How to Get an Oregon Driver’s License

The Oregon Department of Transportation Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division oversees the state’s graduated licensing program. This program helps first-time drivers learn driving basics through testing, behind-the-wheel practice, and real-world experience under supervision.

Oregon’s GDL program begins at 15 years old taking the first-time driver through a series of permits and licensing. The teen will get and practice with a learner’s permit before upgrading to a provisional. The provisional license eventually becomes an unrestricted (adult) license with patience and practice.

Adults wanting to apply for their OR driver’s license can partake in this GDL program. Adults go through the program faster because of their age but some requirements of the program remain.

This guide shares how you’ll get a license in Oregon starting from a learner’s permit. It will then share the details of upgrading the permit into a provisional or unrestricted license. The guide also shares what’s required if you’re getting a license when older.

You will visit a OR DMV throughout each of these applications.

Let’s hit the pedal and go!

Getting a Learner’s Permit in Oregon

The learner’s permit is available for those age 15 and residents of the state. Non-U.S. citizens can apply to get their learner’s permit, too, by providing legal documentation like a passport. Out-of-state, first-time drivers will follow this same process once they’ve established residency.

Here are the steps you’ll take to get a learner’s permit:

  1. Go to the DMV
  2. Complete an Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card (735-173)
    1. Note: Signed by a parent or guardian
  3. Provide your personal information:
    1. Full name
    2. Social security number
    3. Proof of residency
    4. School enrollment
  4. Pay your fees:
    1. Permit: $23.50
    2. Written test fee: $5
  5. Ace your exams:
    1. Knowledge
    2. Vision
  6. Get your learner’s permit

You will take a Class C knowledge test during the application. This 35-question test examines your ability to answer road safety questions. You will need to answer at least 28 correctly for a passing grade. We recommend reviewing your OR driver’s manual or use online practice tests from approved third-parties.

Failing the written test requires you wait a day before retaking. Failing 4 or more times will have you waiting about a month before you can retry each succeeding time.

Next up is…

Getting a Provisional License in Oregon

In order to get your provisional license after the learner’s permit you will need to have completed either of these items:

  1. 50 hours of supervised driving and a driver’s ed course
  2. 100 hours of supervised driving

…it’s your choice.

You will also need to have held your learner’s permit for at least 6 months before upgrading. When ready, you’ll visit the DMV to upgrade and take a driving and knowledge test.

Here’s what you’ll do at the DMV:

  1. Pass your driver’s test
    1. Or: Show proof of a completed driver’s education course
  2. Provide proof of school enrollment
  3. Hand over your permit
  4. Submit your personal information:
    1. Name
    2. Date of Birth
    3. Social security number
    4. Address/residency
  5. Pay the fees:
    1. License: $60
    2. Road test: $9 (if needed)

You are now free to drive by yourself with some restrictions:

  • No one under 20 (unless family members) or driving between 12 AM and 5 AM for the first 6-months
  • No more than 3 passengers (under 20 years old, unless family) or 12 AM to 5 AM driving (unless with a licensed adult) for the later 6-months

Your license automatically rolls into an unrestricted once you turn 18. Technically, you’re now done with the graduate program and good to go!

If you’re getting a late start, then consider…

Getting an Unrestricted License in Oregon

Those holding a provisional can upgrade to an unrestricted license when they meet the criteria. This includes being at least 18 years old and having enough prior experience behind-the-wheel. Anyone older can jump into getting their license but will take tests (found in the GDL) during the application.

Here are the steps you’ll take to get a driver’s license:

  1. Go to the DMV
  2. Complete an Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card (735-173)
  3. Provide your personal information:
    1. Full name
    2. Social security number
    3. Proof of residency
  4. Pay your permit fees:
    1. License: $60
    2. Written test: $5
    3. Driving test: $5
  5. Ace your exams:
    1. Knowledge
    2. Road
    3. Vision
  6. Get your license

You will take a knowledge test during the application. This examines your ability to identify road signs and how you should react. We recommend reviewing your OR driver’s manual or use online practice tests from approved third-parties.

Second, you will take a road skills test when applying, testing your ability to control the vehicle and practice safe driving. Get behind-the-wheel practice through a driver’s education course.

Finally, you will get a vision screening verifying your sight.

Pass these requirements and the unrestricted license is yours!

Congratulations! You’re Done!

You’ve completed your journey in getting an Oregon driver’s license. You began with a learner’s permit, upgraded to a provisional license, and finally got unrestricted privileges. In 8 years, you’ll need to process a license renewal but until then… keep driving safe!

What’s next? Consider registering a vehicle in your name.

You’ll want auto insurance during the registration and throughout your time on the road. Check with local insurance providers or use our OR insurance guides for full details!