Learner License (Instruction Permit)
A learner license, also known as an instruction permit, allows a student driver to legally practice driving when accompanied by a licensed driver. The licensed driver must be at least 21 years of age with at least one year of driving experience, must occupy the seat beside the driver, and cannot be intoxicated, asleep, or engaging in any activity that prevents observation and response to the actions of the driver. A learner license will indicate “Learner License” on the front of the card and expire on the minor’s 18th birthday. A person applying for a learner license must:
1. Be at least 15 but no more than 18 years of age
2. Complete the classroom portion of a driver education course, vision exam, and knowledge exam
3. Meet all other requirements for a first time driver license (original) applicant
|15 with driver education||$15 for license + $1 fee = $16||For applicants less than 18 years of age the license expires on their 18th|
* A $1 administrative fee is included in most transactions. However, if you are completing multiple transactions at the same time either in-person or online then you will only be charged the $1 administrative fee once. A $1 administrative fee is not charged for transactions made through the mail.
Applicants 18 years of age and older who wish to legally practice driving are issued a Class C license with the same restrictions as a learner license. The license is generally valid for six years and costs $24 plus a $1 administrative fee.
Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) Form
If you are under 18 years of age and applying for your first Texas driver license, learner license, or provisional license, you must provide evidence that you:
1. Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
2. Are a student enrolled in a public, private, or home school and attended school for at least 80 days in the fall or spring semester preceding the date of application; or
3. Have been enrolled for at least 45 days and are enrolled at the time of application in a program to prepare individuals to pass the high school equivalency exam.
This information is included on the Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE) form issued by your school. Ask school officials to complete and sign the VOE form. The VOE may not be dated more than 30 days before the date of application for a license during the school year or more than 90 days during the summer. The VOE must be presented to the driver license customer service
representative (CSR) when applying for, renewing, or removing permit restrictions from a license.
A hardship license (previously known as Minor Restricted Driver License or MRDL) may be issued to a minor who establishes the necessity to drive and may have restrictions based on the qualifying hardship.
An application for a hardship license (DL-77) must be executed by an authorized adult on behalf of the minor. Both the adult and the minor must sign the form and present it in person at the driver license office. Only a parent, guardian, or person having custody of a minor may make application on behalf of a minor. If the minor does not have a parent, guardian, or custodian then an employer or county judge may apply on behalf of the minor.
A person applying for a hardship license must:
1. Be at least 15 years of age but not more than 18
2. Complete and pass a driver education course (a driver education course includes both the classroom and behind the wheel phase), vision, knowledge, and driving exams
3. Meet all other requirements for a first time driver license (original) applicant.
DPS may require supporting documentation or conduct an investigation to confirm the information provided on the application.
DPS will issue a hardship license if it is determined that:
1. Failure to issue the hardship license will result in an unusual economic hardship for the family of the minor applicant
2. The hardship license is necessary due to an illness, disability, or death of a family member
3. The hardship license is necessary because the minor applicant is enrolled in a vocational education program that requires a license for participation.
4. A court order requiring issuance of the hardship license is presented Graduated Driver License (GDL)
Teenagers and young adults have the highest crash rates of all drivers, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Young drivers make up 6.5 percent of the driving population but are responsible for 13 percent of fatal crashes. The Graduated Driver License (GDL) program eases teens into the driving experience by phasing in driving privileges and minimizing exposure to high-risk situations.
The GDL program applies to driver license applicants under 18 years of age and has contributed to a decrease in fatal crashes in recent years. As a part of this program, all new driver license applicants are required to pass a driving exam conducted at a driver license office or authorized testing facility. The GDL program consists of two phases. Phase One applies to learner licenses. Phase Two applies to provisional licenses. All drivers less than 18 years of age must meet the licensing requirements for a learner license or provisional license, but they are also subject to additional requirements, including driver education and the GDL program.
This phase requires applicants under 18 years of age to hold a valid learner, hardship, or combination of learner and hardship license for a minimum of six months prior to the issuance of a provisional license. If your license is suspended during Phase One, then the initial six-month period is extended by the number of days of the suspension because your license is invalid during the suspension period.
A Texas learner license will be issued to new Texas residents who are at least 15 years of age, present an out-of-state instruction permit, and submit a VOE form. A Texas learner license must be held for six months from the date of issuance before the individual is eligible for Phase Two.
Phase One requirements do not apply to Class M (motorcycle) licenses. Under the GDL program, there is no minimum time a person must hold a restricted motorcycle or moped license before applying for a Class M license.
Phase Two restricts the driving privileges of individuals until their 18th birthday following the issuance of a provisional license.
During Phase Two these individuals may not drive a motor vehicle:
1. With more than one passenger in the vehicle under the age of 21 who is not a family member
2. Between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless the operation of the vehicle is necessary for the driver to work, to attend or participate in a school-related activity, or due to a medical emergency
All drivers who are under 18 years of age are restricted from using a wireless communication device, including a hands-free device, except in case of an emergency.
A provisional license is a driver license issued to persons 16 to 18 years of age that has the Phase Two GDL driving restrictions applied. The license will be marked “PROVISIONAL” and expire on the license holder’s 18th birthday. A person applying for a provisional license must:
1. Be at least 16 but not more than 18 years of age
2. Complete and pass a driver education course (a driver education course includes both the classroom and behind the wheel phases), vision, and driving exams
3. Have held a valid learner, hardship, or combination of learner and hardship license for at least six months
4. Meet all other requirements for a renewal driver license applicant
Out-of-State License Holders
Applicants who are at least 15 but less than 18 years of age and present a valid out-of-state instruction permit will be issued a Phase One learner license. Applicants who are at least 16 but less than 18 years of age and present a valid out-of-state driver license will be issued a Phase Two provisional license with passenger and time restrictions after successful completion of the driving exam. Applicants must meet all other requirements for a first time (original) applicant. All licenses issued to persons less than 21 years of age will be marked “UNDER 21”.
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