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What is an Occupational Driver License?

An occupational driver license, also called an essential need license, is a special type of restricted license issued to you when your driver license has been suspended, revoked or denied for certain offenses, other than a medical reason or delinquent child support. If you have been suspended as a result of a surcharge assessment, you may still qualify for an occupational driver license.

An occupational driver license authorizes you to operate a non-commercial motor vehicle only in connection with:

  1. Work,
  2. School-related activities, or
  3. Performance of essential household duties.

Request an Occupational Driver License

You must petition the Justice of the Peace, county or district court where you currently reside, or to the court of original jurisdiction where the offense has occurred, to obtain an occupational driver license.

An example of an occupational driver license petition is available for free from the Travis County Law Library. Due to varying requirements for each court, please consult the court with which you intend to file a petition for an occupational driver license to determine if the petition on the Travis County Law Library website is acceptable. 

Upon reviewing your petition, if the court determines you are eligible to apply for an occupational driver license, you will be provided with a signed court order. This court order is not the occupational driver license. You must submit the court order to the Department along with the other necessary documentation for the issuance of an occupational driver license.

Issuance of an Occupational License

The court order and all required items must be submitted to DPS before an occupational license will be issued. The court order may be used as a driver license for 45 days from the date of the judge's signature while the request for an occupational license is processed.

You must submit the following items to DPS:

  1. A certified copy of the petition and a certified copy of the court order granting the occupational license.
    1. The judge has the authority to grant an occupational order.
    2. If you are participating in a special drug court program, the petition is not required.
  2. A Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22).
  3. Payment of the occupational license fee.
    1. An occupational license is typically issued for one year or less; the maximum length of issuance is two years.
    2. The court must grant the issuance of an occupational license beyond one year.
  4. Payment of reinstatement fees.

DPS Mailing Address, Fax Number and Email Information

All required documents, including all fees should be submitted in one envelope to the mailing address below for processing. You must write your full name, date of birth and driver license number on each document submitted. If you have your suspension notice, please include a copy so your driver record can be identified. Please allow 21 business days for processing.

Mailing Address:

Texas Department of Public Safety
Enforcement and Compliance Service
P.O. Box 15999
Austin, TX 78761-5999

If you fail to submit all of your documentation to the Department for the issuance of your occupational driver license, the Department will send a request for the additional items needed for processing. These documents can be submitted by fax or email. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, and driver license number for proper identification.

Fax Number: 512-424-2848

Email: Driver Improvement (Documents must be submitted in PDF format.)

Once you are issued an occupational driver license, you are only permitted to operate a motor vehicle within the terms of the court order. You must keep your court order in the vehicle with you at all times and present it along with your occupational driver license upon demand by a peace officer.

Denial of Issuance/Waiting Period

An occupational license will be issued once the request is processed, unless one of the following situations applies and the judge has not ordered the waiver of the waiting period:

  1. Your driver license was previously suspended as a result of an alcohol or drug-related offense. There is a 90-day waiting period.
  2. Your driver license was in suspension as a result of an intoxication-related conviction. There is a 180-day waiting period.
  3. There are at least two administrative license revocations on your driver record. There is a mandatory one-year waiting period.
  4. The occupational driver license is requested to operate a commercial motor vehicle. An occupational driver license cannot be issued for purposes of operating a commercial motor vehicle during a period of license suspension, revocation, cancellation or denial.