How to Get Your Learner’s Permit

Applying for a learner’s permit is a huge step toward adulthood, allowing you to get some real behind the wheel practice with a licensed driver.  While getting your learner’s permit involves a few steps, the process doesn’t have to be difficult.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps required to get your learner’s permit.  Let’s go!.

Enroll in Drivers Education

Before you apply for the permit, most states require that you complete a driver’s education course. These courses are sometimes offered through your school, or you may be able to pay for a private driving instructor. If you or your parents can afford it, hiring a private instructor is often the best option as it allows you to receive one-on-one attention.

Study the Handbook and Take Practice Tests

Once you have studied the DMV handbook and successfully passed a driver’s education course, you should consider taking a few practice tests. The information in the DMV handbook can often be overwhelming, and a great deal of it won’t even be on the test. Practice tests can help by giving you an idea of the subjects you will likely face on the day of the exam. Taking multiple practice tests have been proven to improve scores, so it’s essential to put in the time here.

Schedule Time to Take the Test

When you feel that you’re ready, it’s time to make your first attempt. You won’t need to schedule an appointment to take the written test, but you may want to in the interest of saving time. If you choose to go without an appointment, go earlier in the day. The DMV does not allow you to take the permit test anytime after 4:30 p.m.

Before you leave for the DMV, be sure to check that you have everything you need


One of Your Parents or a Legal Guardian

You will need a parent or legal guardian in order to take the permit test as a signature is required on your driver’s license application form.

Certificate From an Accredited Drivers Education Course

If you received any sort of certificate of completion from your driver’s education course, bring that along with you when you go to take the permit test.


Bring your social security card and birth certificate. The birth certificate must be a certified version with your state seal embossed upon it. If you don’t have these documents handy, visit the Social Security Administration and the CDC website to get copies.

Money to Pay Your Application Fees

The DMV doesn’t usually take personal checks or debit cards, so keep that in mind when you prepare to make your payment. If you aren’t sure what form of payment your local DMV will accept, give them a call ahead of time.

Not everyone passes their permit test on the first try, so don’t be disappointed if you fail. Some people need more studying time than others, and the nervousness that comes with taking any test can cause you to choke and forget the answers. Most states will allow you to retake the test, although some have a seven-day waiting period between tries. Depending on the laws in your state, you may have to pay the application fee again. No matter what your individual circumstances, try to keep a positive attitude. Getting your license can be a pain, but once you learn how to drive, you will have the skill for the rest of your life.

Learners Permit Restrictions

teen driver learners permitYou already know that a learner’s permit allows you to practice driving with a licensed driver present. This precious time helps new drivers gain valuable experience while still having adult supervision, something that benefits everyone on the road. However, during the time you have your learner’s permit, you may encounter circumstances that leave you unsure about the legality of your driving. For example, what happens if you are invited on an out-of-state road trip?

A road trip is a great way to practice driving. It helps you gain experience on the highways and become comfortable getting gas, putting air in the tires, and performing other basic on-road maintenance. Unfortunately, depending on the state that issued your permit and where you plan on going, you may be restricted from driving beyond state lines.

Learners Permit Age Requirements

Learners permit age requirements by state.  This is the minimum age to drive.

State Learner’s Permit Restricted License Full License
Alabama 15 16 17
Alaska 14 16 16, 6 months.
Arizona 15, 6 months. 16 16, 6 months.
Arkansas 14 16 16, 6 months.
California 15, 6 months. 16 17
Colorado 15 16 17
Connecticut 16 16, 4 months. 18
Delaware 16 16, 6 months. 17
District of Columbia 16 16, 6 months. 18
Florida 15 16 18
Georgia 15 16 18
Hawaii 15, 6 months. 16 17
Idaho 14, 6 months. 15 16
Illinois 15 16 18
Indiana 15. 16, 6 months. 18
Iowa 14 16 17
Kansas 14 16 16, 6 months.
Kentucky 16 16, 6 months. 17
Louisiana 15 16 17
Maine 15 16 16, 6 months.
Maryland 15, 9 months. 16, 6 months. 18
Massachusetts 16 16, 6 months. 18
Michigan 14, 9 months. 16 17
Minnesota 15 16 16, 6 months.
Mississippi 15 16 16, 6 months.
Missouri 15 16 18
Montana 14, 6 months. 15 16
Nebraska 15 16 17
Nevada 15, 6 months. 16 18
New Hampshire 15, 6 months. 16 17, 1 mo.
New Jersey 16 17 18
New Mexico 15 15, 6 months. 16, 6 months.
New York 16 16, 6 months. 17 w/classes or 18
North Carolina 15 16 16, 6 months.
North Dakota 14 15 16
Ohio 15, 6 months. 16 18
Oklahoma 15, 6 months. 16 16, 6 months.
Oregon 15 16 17
Pennsylvania 16 16, 6 months. 17 with classes or 18
Rhode Island 16 16, 6 months. 17, 6 months.
South Carolina 15 15, 6 months. 16, 6 months.
South Dakota 14 14, 6 months. 16
Tennessee 15 16 17
Texas 15 16 18
Utah 15 16 17
Vermont 15 16 16, 6 months.
Virginia 15, 6 months. 16, 3 months. 18
Washington 15 16 17
West Virginia 15 16 17
Wisconsin 15, 6 months. 16 16, 9 months.
Wyoming 15 16 16, 6 months.

Penalties for Driving Without a Permit

The law varies by state, but in general, getting caught driving without a valid permit will result in a number of fines. These fines can range from $100 to $2,000, but most states charge around $200 for this offense. Getting caught could also potentially delay your ability to apply for your actual license, and unless the car belongs to another licensed driver who is present, it will likely be towed and impounded, resulting in even more fees.

Driving Out of State With a Permit

Some states will allow you to drive out of state with a learner’s permit. If you live in Nevada, you are legally allowed to drive out of state at any age as long as you have a licensed driver with you. In New York, you can drive out of state once you reach the age of 16. In Oregon, you only need to be 15. However, the law also matters in the state you’re driving in, not only the state that issued you the permit. Therefore, if you have a Nevada permit and are pulled over in Massachusetts, you will be in trouble even though you are not breaking any Nevada laws. It is possible to legally drive out of state with a learner’s permit, but you need to check on the state you’ll be traveling to as well as the state you’re from.

How to Plan For a Safe and Legal Trip

There may be circumstances in which you feel you absolutely must drive out of state with your learner’s permit, and in such a case, it’s best to do your research ahead of time. List each of the states you will be driving through during your trip, and look up DMV information regarding permit limitations for each state. Some states may allow you to drive, and others may not. Having this information will help you plan to have a licensed driver take over the wheel during your time in states that won’t allow you to drive.

If possible, you should simply wait to drive out of state until you have a valid driver’s license. Unlike a learner’s permit, a driver’s license will be recognized nationally, and you will be legally able to drive wherever you please. Your time carrying a learner’s permit will be relatively short compared to the span of your entire life, so if you can, be patient. Learning to drive takes a lot of practice and the more of that practice you can do in your local area, the better.

How to Replace and Renew Your Learner’s Permit

Driving without a license could upset your future in a major way. If you are caught, both you and your parents will face a number of fines, including a fine for the offense itself, court fees, the price for towing the car to the impound yard, and the cost to release it back into your parent’s possession. Depending on the circumstances, your parents could also be in trouble for allowing an unlicensed minor to operate a vehicle.

The cost of the ticket for driving without a license will depend on the state you live in, but in general, it will run you anywhere from $200 to $2000. It could also delay or prevent you from getting your driver’s license in the future. Teenagers who are caught driving without a permit could spend up to six months in a juvenile corrections facility or be put on probation and forced to do community service. Pretty scary, isn’t it?

Replacing a Lost Permit

What if you have your permit, but it isn’t in the car? What if it was lost or became damaged somehow? Unfortunately, passing the test and receiving the permit doesn’t mean that you can legally drive without it present. Just like you need to carry your driver’s license with you in order to legally drive, you need to have a physical copy of the permit. Therefore, if you lost or damaged your learner’s permit, then you need to have it replaced so that you can drive.

You should be eligible for a new permit as long as it wasn’t about to expire before you lost it. The DMV will not replace suspended, revoked or expired learner’s permits. You also may have a difficult time getting a replacement if you owe any money for tickets or citations, which, hopefully, you do not. Depending on your state, you may be able to order a new permit online. If your state doesn’t allow for this, you will have to go to the DMV in person.

When you go to replace your permit, bring the following items with you.

1. Two different documents that show your age and identity, such as a certified birth certificate, passport, social security card, state identification card, school identification card, or military identification card.

2. Cash, a personal check or money order for the permit fees, which can vary depending on your state.

When you get your new permit, take care not to allow the same mistake to happen again. Keeping track of paperwork and identification materials is an important part of becoming a responsible adult.

Final Thoughts

If you want to drive, it’s important that you go through the proper steps to be able to do so legally. Depending on the laws within your state, you should qualify for a learner’s permit anywhere between ages 15 and 16. Remember a learner’s permit is designed to help you safely get more time behind the wheel before you get your driver’s license.