Getting a driver’s license in Delaware isn’t as difficult as you may think. This article will discuss how to get your Delaware driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, and motorcycle license. Continue reading to learn how to obtain your driver’s license in Delaware!
Types of Delaware Driver’s Licenses
There are multiple types of driver’s licenses in Delaware. Here’s what you need to know about these different driver’s licenses.
- Class D – standard Delaware driver’s license that is required to operate private vehicles
- Non-Commercial Class A – for vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) that exceeds 26,000 lbs. and a towing capacity of more than 10,000 lbs.
- Non-Commercial Class B – for vehicles that have a GVWR that exceeds 26,000 lbs. and a towing capacity of fewer than 10,000 lbs.
Delaware Driver’s License Requirements
Before you make your way to your local Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles (DE DMV), you need to determine if you are required to apply for a new DE driver’s license.
You must obtain a Delaware driver’s license if:
- You are a current resident of Delaware who has never obtained a driver’s license
- You are a new resident of Delaware and want to apply for a Delaware driver’s license or transfer your out-of-state driver’s license
- You intend on operating any of the non-commercial Class A or Class B vehicles described above
- You have a legal presence in Delaware and the U.S. (You do not need to have a Delaware driver’s license if you have a diplomatic driver’s license that has been issued by the U.S. Department of State.)
You are not required to have a Delaware driver’s license if:
- You’re at least 18 years old and visiting Delaware with a valid out-of-state driver’s license
- You’re an active military member or dependent who is stationed in Delaware, as long as you attain a valid out-of-state driver’s license, and you haven’t established residency in DE
- You operate farm vehicles off public highways
- You ONLY operate registered off-highway vehicles and snowmobiles without accessing public roads (other than crossing the roads)
Applying for Your Delaware Driver’s License
The driver’s licenses in Delaware are age specific.
To apply for a DE driver’s license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old OR have met the graduated driver’s license (GDL) requirements
- If you’re under the age of 22 and enrolled in a special education course based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP), you are required to adhere to Delaware’s GDL process.
- Hold a DE learner’s permit for at least 10 days
- Be a resident of Delaware
- Be physically and mentally able to safely operate a motor vehicle
- Not be an alcoholic or addicted to narcotics
- Be a legal U.S. resident
Be advised that to apply for a new Delaware driver’s license, you can’t have any discrepancies, such as cancelations, suspensions, revocations, or other legal matters, that would prevent you from obtaining a valid DE driver’s license.
Once you obtain your DE learner’s permit for at least 10 days, you will be eligible to apply for your DE driver’s license. First, you must complete the DE road test and vision screening. You have 6 months from the date you obtain your DE learner’s permit to pass the driving test.
You may be granted an extension for an additional 6 months upon application and paying the $5 fee.
Once you have followed these steps, you can visit any DE DMV office and take your road skills test. You need to bring the following documents with you to the DMV office:
- The vehicle you’ll complete the road test in
- The vehicle’s registration and auto insurance card
- Your immigration documents and Alien Registration number or I-94 number (if you’re a non-U.S. citizen)
- Your DE learner’s permit
- The driver’s license of the individual who accompanied you to the DE DMV office
- Payment for the $40 fee
Your Delaware driver’s license will be valid for up to 8 years. If you are a non-U.S. citizen, your DE license will only be valid for the length of your legal stay in the U.S.
Acceptable Identification Documents in Delaware
In the state of Delaware, there are different types of identification documents you can use when you’re applying for a DE driver’s license.
- Proof of Identity and Legal Presence:
- Certificate of birth (U.S. issued) – It must be an original or certified copy
- Consular report of birth abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N570M, or N-578)
- Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561, or N-645)
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Social Security Card
- W-2 tax form
- SSA 1099 form
- SSA Non-1099 form
- Proof of Delaware Residency
- Utility bills
- Credit card statement
- Auto or life insurance policies
- Voter registration cards
- Proof of Immigration Status
- Immigration Status B-1 (visitor for business)
- Immigration Status B-2 (visitor for pleasure/tourist)
- Those 1-94 holders without a valid INS or USCIS stamp
- Those with invalid or expired immigration or passport documents
- Proof of Name Change
- Delaware divorce decree
- Valid marriage license/civil union certificate
- Court ordered name change document
- Finalized divorce decree stating your legal name
For more information regarding the acceptable documents to prove identity, click here.
Obtaining a Delaware Driver’s License If You’re Under the Age of 18
If you’re a teenager who is applying for your first driver’s license, you must satisfy the requirements of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DE DMV) Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program.
The GDL program consists of both supervised and unsupervised driving practice that will help you develop safe driving skills.
Delaware Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program
You must complete each phase of the Delaware DMV GDL program if you are:
- Younger than 18 years old
- Younger than 22 years old AND currently under an active Individualized Education Program (IEP) for which you obtain special education services
The GDL program consists of the following steps:
- Completion of Driver’s Ed
- Supervised Level 1 Learner’s Permit, which allows:
- Supervised driving with a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old and has obtained a driver’s license for at least 5 years.
- No more than 1 passenger other than the adult supervisor, unless the additional passengers are immediate family members
- Unsupervised Level 1 Learner’s Permit, which allows:
- Unsupervised driving between 6 AM and 10 PM
- Supervised driving at ANY time
- No more than 1 passenger when an adult supervisor is NOT present
- 1 passenger in addition to the adult supervisor (More passengers are allowed if they are immediate family members)
- Full, unrestricted driver’s license
Delaware Driver’s License Age Requirements
The minimum age to start each phase of the Delaware DMV GDL programs are as follows:
- Level 1 DE Learner’s Permit: 16 years old
- Unrestricted driver’s license: IF you have held a permit for at least 12 months
Delaware Level 1 Learner’s Permit
You are eligible to start the Delaware DMV GDL program when you are at least 16 years old and have completed a driver’s education program.
To apply for your Level 1 DE Learner’s Permit, you must visit your local DE DMV with your parent or legal guardian and:
- Provide your Driver’s Ed completion certificate
- Have a sponsor sign your application
- If your parent or legal guardian is acting as your sponsor, they can have their signature notarized and forward the application to the DE DMV. If your sponsor is not your legal or court-appointed guardian, they must sign the application in the presence of a DE DMV employee.
- Provide proof of your identity and legal presence, social security number, and DE residency.
- Pay the $40 driver’s license fee
Driving Restrictions and Behind-the-Wheel Practice
While you attain your Level 1 DE Learner’s Permit, you are required to follow specific restrictions while operating a motor vehicle, depending on how long you’ve had your permit.
During the first 6 months of obtaining your DE Learner’s Permit, you are required to:
- Be supervised by a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old and has held a driver’s license for at least 5 years
- You are not permitted to have more than 1 passenger (other than the supervising adult) UNLESS the passengers are your immediate family members
- Have your sponsor certify that you have practiced driving at least 50 hours of supervised driving. 10 of these hours must include night driving.
Once the first 6 months pass, you are required to:
- Submit your certification of supervised driving hours to the DE Department of Education
- Only operate a motor vehicle unsupervised between 6 AM and 10 PM (outside of these hours, you are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle unless you are driving to church, work, or for school purposes.
- Not have more than 1 passenger in the vehicle if an adult supervisor is not present
- Not have more than 1 passenger in addition to the supervising adult if an adult supervisor is present UNLESS the additional passengers are immediate family members
Be advised that if you violate ANY of the above-listed restrictions, you will receive a learner’s permit suspension, and your total time required to obtain your DE Learner’s Permit will be extended.
Unrestricted Delaware Driver’s License
Your provisional DE driver’s license/Level 1 Learner’s Permit will automatically convert to an unrestricted driver’s license once you:
- Have attained your DE Learner’s Permit/Provisional License for at least 1 year
- Have had no suspensions for at least 1 year
- Have completed your 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours of night driving
Once you meet these criteria, your driving restrictions will be lifted, and you will be eligible to utilize the safe and responsible driving habits you developed during the Delaware DMV GDL program.
All new DE driver’s license applicants are subject to a written and road skills test, but the DE DMV may waive the test in certain circumstances.
Getting Your Driver’s License as a New Resident of Delaware
As a new resident of Delaware, you must transfer your out-of-state or foreign driver’s license to Delaware within 60 days of establishing residency in the state. Keep in mind that if you attain an out-of-state or foreign country driver’s license, you must be over the age of 16 to be eligible to transfer your driver’s license.
You can visit the New Castle, Wilmington, or Georgetown DE DMV office and:
- Surrender your out-of-state driver’s license or provide a certified copy of your driving record (you can keep your foreign driver’s license- if applicable)
- Submit proof of your:
- Identity and legal presence in the U.S. (social security number, 2 documents that prove your Delaware residence)
- Submit proof of any name changes
- Pass a vision exam
- Pass the DE written knowledge exam and driving test (this test may be waived if you have a valid driver’s license from a different state in the U.S. – If you have a driver’s license from Taiwan (Republic of China), Germany, or France, the written knowledge exam and driving test will be waived.
- Pay the required fee of $40 (your license will be valid for 8 years)
The Delaware Written Exam and Road Test
Taking the Delaware Written Exam
The Delaware written exam consists of 30 questions, 24 of which you need to answer correctly to receive a minimum passing score of 80%. The minimum age to apply is 16.
Taking the Delaware Road Test
All Delaware drivers must pass the Delaware road test. This road exam determines how well you can operate a motor vehicle safely. You will be tested on parking, stopping, turning, using your turn signals, and other driving maneuvers.
Non-Commercial Class A or B Driver’s License in Delaware
Non-commercial Class A and Class B driver’s licenses are NOT CDL driver’s licenses. In the state of Delaware, you are required to obtain a Class A or Class B driver’s license to operate a vehicle that is not a traditional vehicle, such as an RV, motor home, and other vehicles that fall in this class.
If you need to apply for a non-commercial Class A or Class B driver’s license in the state of Delaware, you will follow the same steps you would if you were applying for a Class D driver’s license, with minor exceptions.
Married, Divorced, or Name Change?
You may have to provide name change documentation in the state of Delaware if you are applying for a new DE driver’s license or ID card. Keep in mind that you may be required to submit name change documents, such as a marriage license, to be issued a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card in your true full name.
If the name that is present on your identification documents is different from the name you provided on your application, you must submit a document that establishes your true full name. Examples of documents that establish your true full name can include the following:
- A marriage certificate
- Adoption documents that contain the legal name as a result of the adoption
- A name change document that contains the legal name of both before and after the name change
- A certificate, declaration, or registration document that verifies the formation of a domestic partnership
- A dissolution of marriage/domestic partnership document that contains the legal name as a result of the court action
Does the REAL ID Act Impact Residents of Delaware?
Delaware residents are required to obtain a REAL ID-compatible driver’s license by October 1, 2020, if they want to use it to board a domestic flight, enter certain federal builders, or enter military bases. The REAL IDs for the state of Delaware feature a gold circle in the upper right corner. The gold circle indicates that the ID meets the federal regulations that establish minimum security standards.
Is Obtaining a REAL ID Mandatory in Delaware?
No. Obtaining a REAL ID in Delaware is optional. Delaware residents have the option to upgrade their standard Class D driver’s license to a REAL ID if they don’t already have one. However, obtaining a standard Class D Delaware driver’s license means you will not have a REAL ID, and you will not be able to board a flight or access secure federal facilities, including military bases and some federal offices.
A standard Delaware driver’s license will have the words “not for federal identification” printed in the upper right margin of the license. To obtain a REAL ID, you must visit your local DE DMV office in person and bring documentation that proves your U.S. citizenship and residence in Delaware.
The required documents for a REAL ID include:
- 1 proof of identity
- 1 proof of legal presence in the U.S.
- 2 proofs of DE residency
- 1 proof of your social security number (if you have been issued one)
- Current driver’s license (if you are applying to exchange one issued by a different U.S. state)
If you will not be boarding a domestic flight or visiting a federal facility or military base, you do not have to obtain a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID card to perform any of the following actions:
- Operate a motor vehicle
- Visit a hospital or receive life-saving services
- Apply for or receive federal benefits (Social Security Administration (SSA), Veteran’s Affairs, etc.)
- Enter a federal facility that does NOT require ID (post office)
Applying for a Commercial Driver’s License in Delaware
Being able to operate a commercial vehicle means you have to first obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The process for obtaining a CDL is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You also have to adhere to the licensing process in the state of Delaware, which is overseen by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Effective February 7, 2022, per the new federal entry-level driver training requirements, the DE DMV mandates new CDL applicants to complete an entry-level driver training course through an authorized provider. You must complete this training BEFORE applying for your first CDL, upgrading your existing CDL class, or applying for a HAZMAT, school bus, or passenger endorsement.
CDL Eligibility Requirements in Delaware
To qualify for a DE CDL, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old (drivers who are under 21 years of age will be restricted to operating commercial vehicles within Delaware ONLY (intrastate driving).
- Have at least 1 year of driving experience
- Currently, be a resident of Delaware (must live in Delaware full-time)
Commercial Learner’s Permits in Delaware
Before you have the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a big rig, you must earn your commercial learner’s permit (CLP).
When you’re ready to start your journey to obtaining your CLP, you must visit your local DE DMV office and:
- Bring your DE driver’s license
- Have the proper medical documents
- Complete the DE CDL application (provided for you at the DE DMV)
- A form that certifies you are telling the truth about your personal information (birth certificate, social security card, proof of address)
- Consent to a drug test
- Pay the $5 CLP fee
You must also take all required written exams that are necessary for the class of CDL you are applying for and any endorsements you’re applying for at the time. Once you have completed all of the above, you will eligible to obtain your commercial learner’s permit from your DE DMV office. Congratulations!
Delaware CLP Restrictions
Obtaining a commercial learner’s permit is the first step in getting your official CDL, but it comes with specific rules you must follow:
- Your DE CLP will be valid for 1 year
- You are only allowed to operate commercial vehicles while accompanied by an individual who is a full CDL holder
- You must drive on public roads ONLY
- You are required to wait a minimum of 14 days before you can take your skills exam
You are allowed to renew your CLP once, which makes it valid for another 1 year. However, you will have to apply for an extension at your local DE DMV office and pay the $5 fee to renew your CLP.
Obtaining a Delaware Commercial Driver’s License
You must schedule your skills test with your local DE DMV. Keep in mind that you must wait at least 14 days after receiving your CLP before you can complete the skills test. You must arrange to take the skills test in the same class of vehicle you’re applying to operate with your CDL.
Since you will still technically be a CLP holder during this time, you must have a CDL holder accompany you to take the test. The DE DMV will need the following documents:
- Your commercial learner’s permit
- The vehicle’s registration card
- A valid insurance card for the vehicle
- The CDL of the driver who is accompanying you
The skills test will consist of:
- Pre-trip inspection
- Basic controls test
- On-road driving
Once you have successfully completed the above steps, you must pay the appropriate fees. Hooray! You are now an official CDL holder.
CDL Fees in Delaware
The Delaware DMV currently charges the following for CDLs and related services:
- Commercial learner’s permit: $5
- Commercial driver’s license, valid for:
- 5 years: $30
- 8 years: $48
- Endorsements: $5 each
Delaware CDL Medical Requirements
Every Delaware CDL holder needs to be deemed physically fit before they can apply for their CLP. To comply with the current laws, you must inform the state about the type of driving you expect to do as a commercial vehicle operator through the self-certification process.
Based on your self-certification status, you may also be required to complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (Form MCSA-5876), which must be completed by an FMCSA-approved physician.
Submit a Medical Certificate
If you’re a non-excepted driver in the state of Delaware, you are required to submit your Medical Examiner’s Certificate (Form MCSA-5876) to the DE DMV before it expires (usually every 2 years).
You can submit your Medical Examiner’s Certificate:
- By scanning and emailing your certificate to the address listed here.
- Fax your certificate with the words “Attn: CDL Department” to (302) 739-2602
- Mailing it to:
Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
Attn: CDL Department
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19901
Military CDL Test Waivers in Delaware
If you are a recent veteran or currently in the service and would like to apply for a CDL, you can take advantage of a program developed by the DE DMV and the FMCSA that allows certain applicants to have the skills test waived.
To qualify to have the skills test waived, you must be currently enlisted in the military or have been enlisted within 12 months of applying for the waiver AND have some military experience operating commercial vehicles or the military equivalent.
To apply, you and your commanding officer must complete the Application for Military Skills Test Waiver (Form CDL-SKTSTWVR). Take the completed form with you when you are applying for your CLP. Be advised that eligible applicants will still be required to pass all written exams and pay any applicable fees.
Federal Self-Certification Requirements
You must self-certify your type of vehicle operating with the DE DMV. You must self-certify one of the following driving categories:
- Non-excepted interstate
- Excepted interstate
- Non-excepted intrastate
- Excepted intrastate
Applying for a Delaware Motorcycle License
Whether you are a new or existing resident of Delaware, you must obtain a motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle on the roads and highways of Delaware.
New Residents of Delaware
As a new resident of Delaware, you have 60 days to transfer your out-of-state motorcycle license to a DE license with a motorcycle endorsement through the Delaware DMV.
To transfer your out-of-state license with a motorcycle endorsement, you must visit your local DE DMV and complete the following:
- Surrender your out-of-state license or provide a certified copy of your driving record
- Provide proof of your:
- Identity and legal presence in the U.S.
- Delaware residency (2 documents)
- Pass the required exams:
- Vision exam
- Written exam and road tests (if your out-of-state license is expired)
- Pay the applicable license and endorsement fees
If you are under the age of 18, the DE DMV will:
- Issue a graduated driver’s license UNLESS you meet the GDL requirements AND obtained your out-of-state license for over one year.
- Confirm you have completed a driver’s education course that is approved by the DE Department of Education
DE Motorcycle Eligibility Requirements
In the state of Delaware, if you want to operate a motorcycle, you must apply for a motorcycle endorsement on your current Class D driver’s license.
Depending on your age, you may be required to follow different steps when you’re applying for your DE motorcycle endorsement.
If you are:
- At least 18 years old – you can either obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit by passing the written knowledge, road sign, and vision exams, or take a state-approved motorcycle education course and waive the written and road skills test. However, a vision exam is still required.
- Under 18 years old – you must complete a motorcycle education course and have your parent’s signature to earn your motorcycle endorsement.
Delaware Motorcycle Permits
Unless you have chosen to take a motorcycle education course, applicants who are at least 18 years old are required to obtain a DE motorcycle permit, which is valid for 6 months before earning a motorcycle endorsement.
To receive your motorcycle permit, you must visit your local DE DMV office and:
- Pass the written knowledge test, road sign, and vision tests
- Provide the necessary identification documentation (click here for a list of acceptable documents)
- Pay the appropriate motorcycle licensing fee(s)
You are allowed to extend your permit ONCE before the expiration date for an additional 6 months, for a fee of $5. Click here for more information.
Delaware Motorcycle Permit Restrictions
Once you have attained your motorcycle permit, you can practice riding your motorcycle, as long as you follow Delaware’s restrictions, which prohibit:
- Transporting passengers
- Operating your bike between sunset and sunrise
- Riding without a helmet and eye protection
- Using interstate highways
Getting Your Delaware Motorcycle Endorsement
Depending on your age, the steps to obtaining your official DE motorcycle endorsement may differ.
Applicants Under 18 Years Old
If you’re younger than 18 years old, you are required to complete a state-approved motorcycle education course. Upon completion of the course, you’ll receive a Student Completion Card (SCC), which is valid for 6 months.
To obtain your motorcycle endorsement, you must visit your local DE DMV office with the following:
- Student Completion Card
- Required identification documents
- Written permission and signature from your parent or legal guardian
- Payment for all applicable motorcycle licensing fee(s)
Once you meet all the above requirements, you will receive your official DE motorcycle endorsement. Congratulations! You can pay for an endorsement that is valid for 8 years.
If you’re at least 18 years of age, before you visit your local DE DMV office, you must have applied for a motorcycle permit and held it for at least 10 days or completed a state-approved motorcycle education course.
To apply for your DE motorcycle endorsement, you must visit your local DE DMV office and:
- Present your permit and pass the on-road skills test
- Present a Certificate of Completion for the DE motorcycle rider education course for which you are enrolled
- Submit the required identification documents
- Pay all applicable motorcycle licensing fee(s)
Once you’ve completed the necessary steps, you will receive your DE motorcycle endorsement. Hooray! You have the option of paying for a motorcycle endorsement that is valid for 8 years.
Delaware Motorcycle Endorsement Fees
The fees associated with obtaining your Delaware motorcycle endorsement are as follows:
- Out-of-state transfer:
- Driver license: $0
- Motorcycle endorsement: $12
- Learner’s permit renewal: $5
- Endorsement valid for 8 years: $12
If you obtain a motorcycle permit, you will pay your endorsement fee at that time.
Delaware DMV Locations
There are multiple DMV locations across the state of Delaware where you can obtain a DE driver’s license. Here are different DMV offices across Delaware.
Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles – New Castle Branch
2230 Hessler Blvd
New Castle, DE 19720
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Wednesday (11 AM – 7 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles – Dover Branch
303 Transportation Cir.
Dover, DE 19901
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Wednesday (12 PM – 8 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles – Georgetown Branch
23737 Dupont Blvd.
Georgetown, DE 19947
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Wednesday (11 AM – 7 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)