1. Travel

How to Obtain a Pennsylvania Drivers License

By

Pennsylvania Driver's License

Sample Pennsylvania Driver's License

© Pennsylvania Driver and Vehicle Services
Learn how to get a new Pennsylvania driver's license, replace your out-of-state license, or renew your Pennsylvania driver's license.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: varies

Here's How:

  1. You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a Pennsylvania Driver’s License or Learner’s Permit.

  2. To apply for a Pennsylvania driver's license, you must appear in person at a Pennsylvania Driver License Center, provide required identification, complete the provided forms, take a vision screening test, and provide a check or money order made payable to PennDOT for the correct amount.

  3. FIRST DRIVER'S LICENSE: If this is your first driver's license or your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for more than six months, you will need to first apply for a Pennsylvania Learner's Permit which requires a written test to measure your knowledge of traffic signs, Pennsylvania driving laws, and safe driving practices.

  4. To apply for a Learner's Permit and take your Knowledge Test, you will need to bring the following items to a Pennsylvania Drivers License Center: 1) Proof of date of birth and identification (these documents must be originals) and 2) Your social security card or acceptable proof of your social security number.

  5. Once you receive a valid Learner's Permit, you will than need to take and pass a driving skills test to receive your Pennsylvania Driver's License. If you are under the age of 18, you must wait a mandatory 6 months from your permit issue date and have a signed Certificate of Completion for the 50 hours of skill-building before taking your road test.

  6. NEW PA RESIDENTS: New residents holding a valid driver's license from another state must obtain a PA driver's license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence in Pennsylvania. You will need to bring your valid or recently expired (six months or less) driver's license from your prior state with you to the testing center, along with your Social Security Card, additional identification and proof of residency. Please see Identification and Residency Requirements for U.S. Citizens.

  7. There is no knowledge or driving test required to change a valid out of state driver's license to a Pennsylvania driver's license, but you will need to pass a visual screening test. When you are issued a Pennsylvania Driver's License, the driver's license from your prior state must be surrendered to the examiner at the Driver's License Center.

  8. If your out-of-state driver's license has expired more than six months ago, you will be required to apply for a Pennsylvania Learners Permit and complete all testing prior to receiving your Pennsylvania Driver's License.

  9. DRIVER'S LICENSE RENEWALS: If you wish to renew your valid Pennsylvania driver's license, you can submit your renewal application online, by mail, at a messenger service office, or any Pennsylvania Driver and Vehicle Service Center location. Upon receipt of your renewal application, a camera card will be mailed to you within ten days. To receive a new photo license, take the camera card and another type of identification to a Driver License and Photo License Center.

Tips:

  1. IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizens need to bring a Social Security Card and one of the following: US birth certificate (including US territories or Puerto Rico) with raised seal, certificate of US citizenship or naturalization, PA Photo ID card, PA Photo Driver's License, valid US Passport, or a valid US Military Photo ID card. If the name on your original document differs from your current name, you must provide an original marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order document.

  2. PROOF OF RESIDENCY: To meet residency requirements, you must present two of the following: current utility bills (bills for cellular or pager service are not acceptable), tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, W-2 form, or current weapons permit.

  3. The Pennsylvania Driver's Manual is available online, as well as at Pennsylvania Driver License Centers, most messenger service centers, notaries, and auto clubs.

  4. Pennsylvania honors a valid foreign driver's license with an international driving permit for a period of up to one year. If the foreign license and/or international driving permit expires before one year, the individual must apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit to continue driving in Pennsylvania.

  5. Only individuals with a social security number or an ITIN number can apply for a driver's license. Therefore, spouses on F-2 or J-2 visas (without work permission) must first obtain an ITIN number before they apply for a driver's license.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.