How to Get a Pennsylvania Driver’s License Reinstatement

Pennsylvania driver’s license reinstatement requirements vary by driver but are fully detailed in your PennDOT restoration letter.
Written by Macy Fouse
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
Having your
Pennsylvania
license reinstated may be as easy as paying off your fines and taking a driving safety exam. More serious violations may require paying heavier fines, taking classes, and filing additional paperwork.
  • Pennsylvania driver’s license
    reinstatements typically cost $88, but the process varies based on your circumstances.
  • Reinstatement requirements include fulfilling a suspension period, meeting court requirements, paying fines and fees, and other steps outlined in the driver’s restoration letter.
  • Pennsylvania offers hardship licenses for drivers with suspended licenses. Eligibility depends on specific circumstances and fulfillment of restoration requirements.

How to get a license reinstatement in Pennsylvania

Everyone’s route to reinstatement varies in Pennsylvania, but in general, you can expect the following requirements for a first-time suspension
  • Finish out your suspension period
  • Fulfill any court requirements
  • Pay off all fines and restoration fees
  • Pay the driver’s license reinstatement fee of $88
  • Provide proof of three-year
    SR-22 insurance
    (may be optional)
  • Attend alcohol treatment, if necessary 
  • Install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, if applicable
To follow the correct steps to get your Pennsylvania driver’s license suspension lifted, be sure to obtain a restoration requirements letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). This letter will outline the specific steps you must complete to have your driving privileges reinstated.
To obtain your restoration letter, sign into the
PennDOT automated request system
. This letter will also be mailed to your address of record 30 days before your reinstatement eligibility date.
The paths to reinstatement differ most when it comes to whether your license suspension was due to points accumulation or a more serious violation that led to revocation.

Point system suspensions

In Pennsylvania, your license can be suspended for accumulating six points from traffic tickets or other motor vehicle code violations on your driving record. 
Most minor violations, like running a red light, are worth 2-3 points. More serious violations, like failing to stop for a school bus, are worth five points. 
To get your license reinstated after your first six-point accumulation, drivers over 18 will have to take a special written exam over safe driving practices. If you pass the test within 30 days of your suspension, you’ll receive a two-point deduction from your total points. 
If you hit six points a second time, you’ll be required to attend a departmental hearing where your record will be reviewed. The hearing examiner will recommend either a 15-day suspension or a special on-road driver’s exam before deducting two points. 
Suspensions and reinstatement requirements get more serious with each subsequent violation.

Revocations

If your driver's license was revoked for a more serious traffic violation, such as driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) or reckless driving, your reinstatement requirements may be more extensive.
If you’re unsure of what steps you need to take, you can access your restoration requirements
through PennDOT
Key Takeaway: In most cases, you can get your license reinstated by taking the proper examination, paying the necessary fees, clearing any outstanding charges, and receiving alcohol treatment if necessary. 

Why you might need a license reinstatement in Pennsylvania

The
Pennsylvania DMV
suspends and revokes licenses for a few different reasons. A suspended license is the consequence of accumulating six points on your driving record, while a revoked license is the result of committing a felony with a vehicle. 
When your Pennsylvania license is suspended, you won’t automatically regain your driving privilege just because the suspension period is over. In Pennsylvania, they consider each case on an individual basis, so your restoration requirements will vary.

How to get a hardship license in Pennsylvania

Driving on a suspended or revoked license in Pennsylvania can lead to more trouble—including fines and longer suspensions. But getting around without driving can be difficult. 
That’s why Pennsylvania sometimes allows drivers with suspensions to apply for a hardship license. This license allows you to drive to necessary places like school, work, or medical treatment during your suspension time. 
In Pennsylvania, there are two types of hardship licenses depending on your situation
  • The
    Occupational Limited License (OLL)
    is offered to drivers with suspended licenses, especially from a DUI. Drivers can apply for an OLL after fulfilling their specific suspension terms.
  • The
    Probationary License
    is for drivers whose license has been suspended or revoked for more than five years. This license generally allows driving between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
To apply for an OLL, you’ll need to fill out the
DL-15 petition form
and send it to the following address with the applicable fee
Bureau of Driver Licensing  
P.O. Box 68689 
Harrisburg, PA 17106-8689
PennDOT will then evaluate your case and determine your eligibility. You will receive a letter notifying you of their decision. 
To apply for a Probationary License, you’ll need to complete a
DL-20 petition
. From there, the process is the same as the OLL application. 

When can you apply for a hardship license?

Your eligibility for these licenses will depend on your specific case, and you won’t be able to apply for them right away. In most cases, you’ll still have to fulfill your suspension period before applying. 
The OLL is more like a traditional hardship. Here are the general requirements for an OLL:
  • Your license has only been suspended, not revoked
  • You have to get to work, school, or medical treatments
  • You have fulfilled your license
    restoration requirements

Pennsylvania SR-22 requirements

If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you may have to
file an SR-22
or FR-44 certificate through your insurance company. Often called SR-22 insurance, these certificates act as legal proof that you meet Pennsylvania’s minimum insurance requirements. 
While an SR-22 certificate is not strictly required in Pennsylvania, having it may help you get better insurance coverage.
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