Pennsylvania DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re preparing to apply for your Pennsylvania state driver’s license, then it only stands to reason that you’d want everything to go smoothly. That said, you’ll need to pick up a copy of Pennsylvania driver’s handbook at your earliest convenience and study it from cover to cover, as it contains all of the material that will be covered by your written knowledge test. However, the following FAQ may help you anticipate what to expect from the application process at large.
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How old do I need to be in order to qualify for my Pennsylvania driver’s privileges?
The ages at which you’re eligible to apply for your driver’s license vary from state to state. However, in Pennsylvania, you need to be 16 years of age before you can apply for your permit.
What documents do I need to bring with me when I arrive at the DMV to apply for my license?
When you arrive to apply for your license, make sure that you have all of the following with you.
  • A completed medical qualification certificate (Form DL 180)
  • A completed and signed parental permission form (Form DL 180TD) if you are under the age of 18.
  • Government-recognized proof of your identity. Acceptable options include a birth certificate, a US citizenship certificate, a US passport, or a certificate of naturalization.
  • If you are 18 years of age or older, you’ll need two proofs of residency in Pennsylvania. Acceptable documents include utility bills, lease agreements, W2 tax forms, mortgage documents, or weapons permits.
  • Your social security card.
  • Payment for the state’s $34.50 licensing fee (must be a check or money order)
Will I need to get a physical in order to qualify for a Pennsylvania driver’s license?
Yes. In Pennsylvania, a physical exam is part of the process of applying for your driver’s license. Pick up a copy of Form DL-180 (the DMV’s medical qualification certificate) and make an appointment with a certified physician or nurse practitioner for a physical. Have the medical professional fill out and sign the form so that you can bring it with you to the DMV when you apply for your license.
How about a vision test? Will I need to pass one of those to get my license?
Yes. Pennsylvania also requires you to take and pass a vision exam to make sure you’re safe to drive before you’ll be granted driver’s privileges. You will be required to take your vision test on the same day you arrive to apply for your license, so you’ll want to make sure you bring any prescription eyewear you’re required to wear.
Once I have my learner’s permit, what’s next? What requirements do I need to fulfill in order to qualify for my permanent driver’s license?
Once you have your Pennsylvania learner’s permit, you’re ready to start logging your supervised driving practice hours. However, there are only set guidelines on how many hours you need to complete if you are under the age of 18. Those under 18 must log a total of 65 hours of behind-the-wheel supervised training. They are also required to have held their learner’s permit for a minimum of 6 months before they can schedule a road test. However, if you are 18 years of age or older, it is up to you to decide when you’re ready to take your road test.
I’ll be moving to Pennsylvania soon. How long do I have to transfer my out-of-state license and what is the protocol for doing so?
You are required by state law to obtain your Pennsylvania driver’s license within 60 days of becoming an official resident. In order to apply, you must visit a Pennsylvania DMV field office and do all of the following.
  • Fill out and submit an application.
  • Successfully pass a vision test.
  • Surrender your out-of-state license to the DMV (whether valid or expired).
  • Pay the applicable state licensing fee.
  • Prove your social security number by showing your social security card.
  • Show additional proof of your identity by showing a certified copy of your birth certificate, a valid United States passport, or a certificate of United States citizenship.
  • Show two items that prove your residency in Pennsylvania (a current utility bill, a W-2 tax form, a lease agreement, or a mortgage document are popular examples).
How much does it cost to get my Pennsylvania driver’s license and how long is my license valid for?
Pennsylvania driver’s licensing fees and validity periods are age related. If you are under 65 years of age, your license is good for 4 years at a time and costs $29.50. If you are 65 years of age or older, your license is valid for 2 years at a time and costs $19.
I’m new to Pennsylvania and have an out-of-state driver’s license, but it’s expired. Will I be required to retake my driver’s test?
It depends on how long your license has been expired. If it’s been expired for less than six months, you won’t be required to retest and can follow the same protocol detailed above for those transferring their driver’s privileges. However, if your license has been expired for six months or longer, you will be required to restart the process of obtaining your driver’s privileges beginning with application for your learner’s permit.
I’ve had my learner’s permit for a while and I’m ready to take my road test. Do I need to make an appointment or can I just walk in and take it?
The Pennsylvania DMV does not accept walk-ins when it comes to your road test. You must first make an appointment. Of course, you may do this in person if you like, but most people prefer to schedule their test over the phone. Alternatively, you can visit the Pennsylvania DMV’s website and make arrangements there. When you arrive for your appointment, make sure you bring:
  • Your learner’s permit.
  • Your accompanying driver (along with his or her license)
  • .
  • A road safe, working vehicle in which to take the test.
  • Registration and proof of insurance for said vehicle.
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