Delaware Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

If you want to drive in Delaware, you are required to obtain the DE driver license. Getting the license is quite easy. All you have to do is collect documentation, understand the material and show your ability to drive. This guide will help you achieve your goal fast.

Get a Learner's Permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get an unsupervised Learner's Permit

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Delaware

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Delaware Class D Driver's License
Class D Operator’s License
This is the usual kind of license. It allows you to drive common passenger cars, station wagons, pickup trucks, utility vehicles, and most panel trucks. You can also operate any single motor vehicle, and a trailer, with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) not greater than 26,000 pounds, which carries less than 16 passengers (including the driver). Read the Delaware Driver Manual or take a free DE DMV practice test.
Delaware Class A/B/C Driver's License
Class A/B/C (CDL)
Class A is for operating vehicle's combinations with the GVWR of the vehicle over 26,000 pounds, and towing a vehicle with GVWR over 10,000 pounds. Class B is for operating a single vehicle with the GVWR over 26,000 pounds. Class C allows you to transport 16 or more persons, or hazardous materials (HAZMAT). Read the DE CDL Driver License Manual or take a free DE DMV CDL test.
Delaware Class A/B Driver's License
Class A/B (Non-CDL)
Non-CDL Class A and B are required for operating the same vehicles as commercial A and B licenses, but only when operating farm, firefighting vehicles, and other authorized emergency vehicles under a CDL waiver. Read the DE CDL Driver License Manual or take a free DE DMV CDL test.

How to Apply for Your DE Class D Driver License

To apply for a Class D driver license you must get a supervised learner’s permit certifying that you passed a knowledge and vision test, then take a road test. This is your complete plan of action depending on your age.

How to Apply for Your Level One Learner’s Permit

The Level One Learner's Permit is the first stage in Delaware's Graduated Driver License Program. It allows you to practice supervised driving for the first six months and later unsupervised driving but with some restrictions. Everyone seeking a driver license must first obtain a learner's permit.

1COMPLETE AN APPROVED DRIVER EDUCATION COURSE

If you attend a public or private school, you may take the course there once for free. If you are being homeschooled, contact the Delaware Department of Education at 302-857-3320 to find out where to take the course. Commercial driving schools offer the course for a fee. If you need to take the course again, you can take an approved adult education course by paying a fee.

Receive a Delaware Driver Education Certificate (Blue Certificate) and present it at a DMV office.

2APPLY IN PERSON

To locate a nearby DMV office, you may use this map of DMV offices. There are no appointments available, just walk in.

3COMLETE THE APPLICATION FORM WITH YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN

Obtain the form at the office and fill it in. Your parent or guardian must sign it in front of a DMV employee. By that your parent becomes your sponsor responsible for any damages resulting from your negligence.

4BRING THE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

Your documents should verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name and date of birth
  • Your lawful presence in the US
  • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or a letter from the Social Security administration, stating that you are ineligible for an SSN
  • Your residency in Delaware (2 documents unless your sponsor is a licensed Delaware driver and lives at the same address as you.)
  • Change of name, if any

Use this interactive guide to choose the right documentation.

5PASS A VISION EXAMINATION

Minimum acceptable vision is 20/40, with or without glasses or contact lenses. Permission for daylight only driving may be granted if your vision is between 20/40 and 20/50.

7PAY THE LICENSE FEE

$40 by cash, check or credit. This fee covers an 8-year driver license and permit.

8RECEIVE YOUR LEVEL ONE LEARNER’S PERMIT

9START YOUR SUPERVISED DRIVING

For the next 6 months you can drive supervised at all times by a driver who is at least 25 years of age and who has held a Delaware driver license for at least the past 5 years.

10COMPLETE 50 HOURS OF DRIVING PRACTICE

Your sponsor must certify that you have driven supervised for 50 hours including 10 hours of night time driving. The certification must be submitted to the Department of Education after the first 6 months of holding your permit.

11DRIVE UNSUPERVISED BUT WITH RESTRICTIONS

Now you are allowed to drive unsupervised and carry one passenger. You may not use a cell phone (not even hands-free) and you and all occupants under 18 years of age must wear seat belts or suitable child restraints. You mustn’t drive unsupervised between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The only exceptions to this restriction are as follows: driving to or from work, or church, or school-related activities.

When you have turned 17 and have driven with your Level One learner permit for at least 12 months, all the restrictions are automatically lifted, and your Level One Learner's Permit is converted to a full Class D driver license.

If you can't prove your legal presence in the US but want to drive in Delaware, you may be issued a Driving Privilege Card (DPC) permit. A DPC is equivalent to a regular driver license for driving purposes. You can find all the application requirements and the procedure at the official DMV site.

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How to Get an Adult License for Level One Learner’s Permit Holders

If you are a Level One Learner's Permit holder of at least 17 years old, but less than 18 years old, your permit will automatically convert to a full Class D operator's license when the following is true about you:

  1. You have held a Level One Learner's Permit for at least 12 months.
  2. Your sponsor (parent or guardian) has not withdrawn his/her consent. He/she may withdraw their endorsement at any time until you reach age 18 or have completed 12 months of the GDL program.
  3. Your driving privileges are not suspended, revoked, canceled, denied, or surrendered. (Note that a period of additional driving experience equivalent to that of the suspension, revocation, cancellation, denial, or surrender will be added to the end of the original 12-month period.)

If you are a Level One Learner's Permit holder of 18 years of age or older, you may also obtain a Class D operator's license by completing the 12-month GDL program or may choose to take the eye, written and road skills exam at the DMV and get your full license earlier.

How to Apply for Your Full (Adult) Driver License

To get a DE driver license, you must first obtain a temporary permit.

First timer? Start with Step 1.

Over 18 and got a temporary permit? Go to Step 7.

Over 18 and got a Level One Learner's permit? You can either wait for the completion of the 12 month GDL program when your permit will automatically become an adult license, or start with Step 4.

1APPLY IN PERSON

To locate a nearby DMV office, you may use this map of DMV offices. There are no appointments available, just walk in.

2COMLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

The form isn’t available online, so obtain the form at the DMV office and fill it in.

3BRING THE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

Your documents should verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name and date of birth
  • Your lawful presence in the US
  • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or a letter from the Social Security administration, stating that you are ineligible for an SSN
  • Your residency in Delaware (2 documents)
  • Change of name, if any

Use this interactive guide to choose the right documentation.

4PAY THE LICENSE FEE AND HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

$40 by cash, check or credit. This fee covers an 8-year driver license and permit.

5PASS A VISION EXAMINATION

Minimum acceptable vision is 20/40, with or without glasses or contact lenses. Permission for daylight only driving may be granted if your vision is between 20/40 and 20/50.

6PASS THE KNOWLEDGE TEST

It consists of rules of the road, and highway sign and signal tests. Take free practice tests here before you go. If you fail the test, you must wait at least ten days before taking the test again.

7GET YOUR PERMIT AND PRACTICE SUPERVISED DRIVING

Your learner’s permit will be issued for six months. You should pass the road test within the six-month period, however, you are permitted one extension of the learner’s permit for an additional six months (submit an application and a fee of $5.00). While driving with your permit, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age.

8PASS THE ROAD TEST

Make an appointment for the road test in advance, either online or by calling the DMV office. Note that you must take your road test not earlier than 10 days after getting the permit.

If you fail, you will have to wait 10 more days before trying again.

9GET YOUR LICENSE AND DRIVE SAFE

Once you have met these requirements, the DMV will issue you a driver license which will be valid for eight years.
If you can't prove your legal presence in the US but want to drive in Delaware, you may be issued a Driving Privilege Card (DPC) license. A DPC is equivalent to a regular driver license for driving purposes. You can find all the application requirements and the procedure at the official DMV site.

Delaware Knowledge Test

You will take the written exam at a DMV office on the same day when you apply for your permit. There are no appointments available.
Take a free practice test
What does the test consist of?
There are 30 multiple-choice questions and you should answer 24 of them correctly. You will be asked to identify certain highway signs only by their shape, color, or the symbols appearing on them. Other questions will be based on Delaware’s rules of the road, motor vehicle laws and safety practices.
How to prepare for the test?
You can find all the information needed for the test in Delaware Driver Manual. Pay special attention to the Rules of the Road section but it is important to study the whole manual. Then take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
Can I use the driver's manual when I take the actual test at the DMV?
Absolutely NOT! This is not an open book test. The purpose of the test is to make sure you understand and apply the rules of the road.
What common mistakes should I avoid?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
What happens if I fail?
You can retake the test in not earlier than 10 days.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during DE road test
Road Test FAQ

This test aims at checking if you have enough skills to drive safely on Delaware roads. Tests are given every weekday, except Wednesday. Don't forget to make an appointment online or by phone for the date not earlier than 10 days after your passed your knowledge test. The road test will last about 30 minutes.

You will not be asked to do anything illegal, the examiner won't try to play a trick on you. Instead, you will just show your driving skills and do things that are usual for normal driving.

You are required to bring a properly registered vehicle and a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age (unless you hold an international driver license). A licensed driver must remain on site to drive the vehicle away in case you fail the test.

Documentation you’ll need

Make sure you bring the following:

  • Learner's Permit
  • Valid driver license of the accompanying driver
  • Valid registration card for the vehicle
  • Valid car insurance card (original or electronic)
Before the test

The examiner will conduct a basic safety inspection of your car.

You are asked to avoid the following:

  • Smoking during the test
  • Use of cell phones
  • Playing music
  • Use of Intelligent Parking Assist Technology (must be disabled)

You should be able to demonstrate how to use different vehicle controls, e.g., parking brake, horn, lights, windshield wipers, etc.

During the test

    Your examiner may ask you to demonstrate any of the following maneuvers:

    • Parallel parking
    • Three-point turn
    • Right and left turns
    • Changing lanes
    • Overtaking
    • Yielding and accepting right-of-way
    • Driving back 50 feet
    • Entering intersections
    • Merging with traffic

    You will also demonstrate that you know how to do the following things:

    • Reacting correctly to road signs, traffic signals and pavement markings
    • Maintaining proper speed
    • Following vehicles and keeping proper distance
    • Inspecting your vehicle for safety
At the end of the test
Upon your return to the DMV office you will be told whether you passed or failed the test. If you fail, you’ll have to wait at least 10 days before taking it again.

How to Replace or Renew Your Delaware Driver License

  • You may renew your license up to 180 days before it expires. The reminder will be sent to you by mail about 60 days before expiration date. Note that there is a $10 late fee for renewals after the expiration date. You can renew your license in person at any DMV office without an appointment.

    Plan of action:

    1. Fill out and submit an application form at a DMV office.
    2. Bring the following:
      1. Your current driver license
      2. Proof of residency (if you moved)

      You may also be asked to verify your Social Security Number and legal presence in the U.S.

      Use this interactive guide to choose the right documentation.

    3. Pass an eye-screening test.
    4. Pay the fee of $40 by cash, check or card. Pay the late fee of $10 if applicable.

    Your new license will be issued for 8 years, with the exception of immigration length of stay and Driving Privilege Card holders.

  • You may renew your license by mail only if you must be out of the state because you are in the military, an employee of the Department of Defense or a dependent of someone who is.

    To renew your license by mail, you must provide the following information and items to the DMV:

    1. Your full name.
    2. Your date of birth.
    3. Your Social Security number.
    4. Your driver license number if known.
    5. Your current Delaware address to be placed on your new license. (If you no longer have a residence in Delaware, you may supply the address of a family member.)
    6. Your mailing address.
    7. A contact phone number or email address.
    8. A copy of the military assignment orders for where you are currently stationed or a copy of your Military ID card or Department of Defense/Geneva Conventions ID card.
    9. Your signature.
    10. A check or money order, payable to DMV for $40.00.
    11. A self-addressed, stamped envelope (for faster service).

    Send all the above information and items to one of the following addresses:

    For overnight delivery via FedEx or UPS (not the United States Postal Service):

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: Driver Services Department
    303 Transportation Circle
    Dover, DE 19901

    For delivery via regular mail:

    Division of Motor Vehicles
    Attn: Driver Services Department
    P.O. Box 698
    Dover, DE 19903

  • You are eligible to renew online if

    1. You are over 18 years of age
    2. You haven't lost your driving privileges
    3. You didn't use the self-service kiosk at your last DMV visit

    Plan of Action:

    1. Create MyDMV account if you don't have one.
    2. Follow several easy steps to renew your license instantly 24/7.
    3. Pay the $40 fee for an 8-year license.
    4. Print your temporary paper driver license.

    Receive your new license within 2 weeks of the online process.

New Residents: How to Get the Delaware Driver's License

Once you become a resident of Delaware, you must obtain a Delaware driver license within 60 days.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Delaware?
Are you a Delaware resident?

Delaware defines a resident of the state as a person who has a home in the state and lives in it for more than 183 days of the year.

You are not considered a resident if:

  • You are domiciled in the state but spend less than 45 days out of 18 months here.
  • You spend at least 495 days out of 18 months living in foreign countries.
  • Your family is not domiciled in the state for more than 45 days per year.
  • You are a US government employee or a member of the US armed forces.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Delaware!
Moving from another state?

If you hold a valid driver license that was issued by another US state or the District of Columbia, you will normally not be required to pass the written knowledge test or driving skills (road) test. If you hold a driver license that was issued by a US territory, you will have to pass both tests.

Plan of Action
  1. APPLY IN PERSON

    To locate a nearby DMV office, you may use this map of DMV offices. There are no appointments available, just walk in.

  2. COMLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

    The form isn't available online, so obtain the form at the DMV office and fill it in.

  3. BRING THE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

    Your documents should verify the following:

    • Your identity, including your full name and date of birth
    • Your lawful presence in the US
    • Your Social Security Number (SSN) or a letter from the Social Security administration, stating that you are ineligible for an SSN
    • Your residency in Delaware (2 documents)
    • Change of name, if any

    Use this interactive guide to choose the right documentation.

  4. PAY THE LICENSE FEE

    $40 by cash, check or credit. This fee covers an 8-year driver license.

  5. PASS A VISION EXAMINATION

    Minimum acceptable vision is 20/40, with or without glasses or contact lenses. Permission for daylight only driving may be granted if your vision is between 20/40 and 20/50.

  6. HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

  7. SURRENDER YOUR OUT-OF-STATE DRIVER LICENSE
driver's license in Delaware

Once you have met these requirements, the DMV will issue you a Delaware Class D driver license. Your license will be for eight years.

If your out-of-state driver license is expired, get ready to take the knowledge test at a DMV office.

Drivers under 18 years of age who transfer from another state will be issued a graduated driver license unless their out-of-state license was issued more than one year ago, and the driver has reached at least 17 years of age.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Delaware!

Drivers from other countries don't have to surrender their foreign license when getting a DE driver license.

If you hold a valid driver license from France, Germany, or Taiwan, you don't have to take knowledge and road tests, and the process of transferring your foreign license is similar to transferring an out-of-state license. Follow this guide to an out-of-state transfer procedure.

If you hold a driver license from another country, your procedure is similar to getting a new license, which means you will have to pass both knowledge and road tests. Follow this guide to getting a driver license in Delaware.

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