How to Get a Delaware Learner’s Permit

You need to be at least 16 years old to get a Delaware learner’s permit, and the process is less involved if you’re 18 or older.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Pat Roache
You can apply for a Delaware learner’s permit when you turn 16 years old. Applicants who are under 18 need to have completed an approved Delaware Driver Education Course, have a sponsor’s signature, and have passed an eye test and written exam.
As the saying goes, you have to learn to walk before you learn to run. The same concept applies to driving—before you get a full-fledged
Delaware driver’s license
, you have to get your learner’s permit first! The process is pretty simple, and we’ve got all the information you’ll need to know right here. 

How to get a Delaware learner’s permit

First things first: to get a learner’s permit in Delaware, you need to be at least 16 years old.
But it’s not as simple as strolling into a Delaware DMV location and filling out a few forms—the first thing that you’ll need to do if you’re under 18 is complete an approved Delaware Driver Education Course. You’ll need this completion certificate when you apply for your permit. 
Several different organizations offer driver education courses, so make sure that the one you take is approved by the Delaware DMV. If you’re 18 or older, you’re not required to take this course to get your permit, but it wouldn't be a bad idea. 
As part of your application process, you’ll need to pass a
written examination
. You can use the
Delaware Driver’s Manual
as a study guide, and you’ll have also received plenty of test prep from your driver’s ed course. You need to pass an eye exam as well—whether or not you study for that is up to you. 
Applicants who are under the age of 18 also need a signature from a sponsor. This is typically a parent or legal guardian, but you can request to have the Delaware DMV approve someone else as your sponsor if they meet the
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What to bring to the DMV

You don’t have to
schedule an appointment
to get your learner’s permit, but you can if you want to. If you’re under 18, you’ll need to bring your sponsor with you, as they have to sign your application in the presence of a DMV official. You’ll also need to bring your certificate that proves you completed an approved driver's education course. 
There are several documents that you’ll need to bring to verify your identity and residency, including proof of your name, date of birth, and social security number. You’ll also need to provide two proofs of Delaware residency (unless your sponsor is a licensed Delaware driver who lives at your address.) You can find detailed information on the
acceptable documents
on the Delaware DMV’s website. 
You’ll need to pay the
$40 fee
at the time of your application, pass a basic vision test, and also pass your written examination. But if you completed your driver’s ed course and studied the driver’s manual, you should be golden. At that point, all that’s left is to smile for the camera!
MORE: How education level affects car insurance

Delaware learner’s permit regulations

Now you’re ready to hit the road—under supervision and with certain restrictions, of course. As part of Delaware’s
Graduated Driver’s Licensing
(GDL) program, you’re required to hold your permit for 12 months and complete 50 hours of supervised driving. If you are over 18, you don’t have to fulfill the supervised driving requirements (unless you choose to), but you do have to have your permit for the approved amount of time and pass written, eye, and road tests. 
Under the GDL program, the learner’s permit for someone under 18 has the following restrictions: 
  • You must be in physical possession of your permit while you are driving.
  • You and your passengers must be
    wearing seat belts
    at all times.
  • The permit holder is not allowed to use any kind of
    cellular phone
    or similar device (except for an emergency).
  • No passengers other than the adult supervisor and one other person, unless they are immediate family.
  • The supervising driver must be at least 25 years old, have held a Class D driver’s license for at least 5 years, and be seated in the front passenger seat at all times.
For the first six months, the supervising driver must be present at all times. You’ll need to complete and submit documentation of 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which need to be at night. For the remaining six months of your permit, the restrictions relax a little bit: 
  • You may drive unsupervised between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm.
  • Between 10 pm and 6 am, you still have to have your supervisor with you when you’re driving, unless you’re going directly to and from work, church, or school activities.
  • When you’re unsupervised, only one other passenger is allowed in the vehicle.
After you’ve completed your 12-month permit period, your learner’s permit automatically converts to a regular Class D license. If you are caught in violation of any rules, however, you’ll face a two-month suspension of your permit for the first offense. The second offense gets you a four-month suspension, and these suspensions will extend the time requirements for your permit. So stay safe, drive by the rules, and you’ll be a fully-licensed driver in no time! 
MORE: How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers
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