In Pennsylvania, if you want to drive on public roads, you must obtain a state-issued license before you can legally operate a motor vehicle.
Note that you will need to practice supervised driving before you can take the road test. As long as you complete these requirements, you can pay the required license fees and have your photo taken. After that, you will receive your Pennsylvania driver’s license to practice legal driving in the state.
How to get a Pennsylvania learner’s permit
You cannot operate a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania unless you obtain a learner’s permit. It will, in reality, allow you to practice supervised driving until you get a full driver’s license.
Requirements for a permit
- In the first place, you must be at least 16 years old
- Secondly, you must visit a Pennsylvania driver license center and complete the given application form, providing the necessary documents
- You must also come with your parents/legal guardian so that they give their consent and authorize driving, by completing this form
- Then, you must pass a medical check-up by a licensed physician (or registered nurse) to determine whether you are in good medical condition to be able to drive
- Afterwards, you will need to pass the vision acuity test, too. You can bring your glasses or contact lenses if you wear them in an everyday life. If you have poor vision and fail to meet the vision standards, then there may be a particular restriction placed on your driver’s license
- The last major requirement is to take the written knowledge test on traffic laws, road signs and safe driving practices, and pass it
- You must pay the permit fee of $35.5 before you receive the permit
Note that there may be certain permit issuance delays in case the examiner fails to determine whether you meet the medical standards. In such cases, applicants usually undergo additional medical check-ups and provide new medical statements.
Those applicants, who have serious health problems or conditions, that impair one’s ability to drive, may need to get a dual control learner’s permit.
- Proof of identity
- Social Security Number (Social Security Card)
- Two valid documents of Pennsylvania residence (for example, a current utility bill, tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, W-2 Form)
Please pay attention to the fact that you must present original documents, as DMV does not accept photocopies.
How to get a Pennsylvania junior driver’s license
A junior driver’s license permits unsupervised driving, but there will be certain limitations on your driving privilege if you are under 18.
Requirements for a license
- To begin the licensing process, you must have held the learner’s permit for at least six months
- Secondly, you must have completed 65 hours of supervised driving with a licensed adult. Note that the supervised driving must include 10 hours of nighttime driving, as well as 5 hours of driving in bad weather conditions
- Thirdly, you must schedule a road test beforehand, bring necessary paperwork and pass it. For the road test, you must have a properly registered vehicle, which is in good mechanical condition. The examiner will check whether your vehicle has a valid registration card, current insurance, valid state inspection sticker and a valid emissions sticker
- Once you successfully pass the road test, you will need to have your photo taken and pay the required license fee
- Current learner’s permit
- Completed parent/guardian certification form
- Consent form from your parents or legal guardian
- Vehicle insurance card
- Documents of vehicle registration (the original document)
- Not driving between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (except for being supervised or for the purposes of public/charitable service, employment and volunteering for a fire company)
- Carrying only one unrelated passenger under the age of 18. After the first six months of driving, you can carry three unrelated underage passengers
- Not carrying more passengers than seat belts available in the vehicle you are driving
Pennsylvania adult (unrestricted) driver’s license
Requirements for a license
- To start with, schedule a road test and bring your learner’s permit, documents of vehicle insurance and registration with you
- On the exam day, you should come with a licensed driver
- After passing the road test, you must pay the required license fee, have your photo taken and receive the driver’s license
Note that you can get an unrestricted driver’s license providing that you have held your junior license for a year. For that, you must pass a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved driver training course and maintain a clean driving record, without any crashes and violations of traffic rules.
Steps to obtain a commercial driver’s license in Pennsylvania
To have the right to drive a particular type of vehicle, drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- In the first place, you must be licensed as a non-commercial driver in Pennsylvania
- Secondly, you must complete the application form, mentioning (self-certifying) the type of driving in which you intend to engage (for example, NI – Interstate non-excepted, NA – Interstate excepted, EI – Intrastate non-excepted, EI – Intrastate excepted)
- You will also need to submit a current medical examiner’s certificate and/or medical variance documents
Depending on the class of license, you will need to take knowledge tests (for example, general, passenger, air brakes, combination vehicle, hazardous materials, tanker knowledge tests)
- After passing the tests mentioned above, you will need to take and pass the skills tests (vehicle inspection, basic vehicle control and on-road driving)
- Finally, after upgrading the license, you will need to pay an increased annual license fee and a photo fee
Pennsylvania driver’s license renewal
In the state of Pennsylvania, licenses are due to expire every four years, on the next day after the driver’s birthday. If you are older than 65, you have the opportunity to renew the license every two years.
To renew the license, you must properly complete the renewal application form and pay the required license fee.
You may also renew online as long as you are renewing a valid, non-commercial license without any changes on file. To renew, you must go through this link, enter the license number, your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).
Renewing by mail is another option. To do so, you will need to complete the application form, include the required fee and send the packet.
Bureau of Driver Licensing,
P.O. Box 68272,
List of acceptable documents
- Your current driver’s license or Photo ID Card
- Identification (US issued Passport, citizenship, naturalization or weapons permit)
Costs associated with a Pennsylvania driver’s license
- Learner’s Permit Fee: $35.5
- Regular Four-year License Fee: $35.5
- Two-year License Fee: $25
- Initial Motorcycle Permit Fee: $45.5
- License Renewal Fee: $30.5
- Identification Card Fee: $31.5
- Identification Card Renewal Fee: $31.5
Point system for traffic violations
The state of Pennsylvania uses points (point system) to keep an eye on your driving behavior. To clarify, if you violate any traffic laws, there will be particular points placed on your driver’s license.
If you, for example, exceed the speed limit by 26 to 30 MPH, you will get 5 points and a fifteen-day license suspension. Or, if you fail to stop for stop signs, drive carelessly, fail to stop for a red light or tailgate (follow too closely), you will, respectively, get 3 points.