Can You Drive Out of State With a Learner’s Permit?

Teens who have or are planning to get a learner’s permit will naturally wonder what restrictions are in place. There are common car safety restrictions like needing to drive with an adult, for example. However, one rule that many don’t know is whether or not teens can drive out of state. Today, we’ll explore an overview of learner’s permits and their typical requirements, whether drivers can go out of state with it, and the benefits of getting a regular license.

Overview of driver learner’s permits

A new driver with their learner's permit holding up a car sticker
A new driver holding up a car sticker | Peter Titmuss/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

To recap, a learner’s permit is a type of license that has specific restrictions on it compared to a regular driver’s license. It allows younger drivers to drive before they are allowed to get a standard license. Regulations on learner’s permits are different depending on what state you’re in.

In general, you must be at least 15. However, some states like Arkansas allow for learner’s permits at the age of 14, while others require young drivers to be 16 before granting a learner’s permit.

The process for getting a learner’s permit also varies between states, but according to Driving Tests, it usually involves the following:

  • Completing a course
  • Passing a knowledge exam
  • Passing a vision test
  • Identity verification
  • Filling out an application and paying related fees (if any)
  • Receiving consent from a parent or guardian (only applies to minors)

Unlike a regular driver’s license, learner’s permits always have restrictions designed to keep teen drivers safe. For example, those with a learner’s permit must drive with a legal adult who needs years of driving experience and/or be a certain age, such as over the age of 21.

Some states do allow drivers to drive for a short period of time without an adult, but this is generally rare. Usually, an adult with a driver’s license must remain in the vehicle at all times. Some states also have curfew restrictions that prevent teen drivers from driving at night.

Can you drive out of state with a permit?

Considering all the restrictions that learner’s permits come with, a common question is, “Can you drive out of state with a permit?” Teens may want to practice driving in preparation for their driving test, even if they are out of state. Unfortunately, the answer to this is usually no, though state guidelines vary. To verify this, you’ll need to contact your state’s DMV.

In general, this is because the age to get a learner’s permit varies between states, as previously mentioned. For example, if you’re in a state that allows teens to get a learner’s permit at 14, they usually won’t be able to drive in a state that has a minimum age of 15.

Having a valid driver’s license is the best option

Learner’s permits are great for young teens looking to hone their driving skills before getting an unrestricted license. Ultimately, however, getting a license is the best option. This is especially the case for out-of-state driving since almost every state allows you to use your license there.

Of course, if you’re moving to a different state, you will usually have to get a new license for that specific state. However, if you are on a road trip or visiting family, this lack of restrictions allows for much more freedom than you’d have with a learner’s permit. Additionally, having a license will allow you to drive with passengers, alone, or at night. Some other countries even allow you to use your U.S. license as a valid license there, giving you a limited capacity for international travel.

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