How to Get a Missouri Driver's License

A woman holds up her driver's license
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A trip to the DMV may not be your idea of fun, but it's necessary if you need a Missouri driver's license. The process is different depending on whether you're a teen getting your first license, a new resident who moved from another state, or a current resident renewing your license.

Getting Your First License

Missouri has a graduated system for any teen getting their first license. At age 15, drivers can get a learning permit after taking the required vision, road sign and written tests at a Missouri Highway Patrol testing station.

The learning permit allows teens to drive only when there is another qualified adult in the passenger seat. This permit is good for up to 12 months.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, teens can get an intermediate license. To qualify, teens must have a learning permit for at least six months, receive 40 hours of driving instruction from a qualified adult (including ten hours of night driving), and take a driving test with a certified instructor at a Highway Patrol testing station. An intermediate license allows a teen to drive alone except during the overnight from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. This license is good for up to two years.

At age 18, teens move from an intermediate license to an under 21 full license. To qualify, teens must have a valid intermediate license and, once again, pass the vision and road sign tests. This license is good for three years.

First-time drivers need to bring the following documents: birth certificate or passport, social security number, proof of Missouri address and driver examination record.

Moving From Another State

Residents moving to Missouri from another state can get a driver's license at any Missouri license office. Drivers who already have a valid out-of-state license (current or expired less than six months) do not have to take the written or driving tests but do have to pass the vision and road sign exams.

The Missouri license is good for six years.

Out-of-state drivers need to bring the following documents: birth certificate or passport, social security number, current Missouri address and license from the previous state.

Renewing Your Missouri License

Most Missouri licenses have to be renewed every six years. Prior to the expiration date, the state sends out a reminder postcard to drivers. Take this card (or other proof of address) to any Missouri license office to renew. Drivers age 70 and older can get a three-year renewal.

Renewing drivers need to bring the following documents: renewal card or proof of Missouri address, social security number and current driver's license. Also, anyone who has had a name change will also need proof of that change, like a marriage certificate or divorce decree.

All drivers also need to know that because of a recent change in Missouri law to prevent identity theft, driver's licenses are no longer given out immediately at the license office. Instead, drivers receive a temporary paper license that is good for 30 days. Permanent licenses are then mailed, usually within ten business days. For more detailed information on the licensing process, visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website.