a completed non-commercial drivers license application (form DL-180), a parent or guardian consent form (DL-180TD form) if applicants are younger than 18 years old, documents supporting name changes (i.e., marriage certificates or divorce orders), an updated Social Security Card and a fee payment. The drivers license cost may vary by location. The DL-180 form must be approved by a certified physician.

However, prior to receiving a Pennsylvania drivers license, drivers must also obtain a Learner’s Permit and bring evidence of their vehicle insurance and registration. Additionally, DMV driver’s license requirements state that an accompanying driver must show a valid driver’s license and that applicants younger than 18 must complete another parent or guardian certification form (DL-180C) during their driving tests.

Pennsylvania Driver’s License Eligibility Requirements

To be fully informed on how to get a drivers license, potential applicants must learn driver’s license eligibility requirements. Drivers may schedule their driving tests and exams for a drivers license online or in person at a Department of Transportation (PennDOT) location. To be eligible for a PA driver’s license, applicants must be at least 16 years old. To transfer a non-commercial driver’s license, drivers must be 16 and a half years of age or older. Applicants must be at least 16 years old to meet license requirements to obtain a Learner’s Permit from the PA DMV.

In addition to age requirements, drivers must pass an eye screening test and a knowledge test that ensures drivers know basic driving laws. PennDOT reserves the right to dismiss a driver’s license application if the driver does not meet other eligibility requirements. If drivers are younger than 18 years old, then they must also complete a predetermined amount of adult-supervised driving. This driver’s license requirement usually consists of 65 hours of driving in varying conditions like bad weather and at nighttime. Drivers license services such as the free driving manual and driving courses allow drivers to gain experience and reach license requirements in a safe environment. Driver’s education courses may be offered at public schools or at a separate driving education location.

How to Apply for Drivers License in Pennsylvania

Drivers may apply for drivers license certification by following the steps listed below. These steps apply to drivers who are seeking a new drivers license and have either never been licensed before or are new residents requesting a new driver’s license:

  1. Complete and submit all required driver’s license documents to a PennDOT location.
  2. Take and pass all screening tests to obtain a learner’s permit.
  3. Pay driver’s license fees for learner’s permit at a PennDOT licensing center.
  4. Complete driver’s education requirements.
  5. Schedule, complete and pass driving exam.
  6. Receive new driver’s license.

Drivers should know that there is a long wait time associated with driving tests. To guarantee there will be availability for the driver’s license road test, drivers must schedule their examinations as soon as possible. Preferably, drivers should schedule their final driving tests when they receive their learner’s permits. A driver’s license will remain valid until its expiration date, but a learner’s permit expires after one year unless the driver files for extensions.

Pennsylvania Driver’s License Restrictions

Pennsylvania driver’s license is issued for specific driving requirements. The most common type of driver’s license allows drivers to operate standard passenger vehicles. However, drivers are only able to drive vehicles within their assigned classes. For instance, a Class A non-commercial driver’s license is required to operate vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more including the weight of towed vehicles, and a Class M driver’s license permits drivers to ride motorcycles and other motor-driven vehicles.

Drivers with junior licenses—issued to drivers who have passed all learners permit requirements but are younger than 18 years old—have additional driver’s license restrictions including the number of passengers and driving times. Drivers with a junior driver’s license may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and may not transport more than one underaged (younger than 18 years old) passenger unless a licensed parent or guardian is present.

Not only do drivers’ classes restrict driving privileges, but medical restrictions on driver’s licenses also restrict driver activities. For instance, driver’s licenses may state that the license holder must wear corrective lenses, maintain dual mirrors, operate an automatic vehicle only or avoid driving at night. Commercial driver license (CDL) classes, endorsements and restrictions limit drivers’ driving abilities in a similar way. For example, a CDL may authorize a driver to transport hazardous material (an H endorsement), confine drivers to intrastate driving only (a K restriction) or limit a vehicle’s weight to 26,000 pounds (a Class C commercial driver’s license).

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