I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. Although that might be up for debate with some, I’m definitely no dummy. But, believe me when I tell you, that trying to decipher how to get a driving permit in Texas is the most complicated thing I’ve ever done. Maybe it was because I didn’t grow up here and didn’t have to go through the process myself. In my little Kentucky hometown, you got the driving book, went to the courthouse, took the test and with the whopping score of a 75% you left with a permit.

Welcome to Texas where everything is bigger … and in this case, a little more confusing.

What you need to know about getting a driving permit or learners license in Texas:

  1. You must be 15 years old to take the permit test. I’ve found that many of my son’s friends don’t rush into the DPS on their 15th birthday like we seemed to back in my day.
  2. Although there’s a driving school on every corner, we opted to use the online course available at Aceable. It was so easy! Seriously! The course was $74.99 and the parent-taught packet was an additional $20. Referral affiliate link is used. This link will get YOU 25% off of the teen driving course!
  3. Everything your student needs is in the Aceable app. I loved it because every time my son, Avery, would finish a section it would send me a notification – ultimately, sending me a final alert when he was ready to go to the DPS for his permit.
  4. Another great thing about the Aceable app is that students actually take the permit test IN the Aceable app! After a passing score, there’s a completion certificate and you are ready and cleared to go pick up your permit!

Once your teen has their completion certificate, you are off to the DPS and this is when the paperwork trail gets really interesting!

You need to bring with you:

  • The DE-964 Permit Certificate (Aceable emails this to you upon course completion)
  • The Classroom instruction log (only the first 6 hours/Level 1 should be completed)
  • Texas Residency Affidavit You need 2 forms of proof – I brought 4 just in case they were extra picky! Bring utility statement (cell phone doesn’t count), monthly mortgage statement, deed, current auto insurance policy, bank statements, a health insurance card — all within the last 30 days. Here’s a list of all documents that are accepted.
  • PTDE Program Guide Receipt Page (It’s the first page of the parent packet that you purchase for $20)
  • $16 (cash, credit, check or money order)
  • Driver’s License Application
  • The Parent that is the designated Parent Instructor on the Aceable app has to be the parent that brings in the teen (and is available to answer questions and be with the teen during the application process)
  • Student’s proof of identity (valid US passport, birth certificate, or US certificate of citizenship or naturalization)
  • Student’s social security card
  • Verification of Enrollment This comes from the high school and proves that the student is enrolled & hasn’t had excessive absences. We planned to pick up a permit during Winter Break and totally failed to realize that this form must be signed by the registrar! Take it from us, if school isn’t in session – plan ahead!
  • You take the vision exam at the DPS office. There’s no need to visit your eye doctor prior.

A couple of other key things:

  • The learner’s permit (officially called the “Learner License”) must be kept for 6 months. So, if your teen intends to get their drivers license on their actual 16th birthday, they need to get their Learner License by – at least – 6 months prior to that day.
  • The Learner License expires on the 18th birthday. So, don’t hold off in getting it!
  • No wireless communication devices can be used by the teen with the learner’s permit – even hands-free!
  • We were there – in line – for almost 5 hours. Bring a book, your smartphone, a newspaper, and for heaven’s sake – some earbuds.

To those of you just embarking on this journey, good luck!!! Gather your materials early and stay organized – you can do it!