Licensing & State Laws

To get your driver’s license in Missouri, you’ll move through three licensing stages. As you progress, you’ll also need your parents’ permission at each step.

Instruction Permit

When you turn 15, you may apply for an instruction permit. You and a parent or guardian need to visit your local driver exam office and bring a state-certified copy of your birth certificate and Social Security number. Once you pass the written driver’s knowledge test and a road sign and vision test, you’ll be given your instruction permit.

If you are younger than 16, an instruction permit lets you drive only when accompanied in the front seat by a parent or legal guardian, grandparent or qualified driving instructor. At 16 or older, you may drive when accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old and has a valid driver’s license. To graduate to the next level you must meet the following requirements: you must have held 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 6 months; you must have received 40 hours of driving instruction, including a minimum of 10 hours of nighttime driving instruction between sunset and sunrise, with a parent or legal guardian, grandparent or qualified driving instructor.

Intermediate License

Once the above requirements are met, you can receive your intermediate license. Make sure a parent or guardian comes with you to sign the application form.

When you have an intermediate license, you are not allowed to drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., except to and from a school activity, job, or an emergency. During the first 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger who is younger than 19 and who is not a member of your immediate family. After 6 months, you may not operate a motor vehicle with more than three passengers who are younger than 19 and who are not members of your immediate family. These restrictions, however, do not apply if you are driving with an adult, licensed passenger seated next to you. You and all of your passengers must wear seat belts while you’re driving.

Full License

At age 18, or within the 30 days immediately preceding your 18th birthday, you may apply for a full license. You 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. You cannot receive an Under 21 full license if your intermediate license is suspended, revoked or denied when applying for a full license.

Now is a good time to set up a parent-teen driving agreement to help you and your parents establish expectations related to both their rules and those of the state.

For more information on the licensing process, visit the Missouri Department of Revenue.

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 your instruction permit and intermediate license.
  • The DoR provides study materials to help you get ready for the exams.
  • The DoR keeps track of your license status and can suspend your license if you get too many tickets, don’t keep insurance on your car or commit other violations.

Your parents will set rules as you learn to drive. But state and local police are involved, too, enforcing traffic laws and investigating crashes. By enforcing laws and requirements on seat belt use, distracted driving, drinking and driving, and teen license restrictions, police keep everyone on the road safer. Breaking laws can lead to fines, license suspension and other penalties.

  • If pulled over by the police, present your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
  • If stopped as a driver or passenger, always cooperate and be respectful with law enforcement.
  • If in any kind of situation involving law enforcement, talk to your parents about it immediately afterward.

If you get a ticket or are involved in a crash, you may need to appear in court, whether you believe you were at fault or not. This is serious stuff: Judges often assess fines and suspend driving privileges for traffic offenses.

Police and courts are there when things go wrong. You and your parents can help keep things right.

  • Use a parent-teen driving agreement.
  • Keep your parents in the know about who you ride with.
  • Let your parents know when and where you’re headed.