Delaware Teen License: A Step-by-Step Guide

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As part of Delaware’s Graduated License Program, new drivers under the age of 18 will need to get a permit before their full license. Any teen that’s 16 years old can apply for a teen license. They will be allowed to drive given they are accompanied by a licensed adult. This will take place for the first 6 months of their licensing.

A Note About “Provisional” Licensing in Delaware

The state of Delaware has a GPL program (like many other states).

However, unlike other states that do a: learner’s permit -> provisional license -> adult license.

Delaware allows those with a permit to upgrade to their full license once they’ve had it for 12 months and haven’t had driving issues. The permit upgrades to a Class D license automatically, though they’ll need to return to the DMV to apply for their full license (and get a new one issued).

Don’t Have a Permit?

Before a teen can get their license they’ll need to first complete a driver’s education program. This program will ensure the teen understands road safety while also receiving valuable experience behind the wheel.

The education program consists of:

  • 30 hours of study
  • 7 hours of observation
  • 7 hours of driving practice

Once a teen has passed this program (which includes a written and road test) they will then need their sponsor/trainer to sign their application. This document will be brought to the DMV when applying for a learner’s permit.

Getting a Learner’s Permit in Delaware (and Upgrading to an Adult License)

With experience behind the wheel and a driving course complete, a teen can then visit a local DE DMV office (with a parent or guardian) to submit their learner’s permit application.

Here are the steps they’ll follow:

  1. Complete the licensing application
  2. Submit documentation:
    1. Proof of identity
    2. Proof of U.S. residency
    3. Proof of Delaware residency
    4. Social Security number
  3. Pass the vision exam
  4. Have your license photo taken
  5. Pay the fee
    1. As of 2023: $40
    2. Pay by: cash, check, or debit/credit

With this process complete — the teen driver will receive their learner’s permit. This permit is valid until they are ready to upgrade to their adult license.

A teen is now free to drive but will have some restrictions:

  • They will be accompanied by a licensed adult for the first 6 months
  • They’ll complete 50 hours of driving practice (10 hours of it at night)

Once they’ve completed these requirements they’ll have the practice signed off on by their parent, guardian, or the licensed adult that sponsors them. They’ll then be allowed to drive unsupervised (between normal hours of 6 am to 10 pm) until they’re old enough to get their adult license.