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Learner's Permit

Learner's Permit at the DMV

Learner's Permit

Teenagers who want to get their first driver's license must go through their state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a similar service. Teen drivers have to follow different rules in each state.

No matter if your state has a graduated driver's license (GDL) scheme or not, you'll probably need to:

  • Complete a Driver's Ed course: You'll learn the rules of the road, basic driving techniques, and safe driving habits through classroom instruction, online courses, or behind-the-wheel practice. This education will give you a solid foundation to become a responsible driver.
  • Apply for a learner's permit: After completing your Driver's Ed course, you'll need to apply for a learner's permit. This involves taking a written test, proving your identity, and paying a fee. With a learner's permit, you can practice driving under the supervision of a licensed adult, usually a parent or guardian.
  • Get a provisional license: Once you've gained enough driving experience and met any other requirements (such as holding your permit for a specific period), you can apply for a provisional license. This may involve taking a road test to demonstrate your driving skills. A provisional license allows you to drive with some restrictions, like limits on the number of passengers or nighttime driving.
  • Upgrade to an unrestricted driver's license: After you've successfully followed your state's rules and restrictions with a provisional license, you'll become eligible to upgrade to an unrestricted driver's license. You may need to pass a final road test or simply apply for an upgrade, depending on your state's regulations.

Each step teaches you the skills and information you need to pass the written and driving tests at the DMV and get your full driver's license.

Due to the high number of accidents and deaths involving teens, many states have put in place GDL programs and rules. The goal of these programs is to help new teen drivers get more practice, learn safe driving habits, and stay focused while on the road.

On the page for your state, you'll find information about its teen driving rules and the papers, forms, and fees you'll need to get your learner's permit, provisional license, and full driver's license.

Select your State

To obtain information on how to apply for a learner's permit at the DMV.

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