Conditions of Eligibility
There are four acceptable reasons for granting a hardship license to a minor applicant: 1. The applicant's family faces an unusual economic hardship and is being deprived of the basic necessities of life. 2. The applicant has an ill family member who needs transportation to medical treatment or the applicant must drive in her place to keep the household running. 3. The applicant is enrolled in a vocational educational program. 4. An immediate family member has died and remaining family members need him to drive temporarily to carry on household routines.
Unusual Economic Hardship
An applicant needs to drive to alleviate an unusual economic hardship if he or she meets one of the following conditions: 1. The applicant is married and maintains his own household apart from his parents or guardian. 2. The applicant is not married, but is the head of a household. 3. The applicant has dependent children and is responsible for their care. 4. The applicant is the only person in the household who is eligible to drive. 5. The applicant is not the head of the household, but the head of the household works out of town and can't return home each day, making it necessary for him to maintain the household. 6. The applicant is attends school and also works to help support his family. It would create a hardship for his parents or guardian to leave their jobs in order to drive him to work, and there is no other transportation available. 7. The applicant needs transportation to and from school and no school bus or public transportation is available. Needing transportation to extracurricular activities does not meet the definition of economic hardship. 8. The applicant works on his parents' ranch or farm, which is the family's primary support, and driving is an essential job function.
Illness of a Family Member
An applicant may qualify for a hardship license when a family member is too ill to drive to medical appointments and treatments, or to complete routine errands that keep the household functioning. The applicant must provide a signed statement from the family member's doctor verifying that he or she should not drive because of her illness.
Enrollment in Vocational Education
The applicant requesting a hardship license in order to attend a vocational school must provide a letter from his school principal certifying that he or she is enrolled and that the course is eligible for academic credit and approved by the Texas Education Code. The principal must also confirm that the applicant needs to drive in order to attend the course.
The Texas Department of Public Safety may investigate or require evidence of the information an applicant gives on the application for a hardship license. The required driver training course must conform to the standards for Driver Education or Motorcycle Operator Training courses for Texas schools. The application for a hardship license must be executed by an authorized adult, with both the adult and minor signing the form, and submitted in person at a drivers license office. Authorized adults are parents, guardians or persons having custody. If the applicant does not have parents, guardians or custodians, the applicant's employer or a county judge may apply on his or her behalf. After an applicant receives approval, he or she must present it within 45 days as authorization to take the driver's license exam. This does not apply to 14-year-olds who applied for early enrollment in driver training classes. The Department of Public Safety may place restrictions on the hardship license if they do not conflict with the original court order or authorization. These restrictions usually specify the time period or geographic area necessary to alleviate the hardship or emergency situation.