What Happens If Your Learner's Permit Expires?

by Tina AmoUpdated July 11, 2023

Every state requires a DMV issued learner's permit when you are learning how to operate a vehicle, with the permit comes limited driving privileges for new drivers until the ID card expiration date. It is illegal to continue driving if yours has expired. Contact your state's motor vehicle department for specific information on how to get your expired permit valid again, and how to earn a full drivers license through a road test/driving test, knowledge test, practice hours, or a driver education course.

Valid Period

The period of validity varies by state. Many offer two-year permits, but some offer one-year permits, like Washington, and others extend theirs as four years, like Alabama. While your permit is active, you can take driving lessons from a professional instructor and practice with anyone licensed and qualified to drive. This person must have had their license for the number of years that your state specifies. You must satisfy the hours of training required in your state before you can apply for a driving skills test to obtain a license.

Available Options

In some places you can renew your learner's permit at the department of motor vehicles under certain conditions. For instance, in Washington, D.C., you can do a learners license renewal if you are under 18 and your permit has been expired no longer than six months. Individuals aged 21 or older cannot renew a learner's permit in the District, so they must reapply. Other states require a new application for a permit when the initial one expires.

Renewing a Permit

If your state allows you to renew to get a new permit when your learner's permit expires, you may have to pay an application fee. The amount depends on the state. Show your identification and your expired permit. ‌You won't have to retake the written test for permit renewal.

Reapplying for a Permit

The process of reapplying for a learner's permit is ‌the same as that of applying for an initial one‌. Complete an application at your state's regulating department, pass a vision test/vision screening, and submit proof of identity documents showing years of age/date of birth, legal status, Social Security number identification card and residence. Some acceptable documents include your passport, Social Security card, birth certificate and permanent residence card. You can prove your residence with utility bills that show your current address. Your state's DMV office also might provide a list of documents you can bring through online services or over the telephone.

In addition to the documentation, you must bring a parent or legal guardian with you to sign the form if you are under 18. Pay the fee with cash, check or credit card. The amount varies by state.

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