In Texas, a person gets a motorcycle license by meeting the requirements necessary for a regular driver's license and then applying for a Class M license. A person cannot drive a motorcycle solely with a regular motor vehicle license. They must take an approved motorcycle safety course and bring the certificate of completion to the driver license office.
If the person has a valid motorcycle license from another state, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will waive the motorcycle safety course requirement. The motorcycle safety course completion certificate is valid for two years from date it was issued.
Vision, Knowledge and Drive Tests
DPS may require a vision test, a knowledge test and a drive test to obtain a Texas motorcycle license. The motorcycle knowledge test is waived for drivers who present a valid motorcycle safety course completion certificate as of January 12, 2015.
A motorcycle drive test cannot be waived for an applicant under 18, even if the person already has a motorcycle license or endorsement in another state or country.
An individual is required to take a motorcycle drive test unless they are:
- 18 years or older, have completed a motorcycle safety course and hold a valid unrestricted Texas Class A, Class B or Class C license.
- 18 years or older and are transferring a valid unrestricted motorcycle license from another state or province of Canada.
- Applying for a motorcycle learner license (J restriction).
Cost for Texas Motorcycle License
The amount of time it takes to get a motorcycle license in Texas depends on what license the person currently has and the tasks they must complete. Once the applicant has all their documents and sends them to DPS, DPS will mail the person’s new Class AM, BM or CM license (Class A, B or C license with a motorcycle endorsement) within 45 days.
The fee for a motorcycle license varies depending on the type of license the driver requests.
Type of License
Cost and Rules
Motorcycle with driver's license (Class AM, BM or CM only)
Motorcycle license (Class M only)
Learner license for motorcycle (Class M only)
A license holder who is delinquent on their child support payments must contact the Attorney General of Texas to make arrangements regarding this situation. If they do not, their motorcycle license or driver's license plus motorcycle endorsement can be suspended, revoked or denied.
License Requirements for Minor Motorcyclists
A minor between the ages of 15 and 17 can obtain a motorcycle license. Before enrolling in the motorcycle safety course, they must meet one of these three requirements:
- Have a Class C learner license and have completed the 32-hour classroom phase of a driver education course.
- Present a certificate of completion of the classroom phase (32 hours) of a driver education course.
- Have a provisional driver's license.
The behind the wheel portion of the driver education course is not required to take the motorcycle safety course or apply for a Class M license.
Application Requirements for Minors
An applicant must be at least 15 years old and may be restricted to operating a motorcycle with no more than a 250 cubic centimeter piston displacement. The restriction can be removed on the applicant’s 16th birthday. Applying for a Class M license as a minor involves:
- Applying in person at a Texas driver license office and completing requirements for an original applicant if applicant does not have current Texas driver license.
- Presenting a motorcycle safety course (MSB-8 or MSB-8R) completion certificate.
- Submitting a high school verification of enrollment and attendance (VOE) form. A VOE form requires a stamped or computer-generated signature of the school official.
- Being accompanied by a parent, who must provide an authorization signature.
- Passing a mandatory skills exam.
In addition, the minor must present one of these documents:
- Class C provisional license.
- Driver Education form (DE-964) verifying 32 classroom hours or a completion certificate.
- Parent-taught driver education students must present Parent Taught Driver Education form (PTDE-964) verifying 32 hours of Driver Education.
- Class C learner license and DE-964 showing completion of a 32-hour driver education course.
The applicant must provide the motorcycle and a car and driver to follow the applicant during the driving test for a motorcycle license.
Motorcycle Learner License (J Restriction)
A motorcycle learner license gives a person the opportunity to practice operating a motorcycle when a licensed motorcycle operator 21 years of age or older is “in sight” and watching. To apply for a motorcycle learner license, a person must meet all of the requirements necessary to get a learner driver's license.
They must also complete a motorcycle safety course and take the certificate of completion for this course to the driver license office when applying for a motorcycle learner license.
A minor must take a motorcycle drive test to remove the J restriction. A 15-year-old can apply for a Class M license, but will have an I restriction placed on their license. This restricts them to driving a motorcycle with 250 cubic centimeter piston displacement or less. At 16, the driver can apply at a driver license office to have the I restriction removed. When the restriction is removed, the minor can ride any type of motorcycle.
Texas Driver Living Out of State
A person 18 years or older who is currently living outside of Texas and wants to add a motorcycle endorsement to a Class A, B or C Texas driver's license must complete a motorcycle safety course approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. They must also mail certain documents to DPS in Austin:
- Completed out-of-state driver's license application. (Application must be completed for new Class M driver license.)
- Motorcycle safety course completion certificate.
- Proof of Texas residency.
DPS accepts checks, money orders or cashier checks, but not cash for the required fee. An active duty military without a Texas address must include a copy of their military ID. Active duty military members are exempt from the Texas residency requirement. The new Class AM, BM or CM license will be mailed within 45 days.
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Motorcycle License
- Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation: Motorcycle and ATV Operator Safety, Find a School Near You
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Driver License Fees
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Out-of-State or Out-of-Country Renewal/Replacement/Change of Texas Driver License or Identification Card (DL/ID)
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.