How to Get a Missouri Learners Permit

Missouri residents are eligible to apply for a learner’s permit at age 15. Read this guide before you head to the license office to make sure you have everything you need.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
In
Missouri
, drivers are eligible to apply for a learner’s permit to practice driving once they’re 15 years old. But before they can submit an application at their license office, there are a few tests they’ll need to take. 
  • You’ll need to be at least 15 years old to get your learner’s permit in Missouri.
  • Visit a Missouri State Highway Patrol examination station to take your vision, road sign, and written tests. You’ll need to have a parent or guardian with you.
  • After you pass your exams, visit a Missouri License Office and bring your exam records, proof of identity, your social security card, and proof of residency.

How to get a Missouri learner’s permit

The first thing you have to do to qualify for a learner’s permit—or an instruction permit, as it’s called in the Show Me State—is turn 15. Once you pass this all-important birthday, you can begin the steps necessary to get your Missouri instruction permit. 
Your first step will be to pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written tests at a
Missouri State Highway Patrol driver examination station
. To study for these exams, Missouri provides the
Missouri Driver Guide
, which is accessible online.
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What to bring to the MSHP driver examination station

When you’re ready to complete your exams, the first thing you’ll need to do is ensure you have a qualified person to accompany you and sign a permission statement on your behalf. In Missouri, the following count as a qualified persons:
  • Parent
  • Legal guardian
  • Certified trainer with a federal residential job training program 
No matter which qualified person accompanies you, they must bring a valid driver license for identification. With your qualified person in tow, head to the exam station to complete your tests. 

What to bring to the Missouri License Office

Once you successfully pass each of your exams, it’s time for you and your qualified person to head to your nearest
Missouri License Office
to apply for your instruction permit.
Before you head to the license office, be sure to
gather your identification documents
. Here is a list of everything the clerk will need to process your application for an instruction permit:
  • Your exam records from your vision, road sign recognition, and written tests
  • Proof of identity (e.g. Missouri ID or U.S. passport)
  • Proof of Lawful status in the U.S.
  • Proof of Social Security number (e.g. a Social Security card or W2 form)
  • Proof of Missouri residency (e.g. school transcripts, mail from a government agency) 
Acceptable documentation varies depending on whether you choose to obtain a REAL ID compliant instruction permit or not. We’ve included the links to acceptable documentation for both types of instruction permit below:
The clerk will provide you with an application, which both you and your qualified person must sign. Submit this application along with a $3.50 instruction permit fee, and you’ll be ready to pose for your driver’s license pic and get your fingerprints taken.
MORE: How education level affects car insurance

Missouri learner’s permit regulations

Once you have your instruction permit, it’s time to start practicing—with supervision, that is!
Until you’re 16, your driver’s permit allows you to drive only when accompanied by a licensed driver in the front seat who is:
  • A qualified person
  • A grandparent
  • A qualified driving instructor
  • A qualified driver at least 25 years old who has been licensed for at least 3 years and has written permission from a parent or legal guardian to supervise you
  • A qualified driver designated by the disabled parent or guardian of the permit holder
Once you turn 16, you still have to be accompanied by a licensed driver in the front seat, but that person just needs to be at least 21 and have a valid driver license.
It should go without saying that whether you’re 15, 16, or 109, seat belts must be worn at all times by you and your passengers.
Texting and driving in Missouri
is also a primary offense for anyone under the age of 21, which means you can be pulled over and ticketed if law enforcement suspects you were texting behind the wheel.
To graduate from an instruction permit to an intermediate license, you must meet the following qualifications:
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Hold an instruction permit for at least 182 days (beginning the day after permit issuance)
  • Have no alcohol-related offenses in the last 12 months and no traffic convictions in the last 6 months
  • Be accompanied by a qualified person or grandparent who can verify you’ve completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving instruction, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving instruction.
  • Pass the vision, road sign recognition, and written exams if your previous results are more than 1 year old.
  • Pass the driving test at a MSHP driver examination station.
Once you receive your intermediate license, you’ll be restricted for the first 6 months to driving with no more than one passenger in the vehicle who is under 19 and not a member of your immediate family. After 6 months, this number increases to no more than 3 passengers under 19 not in your immediate family. 
So long as you’re on an intermediate license, you may not drive alone between the hours of 1 am and 5 am unless it’s for school, work, or an emergency.
You’ll be eligible to graduate to a full driver’s license once you’re within 30 days of your 18th birthday, and you’ve met the following qualifications:
  • Have no alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions in the last 12 months
  • Have a valid intermediate license (if your driving privileges are currently suspended, revoked, or denied, you cannot qualify for a full license)
  • Pass the vision and road sign recognition tests. The written and driving tests won’t be required again.
MORE: How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers
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