Getting Your Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit in 2021 (+ Requirements)

Getting Your Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit in 2021 (+ Requirements)

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 20, 2021

Pennsylvania has unusual rules, from mandatory physical exams to special restrictions on your driving.

In this article, we’ll go over how to get a Pennsylvania learner’s permit, special requirements, and the steps you need to take after you’ve received your permit.

How Old Must I Be to Get a Learner’s Permit?

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for a Learner’s Permit in Pennsylvania, but you can start fulfilling the physical exam and other pre-appointment requirements as early as 15 ½.

Applying for a Learner’s Permit

#1 – Parental Permission

If you are under 18 years old, your parent or guardian will have to give written consent for you to apply. This permission goes on the DL-180TD. They must sign it at the driver’s license office or in front of a notary. 

If the last names are different, they must bring proof of relationship like court-ordered guardianship papers, name change records, or adoption records.

#2 – Proof Of Identification

You must provide proof of identity and birthdate, such as an original birth certificate and your social security card. These MUST be originals and fully legible. Photocopies will not be accepted! You will find a full list on your DL-180 form.

If you are over 18, you will also need to provide proof of residency. You can show utility bills, your lease, or bank statements. If you live with someone, they can sign a statement that says you live together.

#3 – The Physical Exam

Before you can get your learner’s permit, you must get a licensed professional to evaluate you according to a special form known as the DL-180. You must be at least 15 ½ when your physician completes this form, and your permit application is valid for one year after your exam date.

If the license examiner can not determine if the information on your form is accurate or complete, it could delay your application process. You may even be asked to retake your medical exams.

If you have a medical condition that could seriously impair your ability to drive, you may be required to drive with a certified driving instructor as part of your permit restrictions.

Steps to Getting a Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit

  1. You must bring all the paperwork described above to your local PennDOT Driver’s License Center. While walk-ins are allowed, you will save time if you book an appointment in advance.
  2. Once all your paperwork is accepted, you will be given a vision test, bringing glasses/contacts if you need them!
  3. After passing the written knowledge test, you will receive your learner’s permit, and it is valid for one year. There will also be a fee based on your license type.

The Learner’s Permit Test

The written exam is a test of your knowledge of Pennsylvania laws, driver safety, and traffic signs. It consists of 18 multiple choice corrections, and you need to answer 15 or more correctly to pass. This is a pretty tiny margin for error! 

If you fail your knowledge test, the examiner will return your application, and you can try again as early as the next day. You can not take the test more than once a day, even if you visit multiple testing sites.

Nearly half of students fail their written test nation-wide. Zutobi was founded to change that. Our gamified course, online practice tests, and summarized DMV handbook helps over 250,000 students each month prepare for, and ace their tests! Check it out today.

What are the Pennsylvania Learner’s Permit Restrictions?

You must ALWAYS drive with a valid license holder over the age of 21. In addition, there are other restrictions:

  • You cannot drive between 11 pm and 5 am except for your job or local and charitable events you are part of. You must have signed affidavits or other documents from your supervisors to do so.
  • You can only carry one non-family member under the age of 18 with you in the vehicle.
  • If you accumulate over 6 points of demerits on your record, or if you are caught driving 26 or more miles over the speed limit, your permit will be suspended for 90 days.

You can find the full list on Penndot.gov’s Teen Driver Page.

Requirements Before You Can Move on to the Next Step

You must keep your driver’s permit for six months before you can apply for a Junior Driver’s License. If you are under 18, you also need:

  • 65 registered hours of driving practice
  • 10 of those hours must be at night
  • 5 of those hours must be in bad weather, like heavy rain.
  • These hours MUST be accounted for on form DL-180C and signed by your parent in person at the license office.

Getting your driving permit is an amazing milestone. Especially with all the exams and other hoops to get it! If you are looking for study aids to help you ace the written and driving exams, check out Zutobi’s summarized Pennsylvania Driver’s Handbook and practice tests!

We hope these instructions for getting your Pennsylvania learner’s permit have answered all of your questions.

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