Pennsylvania Driver's License Requirements

Junior Driver’s License vs. Unrestricted Driver’s License

For drivers under the age of 18, there are two different types of driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania: the junior driver's license and the unrestricted driver's license. The junior driver's license comes first and places some restrictions on the driver. The unrestricted driver's license does not place restrictions on the driver, and you must take additional steps to earn this license after getting your junior driver's license or wait until you are 18 years old for the driving restrictions to be lifted.

Getting a Junior Driver’s License

To earn your junior driver's license, you must do the following:

  1. Hold your learner’s permit for at least 6 months.
  2. Complete at least 65 hours of behind-the-wheel skill-building including no less than 10 hours of nighttime driving and 5 hours of bad weather driving.
  3. Pass the Road Test.

If you do not pass the Road Test after 3 tries, you will have to apply for a new permit and retake the Knowledge Test and vision exam. After passing both the Knowledge Test and the vision exam and being granted a new permit, you may schedule for the next available opening for the Road Test. You do not need to wait another 6 months with the new permit to take the Road Test.

If your learner’s permit expires, you may obtain a Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit Application to add/extend/replace/change or correct your learner’s permit (DL-31). If you have not taken or successfully completed the Road Test within 3 years of your physical examination date, you must start over with another Non-Commercial Learner's Permit Application and retake the Knowledge Test.

Once you earn your junior driver's license, you will have the following driving restrictions:

  • You may not drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless your parent, guardian, person in loco parentis, or spouse who is 18 years of age or older is with you. However, you may drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. if you are involved in public or charitable service, if you are a member of a volunteer fire company or if you are employed during those hours. In these cases, you must carry a notarized affidavit or certificate of authorization from your employer, supervisor or fire chief indicating your probable schedule of activities. This notarized affidavit should be kept with your driver’s license.
  • You may not carry more passengers than seat belts available in the vehicle you are driving.
  • You may not carry more than one (1) passenger under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member unless a parent, guardian, person in loco parentis, or spouse who is 18 years of age or older is in the vehicle with you. After the first six (6) months of driving on a junior license, the limit is increased to no more than three (3) passengers under the age of 18 who are not immediate family members unless a parent, guardian, person in loco parentis, or spouse who is 18 years of age or older is in the vehicle with you. The increased limit does not apply to any junior driver who has ever been involved in a crash in which you were partially or fully responsible or who is convicted of any driving violation.
  • You will receive a mandatory 90-day suspension if you accumulate six (6) or more points or are convicted of driving 26 miles per hour (mph) or more over the posted speed limit.

Unrestricted Driver’s License Eligibility Requirements

Your junior driver's license will automatically become an unrestricted driver's license when you turn 18. If you wish to get an unrestricted driver's license before age 18, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Have passed a driver training course approved by the PA Department of Education. Safe2Drive’s online Driver Education course satisfies the 30-hour classroom requirement for driver education. You will also be required to complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a certified driving school.
  • Have not been involved in a crash for which you are partially or fully responsible for one (1) year.
  • Have not been convicted of any violation of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code for one (1) year.
  • Have the consent of your parent, guardian, person in loco parentis, or spouse who is at least 18 years of age.

If you meet these requirements, you may apply for an unrestricted driver’s license by submitting an Application for Change from a Junior Driver’s License to a Regular Non-Commercial Driver’s License (DL-59).