Missouri Learner's Permit and Driver’s License

GDL requirements

Full Privilege Minimum Age
17, 11 months
Learner Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Learner Stage: Minimum Duration (Months)
Intermediate Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction
1 AM to 5 AM
Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restrictions (Except Family, Unless Noted)
No more than 1 passenger younger than 19 for the first 6 months. No more than 3 passengers younger than 19 until full privilege

How to Get a Missouri Driver’s License

Missouri has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no Missouri license to a full license.

Completing the Missouri GDL takes about two years. First you’ll take a test for your instruction permit. Hold your permit for at least 6 months and complete 40 hours of supervised driving to move up to your Missouri intermediate license. Drive with it until you reach age 18 and you’ll receive your full Missouri Under 21 license.

The steps below have the details you’ll need to know in order to get your full, unrestricted license.

Get your Missouri instruction permit

You can start the process to get your Missouri license at 15 years old. To get ready for driving, you can download the Missouri Driver Guide and start reading through it. At your local Department of Revenue (DOR) location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $3.50 by debit card or check. You must pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written tests at a Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station.

You will be given an official paper which is your instruction permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.

You have to have your Missouri permit for at least 6 months before you can apply for an intermediate license. During that time, you’ll need to have 40 hours driving practice with 10 hours of those being at night. There are also limits to your permit and they are:

  • Under age 16, you may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is:
  • a qualified person;
  • a grandparent;
  • a qualified driving instructor;
  • a qualified driver at least 25 years of age who has been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and has received written permission from the parent or legal guardian; or
  • a qualified driver designated by the disabled parent or guardian of the permit holder.
  • At age 16 or older, you may drive when accompanied in the front seat by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver license.
  • Seat belts must be worn by the driver and all passengers.
  • Your test paper alone is not legal for driving. Be sure to carry your permit with you.
  • You may renew your instruction permit.

This is the point also where you’ll want to get professional driving instruction, although driver education is not a requirement for licensure.

You can enroll in a driver education course or receive supervised driving practice with an adult at least 21 years of age. Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your intermediate license.

Get your Missouri intermediate license

Receiving your Missouri license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements which in this case means reaching the age of 16.

Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a DOR evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.

Once you’re ready, you can schedule a driving skills exam at your nearest Missouri State Highway Patrol branch.

Before you take the test, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.

Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test. If you need glasses be sure you’re wearing them.

The application fee for your license is $7.50

Your Missouri intermediate license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:

  • During the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is under 19 years old and who is not a member of your immediate family.
  • After the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than three passengers who are under 19 years old and who are not members of your immediate family.

As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are:

  • You may not drive alone from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. except to and from a school activity, job, or for an emergency, unless accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older.

Get your Missouri unrestricted full license

At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 18 and have had your intermediate license for 1 year, you can get your full Missouri license.

This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated Missouri license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.

However, honing your S.P.I.D.E.R. Senses™ defensive driving skills is a lifetime experience. Download the DriverZ Virtual Coach to keep practicing. It will also help you keep track of your practice hours when earning your Missouri intermediate license.