How to Apply for a New Drivers License in Pennsylvania

You will need a drivers license in Pennsylvania in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. Understanding Pennsylvania drivers license requirements, as well as those who are eligible, can be crucial for both first-time license holders and those who are new to the state. Not only will a new drivers license come with its own requirements, but there are different licenses for minors and adults. Additionally, knowing the documentation you will need in order to obtain a license can save time. For more drivers license information, including the application process, review the sections provided below.

Drivers License Application Requirements in Pennsylvania

To get a drivers license in Pennsylvania, you must first meet the state's set eligibility requirements. A DMV drivers license is only obtainable if you are at least 16 years of age, you are either a United States citizen or have lawful presence within the United States and are a resident of Pennsylvania. Additionally, a Pennsylvania drivers license will only be available to those who are able to meet documentation requirements, which include providing:

  • A Social Security card.
  • Proof of citizenship, such as a valid United States passport or a birth certificate.
  • Two pieces of mail or other documentation that show proof of residency, unless you are a minor.

If you are not a United States citizen, you must, instead, show your immigration documents that provide proof of your legal status within the United States, passport and Social Security card or Social Security Administration ineligibility letter. Additionally, if your drivers license requires a name change, you must bring your name change documentation, such as a court order, a marriage certificate or a divorce decree, and you must have informed the Social Security Administration of this change prior to your DMV visit.

If you are seeking a new drivers license, as in you do not have a license from another state, you will also need to have a medical examiner give you a physical and aid in filling out your application.

A Pennsylvania drivers license will only be available initially if you have a drivers license from another state that is either still valid or expired within six months' time or less. Otherwise, you will first have to meet the requirements for obtaining a learners permit and maintain that permit for six months before you will be eligible for a full-fledged license.

How to Apply for Drivers License in Pennsylvania: Adults

New residents will need to obtain a Pennsylvania drivers license within 60 days of establishing Pennsylvania residency. If you have a valid or recently expired out-of-state drivers license, then you can get drivers license credentials in Pennsylvania relatively easily.

While you will not be able to apply for a drivers license online, you can apply for drivers license at any Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (PennDOT), which handles all drivers license services. Ensure that you bring the necessary documentation and that you meet eligibility requirements in order to save yourself an additional trip to the DMV. It is worth noting that the drivers license cost cannot be paid for by cash or credit card, and you must, instead, provide either a check or a money order. Getting drivers license credentials will not require you to take a knowledge test or road skills test, so long as you have an out-of-state license.

If you have never had a drivers license or if your license expired more than six months ago, you will need to begin with a Pennsylvania learners permit before you will be eligible for a license. That means that you will be required to take a knowledge test in order to obtain a learners permit and follow all of the learners permit rules for a minimum of six months in order to be eligible to take the road skills test and earn your license.

How to Get a Drivers License in Pennsylvania: Minors

Obtaining a PA drivers license will require an additional step when it comes to minors. If you are under the age of 18, after the successful completion of your learners permit, you will go on to obtain a junior driver license. This driving license will allow you to drive on your own, but you will still be bound to restrictions similar to those you had with a learners permit. Download our free, informative guide to review these driving restrictions.

While you can receive a full-fledged Pennsylvania drivers license when you turn 18, you can apply for a full drivers license prior to that if you meet the following requirements:

  • Maintain a crash-free and conviction-free driving record for at least 12 months
  • Complete a special DL-59 application form
  • Complete an approved drivers education course
  • You have the consent of a parent or legal guardian

Learn more about drivers license procedures in PA by downloading our comprehensive guide.