Licensing Process

Missouri uses a multi-stage licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.

Instruction Permit

At age 15, teens may apply for an instruction permit in the state of Missouri. Teens and their parent or guardian need to visit the local driver exam office and bring a state-certified copy of the teen’s birth certificate and Social Security number. Teens must pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a road sign and vision test to receive an instruction permit.

An instruction permit holder who is younger than 16 may drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a parent or legal guardian, grandparent or qualified driving instructor. At 16 or older, teens may drive when accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver license. To graduate to the next level teens are required to hold an instruction permit for a minimum of 182 days; have no alcohol-related convictions in the last 12 months and no traffic convictions within the last six months; and must have received 40 hours of practice driving, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving, with a parent or legal guardian, grandparent or qualified driving instructor. Use AAA’s Driving Log to keep track of their practice driving.

Intermediate License

At age 16, teens may obtain an intermediate license if they have: held an instruction permit for at least 182 days; had no alcohol-related convictions in the past 12 months and no traffic convictions within the last 6 months; and must have completed 40 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours of nighttime driving. Teens will have to pass the driving test and will have to retake the vision, knowledge and road sign tests if the previous results are more than a year old. A parent or guardian must accompany teens to sign the application form.

An intermediate licensee may drive unsupervised, but must follow certain restrictions. The teen may not drive between 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., unless driving to or from a school activity or job or in an emergency. During the first six months, the teen may not drive with more than one non-family member who is under age 19. After the first six months, the teen may not drive with more than three passengers who are under age 19 and who are not members of their immediate family. These restrictions do not apply if a teen is driving with an adult, licensed passenger in the front seat. Teen drivers and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.

Full License

At age 18, or within the 30 days immediately preceding their 18th birthday, teens may apply for a full driver license. They must have a valid intermediate license and must satisfy the requirements for an intermediate license, including having no alcohol-related offenses or traffic convictions in the last 12 months. They cannot receive an Under 21 full license if their intermediate license is suspended, revoked or denied when applying for the full driver’s license. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

Licensing Authority

The Missouri Department of Revenue (DoR), is in charge of monitoring licensing for all drivers in the state. The Missouri State Highway Safety Patrol conducts the written exam and road test for the instruction permit and intermediate license.

The DoR provides study materials to help teens get ready for the exams. The DoR keeps track of license status and can suspend a license if a driver gets too many tickets, doesn’t keep insurance on the car or commits other violations.

  • Consider using a parent-teen driving agreement to help enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.