tennesee-road-signAre you ready to apply for your Texas driver’s license but you aren’t sure where to begin? If you feel overwhelmed and confused over the process of getting your license, you’re in luck. This easy-to-follow guide will help you become familiar with all the requirements along the way, from preparing for the permit test to applying for your full license.

The state of Texas requires that all teen drivers complete a Graduated Driver’s License Program (GDL), a multi-stage process that keeps young drivers under supervision while they learn important driving skills. GDL programs have been shown to reduce traffic accidents caused by inexperienced drivers.

The Texas GDL program includes three unique stages:

  • Learner License
  • Provisional License
  • Full License

This guide will teach you how to prepare for the Texas permit test and eventually go on to earn unrestricted driving privileges.

Learner’s License

When you are 15 years old and enrolled in driver’s education, you can apply for your Learner License(or learner’s permit) in Texas. Your education requirement can be completed at a state-approved driving school, a public school, or, if you choose, you can have your parents teach you at home.

Before you can apply for your permit, you will need to pass a written knowledge test (or permit test), which will check your knowledge of the rules of the road. Certain driver’s education courses will give you a similar test as a part of their program, and if they do, you will not be required to take it again. If your course doesn’t offer this, you will need to take the test when you apply.

Study for The Test

To do well on your first try, you will need to devote plenty of time to study prior to taking the test. We offer a free copy of the Texas Driver’s Handbook for you to use, or you can request a physical copy by visiting the offices of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS).

Take Advantage of Practice Exams

Thanks to the Internet, you have access to a valuable resource that those in past generations did not: practice tests. Our Texas practice permit test includes a lot of the same subject matter you will see on the real test, and taking it will greatly increase your chances of doing well.

Visit the TxDPS offices and Take Your Tests

When you feel your studies have prepared you and you have driver’s education squared away, visit the TxDPS offices, bringing along:

  • Your certified birth certificate, U.S. passport or other acceptable proof of identity.
  • Your Social Security card.
  • Two proofs of Texas residency (utility bill, credit-card bill or other statement).
  • Form DE-964, which shows that you completed driver’s education, or the Driver Education Affidavit (Form DL-90A) and Classroom Instruction Log (Form DL-91A), which are required if you had your parents teach you instead.
  • A completed Verification of Enrollment and Attendance to show that you are in school (a requirement for teens to drive in Texas).
  • A completed Application for Texas Driver’s License (Form DL-14A) with your parent or guardian’s signature.
  • $16 in fees.
  • Your parent or guardian.

At this point, you will take the permit test if you haven’t already done so as a part of driver’s education. Try to stay calm and do your best. You’ve studied hard, and now is your time to shine! After you pass, you will also be given a vision test to make sure you can see well enough to drive.

Start Practicing

While holding your Learner License, you will be required to complete at least 30 hours of practice driving with 10 of those hours taking place at night. While you do this practice, a licensed driver age 21 or over must be sitting in the passenger seat next to you. Be nice to your parents: You need them to supervise you!

Provisional License

When you have had your permit for at least six months and have completed all of your practice driving, you are ready to take the behind-the-wheel road test and get your Provisional License.

Visit the TxDPS Offices to Take Your Road Test, bringing along:

  • Your parent or guardian.
  • Another form certifying your enrollment and attendance in school (you can’t use the same one again).
  • Your forms to show that you completed driver’s education and your practice-driving requirements.
  • $16 in fees.
  • A registered and insured vehicle to use for the exam.

Try to relax and do your best on the behind-the-wheel test, which will simply check how well you maintain control of your vehicle and observe traffic law. As long as you have been practicing hard, you are sure to do well.

When you pass your test, you will be given your Provisional License, which comes with a few limitations. Unless you are supervised by a licensed parent or guardian, you may not:

  • Drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless traveling to and from work.
  • Transport more than one person under the age of 21 who isn’t a member of your immediate family.

Driver’s License

When you have held your Provisional License for a full year, the restrictions will be removed. Congratulations! You are now a fully licensed driver.

Additional Information

Texas has a zero-tolerance law that prohibits underage drinking. If you are caught with any amount of alcohol in your system, you will be at risk for losing your license. Think carefully about your choices!

Teens are not allowed to use electronic devices (even hands free) while driving.

If you choose to have your parents teach you driver’s education, you will need to contact the TxDPS purchase a Parent-Taught Driver Education Packet, which costs $20.