What is a hardship license? Hardship licenses, also known as Minor Restricted Driver Licenses (MRDL), give early driving privileges to Texas teenagers who seriously need them. By seriously needing them, it’s not an issue of simply wanting the ability to get around. When it affects you and/or your family’s well-being then a hardship license is considered appropriate.
If that sounds like something you need to look into this quick guide will tell you who’s eligible and how to apply for a hardship license in Texas.
Texas Hardship License Requirements
How to get a hardship license in Texas? A hardship license isn’t given out to any 15-year-old that applies. In order to qualify, your situation needs to fit one of the following:
- Not having a license will result in unusual economic hardship for your family.
- There’s been a death-related emergency.
- You need a license because a member of your family is ill or disabled.
- You’re enrolled in a vocational program that requires a drivers license.
Education, health, income - those three things are what will be considered when the Texas hardship license application is received.
But that isn’t the only requirement. You will still have to:
- Take a drivers ed course.
- Get an instruction permit.
- Meet the same licensing requirements as other teenagers.
But you can get all that done at the age of 15 instead of 16 years old. If you’ve already completed a drivers ed course and gotten an instruction permit the next step is filling out the application.
Steps for Filling Out a Texas Hardship License Application
If you believe you meet all the state requirements, fill out the application (called the DL-77). The form is available online, but it will need to be printed and filled out in ink.
Step 1. Applicant Information
This is all the basic information like name, birth date, hair color, eye color, etc. You’ll also need to provide your social security number and place of birth.
Step 2. Contact Information
All the essentials like address, phone number and email. You can also list up to two emergency contacts with their information.
Step 3. Questions Required for All Applicants
Answer eight yes/no questions. Five of the eight questions are regarding whether or not you want to make a donation to a charitable organization.
Step 4. Questions Required for Drivers License Applicants
The next set of seven questions are for people who want some sort of drivers license. They are medical history questions that are meant to gauge if you are physically fit to drive.
Step 5. Vehicle Registration and Insurance Information
If you own a vehicle that needs to be registered in Texas you’ll need to answer “yes” to the questions in this section.
Step 6. Applying for Hardship License Under the Following Provisions
Select one of the four options.
Step 7. Additional Information
You’ll have to answer three more questions related to meeting drivers license requirements. The name and contact information for the applicant’s mother and father must also be supplied along with the names and license numbers of all household members.
Depending on the hardship option that’s selected, you’ll have to provide additional information to prove the hardship. For example, if you select option #3 (sickness, illness or disability of family members) you must provide a physician’s statement. There’s a section where you can explain in detail why you need to get a Texas driver license and why no one else is available to provide you with transportation.
School activities (like being on a sports team or in the school band) are great, but be warned that the Texas DPS does not consider missing these types of voluntary activities an extreme hardship. Extracurricular activities aren’t a good enough reason for teen drivers to get licensed early. You’ll need to convince the DPS that not being licensed to drive a motor vehicle on your own puts you or your family in a state of hardship.
Step 8. Signatures
At the very end of the second page the minor applicant needs to sign and date the form. The signature acknowledges that the minor applicant received education on the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Since the DL-77 is an official form and the applicant is a minor, a parent or guardian will need to sign it as well. The parent or guardian is signing off on being accountable for the minor applicant.
Bring your signed hardship license application along with all the regular license application items to your local Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) office. If you meet all of the requirements you should be deemed eligible and receive a Texas hardship license.