How long must I hold a learners permit before I can apply for my license?

The time requirements vary from state to state; check the grid below.

Before you commit the grid to memory (or, at least your state’s part of it), keep these factors in mind:
  • States employ graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, and within these programs many states require more than one kind of learners permit. This grid deals mostly with each state’s first learners permit, but notes other kinds of drivers permits (like provisional licenses) when possible.
  • The majority of states allow drivers 18 years old and older to apply for their drivers license the same day they pass their written exams – or, very soon after. This isn’t always the case, so be sure to get details from your examiner when you go in for the written test.
  • This grid focuses on the amount of time you have to wait between obtaining your learners permit and obtaining your drivers license; it doesn’t focus on any other requirements, such as completing a drivers ed course. Be sure to check with your local DMV or state drivers license agency about other requirements.

Alabama 6 months, if you’re younger than 18; you can take the driving test the following day if you’re 18 or older.
Alaska If you’re younger than 18, you must hold the learners permit for 6 months before applying for the provisional license.
Arizona 5 months.
Arkansas You must hold the learners permit until you turn 16, when you can apply for an intermediate license; if you’re 18 or older, you must hold it for 30 days.
California If you’re younger than 18, you must hold the learners permit for 6 months before applying for the provisional license.
Colorado If you’re younger than 18, you must hold the permit for 1 year before applying for the full drivers license.
Connecticut If you’re 16 or 17 years old, you must hold the permit for 180 days (or, 120 days if you complete an approved driver education course).
Delaware If you’re younger than 18, your learner permit automatically becomes a full Class D license after 12 months of infraction-free driving. If you’re 18 or older, you must hold the permit for 60 days.
Florida If younger than 18, 1 year.
Georgia If you’re younger than 18, you must hold the learners permit for 1 year and 1 day before you can move to your provisional or full license. If you’re 18 or older, you can take the road test for the full license the day after passing the written test.
Hawaii If younger than 18, you must hold the learners permit for 180 days before taking the road test.
Idaho If younger than 18, you must hold the Supervised Instruction Permit for 4 months before you can take the road test.
Illinois If younger than 16, you must hold your learners permit for 6 months before applying for your initial license; if 16-17, you must hold your initial license until you’re 18 before you can apply for your full license.
Indiana 60 days, regardless of age.
Iowa Apply for your intermediate license at 16; once you turn 17, if you’ve held the intermediate for 12 months with no infractions, you can apply for your full license.
Kansas If younger than 18, you must hold an instruction permit for 6 months before applying for a restricted license.
Kentucky Permits are valid for 1 year. If you’re younger than 18, you must hold the permit for 180 days before applying for a provisional license.
Louisiana No time requirements if you’re 18 or older. If you’re 15-16, you must hold the permit for 180 days before moving to the intermediate license. If you’re 17, you can move the full license after completing driver education and passing the road test.
Maine If younger than 21, you must hold a learners permit for 6 months before applying for an intermediate license; if 21 or older, hold it for 3 months.
Maryland If younger than 18, you must hold the learners permit for 9 months before applying for your provisional license.
Massachusetts Learners permits are valid for 2 years. Hold the learners permit for 6 months before applying for the junior operators license.
Michigan If younger than 18, hold the Level 1 permit for 90 days before applying for the Level 2; if 18 or older, hold the temporary permit for 30 days before getting the full license.
Minnesota The permit is good for 2 years; hang on to it for at least 6 months if you’re younger than 18.
Mississippi If you’re 17 or older, there are no time requirements; if you’re younger than 17, hold the permit for 6 months before moving on to the intermediate license.
Missouri If you’re 18 or older, there are no time requirements; if younger than 18, hold the permit for 6 months before getting an intermediate license.
Montana If you’re 18 or older, there are no time requirements; if younger than 18, keep the permit for 6 months before getting a restricted license.
Nebraska If younger than 18, you must hold a learners permit for 1 year, then a provisional permit until you turn 18.
Nevada If you’re 18 or older, you can’t take the road test the same day as the written test. If you’re younger than 18, instruction permits are valid for 1 year and you must complete the 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice before applying for your full license.
New Hampshire You don’t need a learners permit. You apply for your full license at 16.
New Jersey If you’re younger than 21, hold the learners permit for 6 months before getting the provisional; if you’re 21 or older, hold the examination permit for 3 months before getting the full license.
New Mexico If younger than 18, hold the permit for 6 months before getting the provisional license; hold the provisional for 1 year before getting your full license.
New York If younger than 18, hold your learners permit for 6 months before getting the junior license. Once you’re 17, you can apply for the full license if you’ve completed driver education.
North Carolina If you’re younger than 18, you must keep your permit for 12 months.
North Dakota The permit is valid for 1 year. If you’re younger than 17, hold the permit for 6 months (and until you’re 16) before moving on.
Ohio Keep the learners permit for 6 months before applying for the full license.
Oklahoma If you’re younger than 18, hold the learners permit for 6 months before getting your intermediate license; after another 6 months, you can apply for the full license.
Oregon If you’re younger than 18, hold the permit for 6 months before applying for the provisional license.
Pennsylvania If younger than 18, hold your permit for 6 months before getting a license.
Rhode Island If you’re younger than 18, keep the instructional permit for 6 months before moving on to the limited provisional license.
South Carolina Regardless of age, every new driver must hold a beginners permit for at least 180 days.
South Dakota If younger than 18, you must hold the permit for 90 days if you’ve completed driver education; if you haven’t, hold it for 180 days.
Tennessee If younger than 18, keep your learners permit for 180 days before moving to the intermediate restricted license, hold your intermediate restricted license for 1 year before getting your intermediate unrestricted license which lasts until you’re 18.
Texas Hold the instruction permit for 6 months. If you’re younger than 18, you can’t move to the next phase until you’re 16.
Utah If you’re younger than 18 you must keep your permit for 6 months.
Vermont If you’re younger than 18, keep your permit for 1 year before applying for your junior operators license.
Virginia If you’re younger than 18, hang on to the permit for 9 months.
Washington If you’re younger than 18, you must keep the permit for 6 months.
West Virginia If you’ve never held a Level 2 intermediate license (most folks 18 or older), you must keep your permit for 30 days; if you’re younger than 18, keep your Level 1 permit for 6 months and your Level 2 until you turn 18.
Wisconsin Everyone needs a permit. Drivers younger than 18 hang on to the permit for 6 months, and drivers 18 and older keep it for a week.
Wyoming The instruction permit is good for 1 year, and you can apply for your full license once you’re 16 1/2.
Washington DC If younger than 21, 6 months; if 21 or older, you can schedule a road test appointment immediately.

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