Getting a Pennsylvania driver’s license can seem a little overwhelming. On top of the DMV paperwork, you have to provide multiple forms of identification and multiple forms of proof of residence. And then there’s the Pennsylvania driver’s license test to prepare for!
Knowing what documents and steps are required is critical in helping you understand how to get a Pennsylvania driver’s license. Here’s everything you need to get your driver’s license in Pennsylvania.
Everything You Need to Get Your Driver's License in Pennsylvania
Everyone applying for a driver’s license in Pennsylvania will need to provide certain documents and meet the requirements listed below.
1. A Completed Application
Form DL-180 is used for new drivers 18 or older, form DL-180TD is for drivers under 18, and form DL-180R is for new Pennsylvania residents transferring an active license from another state.
2. A Medical Exam
The state needs to know if there are medical issues that could prevent you from driving safely (such as neurological disorders or cognitive impairment). Forms DL-180 and DL-180TD require a signature from a medical professional after completing a medical exam.
3. Proof of Identity
U.S. citizens are required to show two documents to prove their identity. The first must be your original Social Security card. The second could be a birth certificate, U.S. passport, Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, or Certificate of Naturalization.
Non-U.S. citizens must provide three documents:
Original USCIS/immigration documents indicating current lawful immigration status
A valid passport
A Social Security card or SSA ineligibility letter
Drivers with active out-of-state licenses will also need to bring in that license if they wish to exchange it for a new Pennsylvania license.
4. Two Documents as Proof of Residency
Acceptable proof of residency documents include:
A W-2 form
A current weapons permit
Current utility bills
Your documents must all show the same name. So if you had a name change at some point, additional documents (like a marriage certificate or divorce decree) would be needed to confirm your identity. It’s also important to note that all documents must be originals. Copies won’t be accepted.
There are fees for getting a learner’s permit and a driver’s license. All driver’s license centers in Pennsylvania now accept credit card payments.
6. A Passing Eye Exam Score
Your eye exam will be completed at your local driver’s license center when you submit your paperwork for a new license.
7. A Passing Score on the Written Knowledge Test
The first part of the Pennsylvania driver’s license test is a written test on the rules of the road. New drivers cannot get a learner’s permit until they pass this exam, so it’s important to be prepared. An online driver’s ed course is a valuable tool to help you pass this test and get you ready to start driving safely.
"Driver’s ed isn’t officially required in Pennsylvania, but it can be a good way for new drivers to learn how to drive safely, and it helps them learn the information [needed to pass] the exam," said Haleigh, a representative from PennDOT.
Drivers with active out-of-state licenses (or licenses that expired within the last six months) are exempt from having to take the written test.
8. 65 Hours of Driving Practice (if You’re Under 18)
New drivers under the age of 18 need to complete 65 hours of driving practice, under the supervision of a licensed adult driver, over a period of at least six months. These 65 hours must include at least 10 hours of nighttime driving and at least 5 hours of driving in bad weather.
9. A Passing Score on the Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test
The final portion of the Pennsylvania driver’s license test is the behind-the-wheel driving test. You can schedule your driving test online. The state of Pennsylvania has also authorized a few third-party businesses to administer the driving test.
As with the written test, drivers with active out-of-state licenses (or licenses that expired within the last six months) are exempt from having to take the driving test.
Now that you know how to get a driver’s license in Pennsylvania, it’s time to take the first step toward your new license! Start by downloading the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual and enrolling in a Pennsylvania driver’s ed course today.