How to Get a Texas Driver’s License
Texas 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 license to full license.
You’ll complete the Texas GDL program in 4 phases: Driver’s Ed, which you can begin at 14. First, the learner’s permit phase begins at 15. Next, complete the intermediate phase, at 16, so that you can apply for your full, unrestricted Texas driver’s license when you turn 18.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted Texas driver’s license.
Get your Texas learner license
You can start the process to get your Texas learner license at 14 years old. To get ready for driving, you can download the Texas Driver Handbook and start reading through it.
To get your learner’s permit at 15 years of age, you will need to complete a Texas TDLR approved driver education course. This consists of 32 hours of classroom instruction.
When you’re ready to begin a TDLR approved driver education course, find a driving school to get started.
New drivers, and their families, in Texas also have the option of completing their Texas driver education requirements through a TDLR approved parent taught course. Parents must meet certain requirements to be eligible driving instructors.
These courses consist of the same 32 hours required in the classroom, along with 44 hours of in car instruction. Online, you can fill out an application to get started on your TDLR approved parent taught driver’s education course.
Once you have completed your driver education course, and are at least 15 years old, you can apply for your TX learner license.
Find your local Texas DMV location. You’ll want to fill out an application ahead of time. Bring in proof of identity and pay a fee of $15, and a $1 administration fee if you apply in person, by debit card or check.
In addition to completing driver’s education, you will also need to pass knowledge and vision exams. Be sure to bring any needed corrective lenses with you. If you are under 18, you will also need to provide proof of the completion of high school or equivalent.
To prepare for the exam you can take a few practice tests.
If you have not yet graduated, you may bring a completed Verification of Enrollment and Attendance form or VOE. Note that your VOE is only valid for 30 days from the date it’s signed by your school, or 90 days if it was issued over the summer — June through August.
Your VOE will certify that you have attended school for at least 80 days during the semester preceding your application or have been enrolled for 45 days in a high school equivalency program.
After all of that, you will be given an official paper which is your Texas learner’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You must have your permit for at least 6 months before you can apply for a Texas provisional license. During that time, you’ll need to have 30 hours of driving practice with 10 of those being at night. You will only be allowed to drive while accompanied by a driver that’s at least 21 years of age that has had their unrestricted Texas driver’s license for at least a year.
All drivers younger than 25 years of age in Texas must also complete the Texas DPS Impact Texas Drivers Program.
The ITD program is a free and designed to raise awareness and understanding about the dangers of distracted driving for young and inexperienced drivers.
Once you’ve completed the required amount of supervised driving, driver education, and ITD program, you can apply for your Texas provisional driver’s license.
Get your Texas provisional license
Receiving your license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. In addition to the completion of your supervised driving hours, TDLR approved driver education, and Impact Texas Teen Drivers program you must be at least 16 years of age and have had your TX learner license for at least 6 months.
The application fee for your license is $25, also payable by cash, check, or money order.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a Texas Department of Safety evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out the Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
Should you fail this test, you are eligible to retake 2 additional times within 90 days. Fail both of those road tests, however, and your Texas driver’s license application will be rejected. You’ll have to start the process from the beginning. This includes paying a new $15 fee for your learner license
Your 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. You will not be allowed to drive with more than 1 passenger under the age of 21 that is not a family member.
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 between midnight and 5:00 A.M. Driving for work, school related activities, or medical emergencies are exceptions to this rule.
Get your full unrestricted TX driver’s 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 years of age the provisional component of your Texas provisional license expires.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your Texas graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to some common questions you might have as you start out on your TX graduated licensing journey
Can I renew my Texas learner license?
Texas learner licenses are valid until you turn 18 years old, at which time they expire. If you have not completed your Texas GDL program requirements you will have to start the program again when your TX learner license expires.
Can I change the personal information on my Texas learner permit, provisional license, or driver’s license?
Texas drivers may change personal information on their permits and licenses. Name, gender, and address can all be changed, but procedure do vary based on the nature of the change. A name change because of marriage requires a different procedure than a non-marriage name change, for example.
Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety for more information on changing your information.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation information
For comprehensive information on everything related to the Texas graduated licensing program, visit the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles You can also call 1-888-368-4689 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Prepare for your license journey by taking a few practice tests after reviewing the Texas Driver Handbook.