Top Tips – Get Your PA Learners Permit

NON-COMMERCIAL PENNSYLVANIA LICENSE & LEARNER'S PERMIT INFORMATION

PA-License will provide the information you need to know about obtaining a Pennsylvania learner's permit & driver's license. Before you get your Pennsylvania driver's license you will need the information here to ensure you have everything needed. You also need to know that after passing your driving test you will get a temporary license, you will receive your 15-day temporary Pennsylvania driver's license at that time.  You will receive your permanent PA driver's license in the mail within 15 days.


Pennsylvania Online Drivers Ed

 

APPLYING FOR A LEARNER'S PERMIT

You must obtain a learner's permit before you operate a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania.  You will need to take and pass the Vision, Knowledge and Road Tests to get your driver's license.

When you are 16 years of age or older, please follow the steps listed below in order to get your non-commercial learner's permit.  You cannot apply for your permit before your 16th birthday.

1.         Complete the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) found on the PennDOT website under the Forms and Publications link at the top of the page.

2.         Your health care provider must complete the back of the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180).  The form must be completed by a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Medical Doctor (M.D.), Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (C.R.N.P.), Physician's Assistant (P.A.) or a Doctor of Chiropractor (D.C.), no earlier than six (6) months prior to your 16th birthday.  All information must be completed.

3.         If the Driver License Examiner cannot determine whether the information on the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) meets medical standards, your learner's permit may be delayed.  You may be required to undergo additional medical examinations.  If you have a condition that seriously impairs your ability to drive, you may be required to get a dual control learner's permit and learn to drive with a certified instructor.

4.         If you are under 18 years of age, your parent, guardian, person in loco parentis or spouse who is 18 years of age or older must complete the Parent or Guardian Consent Form (DL-180TD) also found on our website at www.dmv.state.pa.us under the Forms and Publications link at the top of the page.  If the parent/guardian cannot accompany the applicant, the DL-180TD must be signed by the parent/guardian in the presence of a notary.  Proper identification is required and if last names are different, verification of relationship is needed.  If you are over 18 years of age, you must present two (2) proofs of residency:

  • Current Utility Bills (water, gas, electric, cable, etc.)
    (Note:  Bills for mobile, cellular and pagers will not be accepted.)
  • Tax Records.
  • Lease Agreements.
  • W-2 Form.
  • Current Weapons Permit (U.S. Citizens only).
  • Mortgage Documents.

After studying the manual and following the steps listed above, bring the items listed below to the Driver License Center when you are ready to take your PA Permit Knowledge Test:

  • Your completed Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180).  Do not mail this form.  If under 18 years of age, also bring your completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form (DL-180TD).
  • Proof of date of birth and identification.  These documents must be originals (photocopies will not be accepted).  The only acceptable proof of identification can be found on the back of the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180).
  • Your Social Security card (card must be signed).
  • Your check or money order made payable to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for the correct amount.  Cash, debit or credit cards cannot be accepted.

Please Note:  Forms of identification that may be used to prove your date of birth are listed on the back of the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) along with the fees.  (All birth certificates/certification of birth must be state issued) NO COPIES ACCEPTED.

At the Driver License Center, your vision will be tested.  If you wear glasses or contact lenses, please bring them with you.  You will then take the Pennsylvania License Knowledge Test on signs, laws, driving rules and safe practices as outlined in the PA driver manual.  After passing the PA Knowledge Test, the examiner will give you a Pennsylvania learner's permit, which is valid for one (1) year.  When you receive your learner's permit, you may begin to practice driving with an adult passenger with a valid PA license.

If you fail the Knowledge Test, the examiner will return the Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) and your Parent or Guardian Consent Form (DL-180TD) to you.  You may take the Knowledge Test only one time on any day regardless of test location.  Keep your forms in a safe place since you must bring them with you when you are tested again.  The Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) is valid for one (1) year from the date of your physical examination; however, the physical examination date may not be more than six (6) months prior to your 16th birthday.

If you are under the age of 18, you are required to complete at least (65) hours of behind-the-wheel skill-building including no less than (10) hours of nighttime driving and (5) hours of bad weather driving before taking your Road Test.  This training will help teach you the skills necessary to become a good, safe driver.

REMEMBER:  A licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age or a spouse, guardian or parent who is at least 18 years of age and holds a valid  Pennsylvania driver's license must ride with you in the front seat of your vehicle at all times.  In addition, drivers under the age of 18 cannot have more passengers in the vehicle than the number of seat belts.

Now You Are Ready For Your Pennsylvania License Test

 

After you have waited the mandatory six (6) months from your permit issue date and have a signed certificate of completion for the 65 hours of skill-building, you may take your Road Test.  If your learner's permit expires or if you do not pass your road test after three (3) tries, you may obtain an Application to Add/Extend/Replace/Change/Correct Non-Commercial Learner's Permit (DL-31).

If you are using your learner's permit for driving outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, please check with your insurance company and the other state's Department of Transportation to make sure your learner's permit is valid.

If any information on your learner's permit is not correct, bring proof of the correct information to the examiner when you come to the Driver License Center for testing.

 

PENNDOT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER INFORMATION

PennDOT is required by law to obtain your Social Security number, height and eye color under the provisions of Section 1510(a) and/or 1609(a)(4) of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.  The information will be used by PennDOT as identifying information in an attempt to minimize driver's license fraud.  Your Social Security number is not part of your public Pennsylvania driver's record.  Federal law permits the use of the Social Security number by state licensing officials (PennDOT) for purposes of identification.  Your Social Security number will not be printed on your PA learner's permit or Pennsylvania driver's license.

PENNSYLVANIA LICENSE VISION STANDARDS

You may have poor vision in either eye and still be able to obtain a PA driver's license; however, you may be required to wear glasses or contact lenses, you may also be restricted to daylight driving or be required to operate vehicles equipped with side mirrors.

If your vision fails to meet Pennsylvania vision standards, the examiner will give you a Report of Eye Examination Form (DL-102).  You should have an optometrist, ophthalmologist or family physician test your vision and complete this form.  When the form is completed, you may return to the PA Driver License Center to continue testing.

 

KNOWLEDGE TEST

The Knowledge Test will measure your knowledge of traffic signs, Pennsylvania's driving laws and safe driving practices.  The Knowledge Test can be given in oral form and in Spanish, upon request, at all Driver License Centers across the commonwealth.  If you fail the Knowledge Test, you will be permitted to retake the test the following business day.  This test needs to be successfully completed before you can receive a valid learner's permit.

The Knowledge Test consists of 18 multiple choice questions.  You must answer 15 questions correctly to pass the test.  Possible driving situations are available on our Website (www.dmv.state.pa.us/centers/TeenDriversCenter.shtml) under the Teen Driver Information Center and the online version of this manual under the Teen Driver Information Center.

 

ROAD TEST

Appointments must be made to take the Non-Commercial Road Test.  When you are ready to take the Road Test, you may schedule your Road Test via the Driver and Vehicle Services Website at www.dmv.state.pa.us.  If you do not have access to the Internet, you can schedule your driver's test by calling 1-800-423-5542.

If you are under the age of 18, you must wait the mandatory six (6) months from your permit issue date and have a signed Parent or Guardian Certification Form (DL-180C) for the 65 hours of skill-building before making your road test appointment.

You will need to present the following items to the examiner prior to taking your Road Test:
(All items must be valid and for the vehicle you are using for your Road Test.)

  • Your valid Pennsylvania learner's permit.
  • The completed certificate for 65 hours of behind-the-wheel training, if you are under the age of 18.
  • The valid registration card for the vehicle you plan to drive for the Road Test.
  • Proof that the vehicle is currently insured.
  • The valid driver's license of the person, who is at least 21 years of age or a parent, guardian or spouse, who is at least 18 years of age, accompanying you to the Driver License Center.
    If you do not bring the original documents (not copies) listed above, you will not be given the test.

Before the test begins, a driver license examiner will check to see that your vehicle has a valid registration card, current insurance, valid state inspection sticker and, if required, a valid emissions sticker (as listed above).  The lights, horn, brakes, windshield wipers, turn signals, mirrors, doors, seats and tires on your vehicle will also be checked to make certain they operate properly and meet safety standards.  If it is determined any part of your vehicle is unsafe or does not meet state inspection requirements, you will not be allowed to take the Road Test.  If your vehicle is equipped with seat belts, make sure they are clean and ready for use.  You and the examiner will be required to wear seat belts during the Road Test.

If your vehicle passes this inspection, the examiner will test you to see if you can drive safely.

You will fail the Road Test if you drive dangerously, violate the law, cause a crash, do not follow the examiner's instructions or make too many driving errors.

The examiner may ask you to do the following prior to taking the Road Test:

 

·      Vehicle Controls:  Operate horn, lights (parking lights, high and low beam headlights, turn signals), windshield wipers, parking (emergency) brake, 4-way flashers (hazard lights), defroster, etc.  Failure to properly operate any of the vehicle controls will result in a failure of the Road Test.

 

·      Parallel Park:  Park your vehicle midway between two (2) uprights in a space that is 24 feet long and eight (8) feet wide.  Your entire vehicle must be completely inside the space, and you cannot make contact with any of the uprights to the rear or front of your vehicle, or go up onto or over the curb.  You have three (3) attempts to successfully park your vehicle.

 

Note:  Vehicles equipped with Advanced Parking Guidance Systems (self parking vehicles) can be used for testing; however, the self parking feature must be turned off and is not permitted to be activated during the Road Test.

 

The examiner will be your only passenger during the Road Test.  When the Road Test begins, you will be told where to drive and what maneuvers to make.  Close attention will be paid to the way you approach and obey warning signs, stop signs and traffic lights.  The examiner will note how you control your vehicle, use turn signals to communicate with other drivers or use any other vehicle controls that may become necessary during the test.

 

IF YOU PASS THE ROAD TEST, you will receive your 15-day temporary driver's license at that time.  You will receive your permanent driver's license in the mail within 15 days.  Acceptable forms of identification at the Photo License Centers are:

 

·      Pennsylvania Learner's Permit

·      Certification of United States Citizenship

·      Pennsylvania Photographic Identification Card

·      Photographic Military Identification Card

·      Pennsylvania Vehicle Registration Card

·      Photographic Bank Identification Card

·      Voter Registration Card

 

·      Valid Passport

·      Certification of Naturalization

·      Photographic Employee Identification Card

·      Weapons Permit (U.S. Citizen only)

·      Pennsylvania Photographic Welfare Card

·      Photographic School Identification Card

·      Medicaid Card

 

Upon successful completion of your Road Test, you will be issued a temporary driver's license, which is valid for 15 days.  The product can be used by any business to validate your name, age, address, etc., just as a permanent driver's license.  Your permanent driver's license will be mailed to you within the 15 days.  Upon the receipt of your permanent driver's license, you will need to destroy your temporary license.

 

 

YOU WILL FAIL THE ROAD TEST FOR:

(These are some examples of possible reasons for failing the Road Test)

·      Inability to operate any vehicle controls

·      Making errors in safe driving practices

·      Causing a crash

·      Violating any traffic laws

     (e.g., failing to obey a stop sign)

·      Failing to follow instructions given by the examiner

·      Not using turn signals

·      Driving dangerously or recklessly

 

 

 

If you are under the age of 18 and fail the Road Test, you will be required to wait seven (7) days before you can retake the Road Test.  This delay in retaking the test will give you time to practice and to improve your driving skills.  You have three (3) chances with each learner's permit to pass the Road Test before the expiration date of the learner's permit.  After the third failure, you must reapply to extend your learner's permit.

 

If you do not pass your Road Test after three (3) tries or if your learner's permit expires, you may obtain an Application to Add/Extend/Replace/Change/Correct Non-Commercial Learner's Permit (DL-31).  If you have not taken or successfully completed the Road Test within three (3) years of your physical examination date, you must start over with another Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application (DL-180) and retake the Knowledge Test.