Pennsylvania Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your PA License
  • Preparing for the PA Permit Test
  • Taking the PA Permit Test?
  • Preparing for the PA Driving Test
  • Taking the PA Driving Test
  • Renewing Your PA License
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Applying for Your PA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Pennsylvania has created a Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDL) to reduce teen accidents and ensure first-time drivers gain the skills necessary to drive safely with full driver’s license privileges. Ages and stages of the program are:

  • 16 years old – Junior Learner’s Permit
  • At least 6 months later – Junior Driver’s License
  • 17 ½ with driver’s ed completion – Senior Driver’s License
  • 18 without driver’s ed completion – Senior Driver’s License

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Pennsylvania?

  • Proof of identity – here are acceptable documents
  • Social Security Card
  • Form DL-180 (Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application) completed by a medical professional
  • Form DL-180TD (Parent or Guardian Consent Form)
  • $35.50 for fee

Where do I file my PA driver’s license application?

You should file your application at a local PennDOT Driver License Center.

How can I contact my local office?

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Completing a driver’s ed course in Pennsylvania will make you eligible to receive your Senior Driver’s License at 17 ½ years old. If you do not take driver’s ed, you will have to wait until you are 18 to get your senior license.

What if I am new to Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania requires new residents to transfer an out-of-state license to a Pennsylvania license within 60 days. You will need to visit a PennDOT Driver License Center with proper identification. You will also need to pay a $30.50 fee and pass a vision test.

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Preparing for the PA Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The Pennsylvania written test contains questions on signs, laws, driving rules and safe practices. All questions are drawn from the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual. Here are two examples of manual content that you could be tested on:

  • You can tell which side of the highway you will be required to exit from by locating the small green exit number sign at the top of the larger green rectangular sign. If it’s on the right side you be exiting on the right and if it’s on the left you’ll be exiting on the left.
  • Eating, drinking and smoking are all dangerous distractions when driving because they often require you to take your hands off the wheel and your eyes of the road.

How is the test formatted?

The Pennsylvania written test is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, the written knowledge test is designed only to test your knowledge of Pennsylvania driving laws and safe driving practices, not to trick you into giving a wrong answer. Study the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual thoroughly and you shouldn’t find any of the questions to be “tricky.”

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 18 questions on the test and you must answer at least 15 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

Study the Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual as much as possible. This means reading it as well as going through it and quizzing yourself about the information it contains. There is even a road sign quiz in the guide, so be sure to take that. Another way to gauge your knowledge is to take practice tests online. These tests can help you identify areas that you need to study more.

Where can I get a free Pennsylvania Driver’s Manual to study?

We offer free copies of the PA Driver’s Manual.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

Pay particular attention to measurements, distances and lengths and try to memorize them whenever possible. Also, be sure to get familiar with state drug and alcohol rules and effects as these are often tested for on the exam. One way to get an idea of what type of questions you will asked to answer is to take an online practice test.

What should I do the night before the test?

Try to stay calm and relaxed so that you are able to sleep well. You don’t want to have to take the test feeling groggy and stressed out. To calm your nerves, you can review the manual again and take a practice test to build your confidence.

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Taking the PA Permit Test?: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local Driver License Center to see if appointments are accepted and, if they are, it is recommended that you make one.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local Driver License Center.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Proof of identity – here are acceptable documents
  • Social Security Card
  • Form DL-180 (Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application) completed by a medical professional
  • Form DL-180TD (Parent or Guardian Consent Form)
  • $35.50 for fee

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a fee of $35.50.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test will consist of 18 questions covering traffic laws and safe driving practices. You can only miss up to three questions and still pass. You cannot refer to notes or the driver’s manual test itself when taking the exam. Here is a practice test formatted like the real thing so you can get more familiar with the experience of sitting for the test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Junior Learner’s Permit and can begin supervised driving practice. You must complete 65 total hours of driving practice with 10 of those hours at night and five of those hours in bad weather.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test.

How soon can I retake the written test?

You will be allowed to retake the test as soon as the next business day.

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Preparing for the PA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

When you receive your Learner’s Permit you can begin supervised driving practice. In all, you must drive 65 practice hours with at least 10 of those hours at night and at least 5 of those hours in bad weather. Your supervising driver must be at least 21 years of age, a parent, a guardian or a spouse who is at least 18.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You can apply for your Junior Driver’s License when you’ve had your Learner’s Permit for at least six months and have completed the 65 hour supervised driving practice requirement.

Can I drive anywhere in Pennsylvania with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, as long as you are accompanied by a qualified supervising driver you can drive on any Pennsylvania public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you are required to complete at least 10 of your 65 supervised driving practice hours at night. In addition, you are required to complete five hours of driving practice in bad weather.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

You must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over, a parent or guardian, or a spouse who is 18 or older.

What should I do if I have a lost Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit?

If you lose your learner’s permit, you can apply for a replacement either in person at a Driver License Center or by mail

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

You should practice both common vehicle maneuvers, like parking, turning, stopping and starting, as well as driving in traffic. When driving in traffic you will need to obey traffic signs and respond appropriately to surrounding vehicles and pedestrians.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

You should practice parallel parking; turns, including a three-point turnabout; quick stops; changing lanes; backing; and more.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Practice common maneuvers like parking, stopping, turning and backing in an empty parking lot or on a seldom used road. Then also practice driving in traffic on busy roads and streets. When driving in traffic, focus on obeying traffic signs, not following too closely, signaling and other defensive driving skills.

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Taking the PA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Visit the PennDOT website to schedule your appointment online.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local Driver License Center.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Form DL-180C (Parent or Guardian Certification Form)
  • A well-maintained vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

The examiner will be paying close attention to all of the following: how you approach and obey warning signs, stop signs and traffic lights; how you control your vehicle; how you use your signals; and more.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Common reasons for failure include inability to operate vehicle controls; violating traffic laws; driving dangerously; making errors in safe driving practices; failing to follow instructions; causing a crash; and not using turn signals.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Not signaling when turning
  • Failing to back up in a straight line
  • Speeding
  • Not parallel parking properly
  • Following vehicles in front of you too closely

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You can retake the test in seven days. You should use that time to practice and improve your driving skills.

How many times can I take the test?

You can take the test three times with a Learner’s Permit. If you fail all three attempts you will need to reapply to extend your permit.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Junior Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a Pennsylvania license?

Junior Driver’s License restrictions include:

  • Cannot drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a supervising driver or you are traveling to/from work or a volunteer service
  • During first six months, you can only have one passenger under 18 unless they are immediate family members or you are accompanied by a supervising driver
  • After six months, you can only have up to 3 passengers under 18 unless they are immediate family members or you are accompanied by a supervising driver

A Junior Driver’s License automatically becomes a senior license when you turn 18. If you pass driver’s ed, have no traffic violations or accidents, have parental approval and have held your junior license for one year, you can get a senior license at age 17 ½.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in PA?

Pennsylvania is a “no-fault” state, which means a driver in an accident will turn to his or her own insurance policy to get compensation for injuries. Pennsylvania’s minimum insurance requirements are:

  • $15,000 (per person) personal injury protection for third parties
  • $30,000 total per accident personal injury protection for third parties
  • $5,000 per accident property damage protection
  • $5,000 in no-fault PIP coverage
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Renewing Your PA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

You will need to renew your Pennsylvania Driver’s License every four years of possibly every two years if you are over 65. The state DOT will mail a renewal notice approximately three months prior to the expiration date.

If your license is lost or stolen, you can apply for a replacement either in person at a Driver License Center, by mail or by online messenger service. You will need to pay a replacement fee of $28.50.

Where can I renew my Pennsylvania driver’s license?

You can renew your PA Driver’s License online or in person at a Driver License Center.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

No, a vision test is not required. The DOT’s vision standards indicate that a person with visual acuity of 20/40 or better combined vision may drive without corrective lenses. If you believe your vision has worsened, you may want to make an appointment with an optometrist to ensure you don’t put yourself or other drivers at risk.


The Pennsylvania DOT Permit Test — What You Need to Know

Getting your learner’s permit is an important moment in one’s life.  It symbolizes a new level of freedom and independence.  But before you can explore Pennsylvania’s roads and highways you will need to pass the state permit test.

It’s important to know that Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (DOT) requires you to pass a written test before you are issued a learner’s permit. More commonly known as the Pennsylvania permit test, this test will determine if you have the knowledge to be a safe and courteous driver.  The multiple-choice test contains questions on the rules of the road, Pennsylvania traffic laws, and various road signs.

Pass Your Permit Test With PA DOT Practice Tests

It seems that some people expect to pass the written test simply by showing up to the testing office. How about you? Are you OK with returning to the testing office only to be faced with paying a retest fee, taking the exam all over again? I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.  With statistics revealing that the majority of people fail the exam, it’s essential that you prepare first.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a series of valuable study material.

You’ll find our sample interactive Pennsylvania practice permit test provides a great way to begin practicing and getting valuable feedback. The official Pennsylvania Drivers Handbook is also a great tool to help you prepare for the exam.  Need to get your motorcycle permit?  We have resources to help you with that exam as well.

Regardless of what test you are preparing for, you’ll find the tools needed to begin preparing here.