Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Think a learner’s permit is for high school students only? Think again.
Everyone needs to practice driving before they are let loose on the road with no supervision. Simply being over the age of eighteen is not enough to transform you into a good driver.
This quick guide will take you through the basics of permit requirements in most US states. Keep reading to stay on the right side of the law!
Remember that a learner driver will need more than a permit to drive unsupervised.
Everyone who holds a learner permit is required to have a fully licensed driver in the car with them at all times when they are driving. Depending on your state, you may find that other restrictions are applicable.
Learner drivers in Connecticut, for example, need a passenger who has had a full driver’s license for a minimum of four years with no suspensions in a row.
The passenger also needs to be over the age of nineteen. Vermont also has these restrictions, but the passenger must be twenty-one or older.
As a side note, learner’s permits are also known as temporary or provisional licenses in some states or counties.
Permits At Any Age
While learner permits are issued routinely to those aged between fifteen and eighteen, many states require that you get a permit as a step in the licensing process, no matter your age.
There are some states that do not require a learner permit for over eighteens at all – check with your local authority for more information.
Keep in mind that some states will allow you to take a driving test as soon as you get your permit – notably California and Massachusetts.
This is because ‘permit’ is used only for those undertaking the knowledge or theory test. Other states mandate that you must have a permit for a set number of months.
Some states – namely Connecticut – require permit holders to practice safe road driving for a minimum of ninety days before taking the practical driving test.
These requirements do not apply to those who had a permit but it expired on their eighteenth birthday, are currently living out of state due to active military service, and anyone who has previously held a full driver’s license.
In Michigan, the rules are almost identical but the minimum time period before the road skills test is thirty days.
Virginia, on the other hand, requires all over eighteens who are first-time drivers to get a permit before they can apply for a license after sixty days.
Interestingly, Virginia gives over eighteen learner drivers two options. You can either get a permit, hold it for sixty days, then apply for a full license, or you can complete any state-approved driver education program.
Because there is so much variation, it will always be a good idea to check the requirements with the local authority. Better to be safe than sorry!
Moving With A Permit
Moving to a state that mandates all learner drivers get a permit before getting their full license? Don’t worry!
Any license that you already hold from your old state can be submitted to the local vehicle offices for it to be surrendered and a new one issued.
You will need to supply your photo, some fingerprints, and possibly fees, but there is no need for a new learner permit.
While some states do not require a learner’s permit for over eighteens, many do. You are likely to find that you do need to apply for a permit before applying for a full license but do check with the relevant offices to be sure.
Keep in mind that it is often not enough to just get a permit and then be on your way – you are likely to be subject to other restrictions.
Many states require you to drive with at least a fully licensed driver, and some go even further to mandate that this driver is over a specified age.
It may also be necessary to obtain a learner’s permit, and then wait a few weeks before you can sit your actual practical driving examination.
Other states require a permit to sit the theory or knowledge tests, making obtaining a permit a required step for any new driver.
You may find that your state will allow you to select a driver’s education program instead of a permit if you are over the age of eighteen.
If you opt for this course of action, be sure to check that your course is state-approved.
Do I need a learner’s permit?
If you are under the age of eighteen, the answer is yes. If you are older, you may not need a traditional learner’s permit but do check with the local Department of Motor Vehicles to be sure.
It is generally advisable to get a permit as you will be able to very quickly get a good understanding of safe driving practices. This will help keep you and other drivers safe.
How do I get a permit?
Once you are over the minimum age in your state, you can apply for a permit from your local office for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
There are several different stages in getting your license that vary from state to state, but usually, there is a vision test, a permit test, and then you must hand over all of the required documents.
These documents largely focus on the proper identification of you as a new driver, including your residential status.
Do check with your local office, but as a rule, you will need to bring the following to get a permit:
- Social security number
- Proof of identity
- Proof of US citizenship or your legal right to reside
- Proof of state residency
How can I pass the permit test?
The permit test is a basic assessment of your ability to read and identify US roadsigns. There are some tips that you can use to make sure that you get a great score on the first try:
- Take practice permit tests – practice really does make perfect
- Use your DMV handbook to study properly
- Make sure that you get a good night’s rest and eat a good, balanced breakfast the morning of your test – this will help keep your brain at its optimum function while you are concentrating
- During the test, read every question carefully