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How to Get Your Pennsylvania Driver's License

In Pennsylvania, the sweetest part of turning 16 may be that you're old enough to get in the driver's seat. Getting your Pennsylvania driver's license is a big accomplishment, but it doesn't have to be a big hassle. Follow these steps if you're ready to get behind the wheel.

Step One: Get Your Permit

In Pennsylvania, you must be 16 in to get your learner's permit. Before you visit your local DMV to get your permit, be sure to study the state's driver handbook. It's full of information that will be covered on your written knowledge exam. You'll also need to have your doctor complete a form authorizing that you're healthy enough to drive.

At the DMV, you'll need to submit the form from your doctor, as well as:

  • A completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form
  • Proof of your identity
  • Your social security card
  • Two proofs of your Pennsylvania residence
  • A check to pay your permit fee (the DMV doesn't take cash)

After a DMV employee has made sure that you have all the necessary paperwork, you'll take your eye exam and written knowledge test. The DMV offers practice test questions online to help you prepare.

Step Two: Practice Behind the Wheel

Before you can get your Pennsylvania driver's license, you'll need to get in plenty of driving practice. While formal driver's education isn't required in order to get your junior driver's license in Pennsylvania, it's still a good idea to enroll in a course. Professional drivers ed programs, like the one offered by DriverdEd.com, will help prepare you for a lifetime of safe driving.

You'll need to log at least 65 practice hours behind the wheel, including at least 10 hours at night and five hours during inclement weather, before you can apply for your Pennsylvania driver's license. Make sure you're only practicing with a licensed driver who is 21 or older. Violating permit restrictions can delay you from getting your license.

Step Three: Get Your Junior Driver's License

After you've had your permit for at least six months, you can apply for a junior driver's license, which allows you to drive unsupervised. To apply, you'll need to schedule a driving test at the DMV.

When you visit the DMV, you'll need to bring:

  • Your permit
  • A completed Parent or Guardian Consent Form
  • The license of the driver who supervised your behind-the-wheel practice
  • Proof of insurance and registration for your vehicle

Once your paperwork is approved and you've passed the driving test, you'll receive your first Pennsylvania driver's license. Be sure to follow all the junior license restrictions:

  • You can only drive unsupervised between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. unless you're coming or going from work or volunteer service.
  • During the first six months, you can only carry one passenger who is under 18, excluding immediate family.
  • After six months, you can carry up to three passengers who are under 18.
  • Passengers must always be wearing seat belts.

Step Four: Get Your Senior License

If you maintain a clean driving record with your junior license, you'll soon be on your way to getting your unrestricted Pennsylvania driver's license. There are two ways to get your senior license.

  • If you've taken state-approved drivers ed, you can apply for your senior license when you're 17 and a half.
  • If you haven't take drivers ed, your junior license will automatically become a senior license when you turn 18.

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