How to Get a Pennsylvania Driver's License

Downtown Pittsburgh at night
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If you're considering a permanent relocation to Pennsylvania, chances are you've thought about needing to update your driver's license. You might also be interested in getting a hunting license or fishing license, but you'd likely need to drive yourself to either activity. So here are steps and tips for obtaining or renewing a Pennsylvania driver's license:

The Basics

  • You must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license or learner’s permit.
  • To apply for a driver's license, you must appear in person at a Pennsylvania Driver's License Center, provide required identification, complete the provided forms, take a vision screening test, and provide a check or money order made payable to PennDOT for the correct amount.
  • If this is your first driver's license or if your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for more than six months, you will need to first apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit, which requires a written test to measure your knowledge of traffic signs, Pennsylvania driving laws, and safe driving practices.
  • To apply for a learner's permit and take your knowledge test, you will need to bring the following items to a Pennsylvania Driver's License Center: 1) proof of date of birth and identification (must be originals) and 2) your social security card or acceptable proof of your social security number.
  • Once you receive a valid learner's permit, you will need to take and pass a driving skills test to obtain your driver's license.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you must wait a mandatory six months from your permit issue date and have a signed Certificate of Completion for the 50 hours of skill-building before taking your road test.
  • New residents holding a valid driver's license from another state must obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence in Pennsylvania. You will need to bring your valid or recently expired (six months or less) driver's license from your previous state with you to the testing center, along with your social security card, additional identification, and proof of residency.
  • There is no knowledge or driving test required to change a valid out of state driver's license to a Pennsylvania driver's license, but you will need to pass a vision screening test. When you are issued a Pennsylvania driver's license, the driver's license from your former state must be surrendered to the examiner at the Driver's License Center.
  • If your out-of-state driver's license expired more than six months ago, you will be required to apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit and complete all testing before receiving your Pennsylvania driver's license.
  • If you wish to renew your valid Pennsylvania driver's license, you can submit your renewal application online, by mail, at a messenger service office, or any Pennsylvania Driver and Vehicle Service Center location. A camera card will be mailed to you within ten days of receipt of your renewal application. To receive a new photo license, take the camera card and another type of identification to a Driver's License and Photo License Center.


  • U.S. citizens need to bring a social security card and one of the following: U.S. birth certificate (including U.S. territories or Puerto Rico) with raised seal, certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization, Pennsylvania photo ID card, Pennsylvania photo driver's license, valid U.S. Passport, or a valid U.S. military photo ID card. If the name on your original document differs from your current name, you must provide an original marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order document.
  • To meet residency requirements, you must present two of the following: current utility bills (bills for cellular or pager service are not acceptable), tax records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, W-2 form, or current weapons permit.
  • The Pennsylvania Driver's Manual is available online as well as at Pennsylvania Driver's License Centers, most messenger service centers, notaries, and auto clubs.
  • Pennsylvania honors a valid foreign driver's license with an international driving permit for a period of up to one year. If the foreign license or international driving permit expires before one year, the individual must apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit to continue driving in Pennsylvania.
  • Only individuals with a social security number or an ITIN number can apply for a driver's license. Therefore, spouses on F-2 or J-2 visas (without work permission) must first obtain an ITIN number before they apply for a driver's license.
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