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How to apply for a Texas Driver License as a Teen

This page will provide you, as a teen, with information on:

One of the more important decisions you and your parents or legal guardian can make is deciding when you should apply for your first driver license.  There are many laws specific to teen drivers that you are required to follow when applying for and holding a driver license.  These laws do not exist to make the process difficult, but are designed to educate you about the rules of the road and ensure you practice safe driving habits before being allowed to graduate to the next step.  These graduated steps provide you, as a new driver, the chance to improve your driving skills over time in lower-risk environments. 

If you are under 18 years of age, one of the first requirements is completion of a driver education course.  You can begin the classroom phase of a driver education course at 14 years of age, but you cannot apply for a learner license until you are at least 15 years of age.  There are three types of driver education you can select from when taking this course:

  1. A traditional driver education course offered by a certified driver training school
  2. Parent-taught driver education (PTDE)
  3. Driver education offered in public school

To select one of the options and get started on your driver education course, visit Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Driver Education and Safety for more information. 

Driver Licensing

There are two phases of licensing for all teens before graduating to a full driver license. This is called the Graduated Driver License Program. 

   Phase I - Learner License
  • This entry-level restricted driver license allows you to practice driving with a licensed adult before you graduate to the next level.
  • You must be between 15 and 17 years of age.
  • You must have completed the first six hours of the driver education classroom instruction if you are using the concurrent method or all 32 hours of classroom instruction if you are using the block method.
  • You must provide evidence that you:
    • Obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent; or
    • Are a student enrolled in a public, private, or home school and attended school for at least 90% of the time in the fall or spring semester preceding the date of application; or
    • Are currently enrolled in a program to prepare you to pass the high school equivalency exam. You must have been enrolled for the previous 45 days from the date of applying for your learner ;license; or
    • If you are applying during the summer and are still enrolled in school, your last report card for the most recent school year is acceptable provided it has your name, a list of absences, and a complete listing of grades. 
  • You must have a licensed adult 21 years or older in the front passenger seat when driving.
  • You must hold this license for at least six months, unless you turn 18.
  • You are restricted from using a wireless communications device, including a hands-free device, except in the case of an emergency.
  • If your license is suspended at any time while you hold a learner license, the initial six-month period increases by the number of days of the suspension.  This is to make sure you hold a valid learner license for a full six-months.
  • Your learner license will expire on your 18th birthday.

Applying for your Learner License
To apply for a learner license, you will need to provide the following information during your visit to your local driver license office:

  1. U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence
  2. Texas Residency
  3. Proof of Identity, and
  4. Social Security Number
  5. Evidence of Texas Vehicle Registration* for each vehicle you own. (New Residents who are surrendering an out-of-state driver license only)
  6. Proof of Insurance* for each vehicle you own
  7. Texas Driver Education Certificate showing classroom completion.
    1. Certified Driver Training Schools – (DE-964)
    2. Parent Taught Driver Education – (DE-964E)
    3. Public School Driver Education - (DE-964)
    4. Does not apply to new residents who are 18 years of age or older and surrendering an out-of-state driver license.
  8. Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE form) issued by a school, or a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
    1. VOE requires an original signature, and
    2. Is valid for 30 days from issuance, or
    3. Is valid for 90 days from issuance between the months of June through August, or
    4. A current report card for the most recent school year (see Phase I information above)

*If you do not own a vehicle, you will sign a statement affirming this.

Once you have gathered the necessary documents and completed the required courses, you will need to do the following:

  1. Complete the driver license application before arriving at your local office. (This form is also available at all driver license offices)
  2. Bring a parent or legal guardian and visit your local driver license office (If you are bringing a Legal Guardian, you must also bring a certified court order demonstrating guardianship). You may be able to get in-line before arriving. Locate the office nearest you.
  3. Provide the following documentation to the customer service representative:
    1. Application for the issuance of a driver license.
    2. U.S. Citizenship or, if you are not a U.S. Citizen, evidence of lawful presence
    3. Texas Residency
    4. Proof of Identity
    5. Social Security Number
    6. Proof of Texas Vehicle Registration (see above)
    7. Proof of Vehicle Insurance (see above)
    8. Texas Driver Education Certificate (DE-964 or DE-964E)
    9. Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE Form, with original signature)
    10. Evidence of successfully passing the driver knowledge exam. (If you have not taken this test during the classroom portion of driver education, you will take it at the driver license office).
  4. Provide your signature.
  5. Provide your thumbprints.
  6. Have your picture taken.
  7. Pay the application fee.
  8. Pass Vision Exam.

You may complete the testing requirements at the DL office or through a Third Party provider. Read about testing in other languages and driving test requirements.

Once your learner license has been issued, you will receive a temporary receipt. Before leaving the driver license office, review the printed information on your temporary receipt for accuracy.  If any of the information is incorrect, notify the customer service representative. Your new card will arrive in the mail in approximately 2 – 3 weeks. To check the mailing status of your card, visit our mailing status web page.

Note: If you hold an identification card, you are not eligible to apply for a Learner License unless you surrender your identification card at the time of application.

   Phase II – Provisional Driver License
  • You must have held your valid learner license for at least six-months, unless you have reached 18 years of age
  • You must be between 16 and 17 years of age
  • You must have completed behind-the-wheel portion of driver education, which includes:
    • 7 hours of sitting beside the instructor, watching the instructor demonstrate certain points of instruction
    • 7 hours of driving and demonstrating to the instructor that you have learned the points of instruction
    • 30 hours of behind the wheel driving practice, of which at least 10 hours must be at night with a licensed driver 21 years of age or older in the vehicle at all times
  • You must have completed the Impact Texas Teen Driver Program within the previous 90 days of taking your skills test
  • You must successfully pass your driving test
  • Expires on your 18th birthday
  • You may not drive a motor vehicle with more than one passenger in the vehicle under 21 who is not a family member
  • You may not drive a motor vehicle 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
  • You are restricted from using a wireless communications device, including a hands-free device, except in the case of an emergency
  • This driver license will expire when you turn 18.  You will need to visit your local driver license office within 30 days of it expiring to renew it.  You will then be issued a driver license for individuals under 21 years of age. 

Applying for your Provisional Driver License
Once you have completed all of the requirements as a holder of a learner license, you will need to do the following to apply for your provisional driver license:

  1. Complete the driver license application before arriving at your local office. (This form is also available at all driver license offices)
  2. Bring a parent or legal guardian and visit your local driver license office. You may be able to get in-line before arriving. Locate the office nearest you.
  3. Provide the following documentation to the customer service representative:
    1. Application for the issuance of a driver license.
    2. Evidence of lawful presence, if you are not a U.S. Citizen
    3. Proof of Identity
    4. Texas Driver Education Certificate of Completion (DE-964 or DE-964E)
    5. Verification of Enrollment and Attendance (VOE Form with original signature)
    6. Evidence of successfully passing the driving test (if you took the driving test at a driver training school, the results must be provided by the school in a sealed envelope and provided to DPS at the time you are applying for your license)
    7. Impact Texas Driver Program Certificate of Completion
  4. Provide your signature.
  5. Provide your thumbprints.
  6. Have your picture taken.
  7. Pay the application fee.
  8. Pass Vision Exam.
  9. Provide proof of Vehicle Insurance (if you will be taking the driving skills test)

You may complete the driving test requirements at the DL office or through a Third Party provider. Read about testing in other languages and driving test requirements.  If you will be taking your driving test at a local driver license office, you will be required to:

  • Schedule an appointment online or through the driver license office for the driving test, and
  • Present proof of current registration and insurance for the vehicle you will be testing in at the time of the driving test. 

Once your provisional driver license has been issued, you will receive a temporary receipt. Before leaving the driver license office, review the printed information on your temporary receipt for accuracy. If any of the information is incorrect, notify the customer service representative. Your new card will arrive in the mail in approximately 2 – 3 weeks. To check the mailing status of your card, visit our mailing status web page.

Motorcycle License

For information on how to obtain a Class M license, see Motorcycle Licenses.

Transferring/Presenting an out-of-state driver license

If you are under the age of 18 and transferring your out-of-state learner permit or provisional driver license to Texas, the following may apply to you: 

Learner license without proof of driver education
If you are transferring/presenting a valid out-of-state learner license and are not able to provide proof of successfully completing a teen driver education course, you will be issued a Texas learner license. This Texas learner license must be held for 6 months or until the age of 18 whichever comes first, regardless of the previous time you held a learner license in another state. You will be required to complete a Texas driver education course, the Impact Texas Drivers (ITD) program, and the driving test before being issued a provisional driver license.

Learner license with proof of driver education
If you are at between 16 - 17 years of age and are transferring/presenting a valid out-of-state learner license and present proof of successful completion of a teen driver education course, you will be required to complete the Impact Texas Drivers (ITD) program and the driving test before being issued a provisional driver license. 

If you are between 16 – 17 years of age and are transferring/presenting a provisional driver license, you will be issued a Texas provisional driver license.

Hardship License

A hardship license may be issued under certain instances where it has been established that there is a necessity to drive and the applicant is under 16 years of age. A hardship license applicant must complete all of the regular licensing requirements listed above, with the exception of holding a learner license for a minimum of six months, and must be at least 15 years of age. A hardship license expires on the applicant's next birthday.

For more information and to review the types of hardships that qualify for a hardship license, please review the hardship license application.

Tobacco Awareness

Individuals under 18 years of age who are convicted of possession, purchase, consumption or receipt of cigarettes or tobacco products must attend a tobacco awareness program approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Failure to complete the program within 90 days could result in the suspension of the individual's driver license (or privilege if not licensed).

Alcohol Awareness

Texas enacted laws to discourage drivers from drinking and driving to make Texas roads safer. These laws include a Zero Tolerance for minors (under 21 years of age) who commit any alcohol related offenses. Zero tolerances means that a minor may not purchase, attempt to purchase, consume, or possess an alcoholic beverage. If any detectable amount of alcohol is in their system while operating a motor vehicle on a public street, it is a criminal offense. For more detailed information, download and review our Alcohol Related Laws for Minors brochure.

For more information on enforcement actions, please visit the web pages listed under Surcharges, Suspensions & Reinstatement.

For all available collision reports and summaries, please visit the Collision Report and Summary page.