Occupational License

An occupational license, also called an essential need license, is a special type of restricted license issued to individuals whose driver license has been suspended, revoked or denied for certain offenses other than medical or delinquent child support.

NOTE: Individuals may still qualify for an occupational license even if their driver license has been suspended for surcharges.

An occupational license authorizes the operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle in connection with an individual’s:

  1. Work,

  2. School-related activities, or

  3. Performance of essential household duties.

Request an Occupational License

Requests for an occupational license must be made to the Justice of the Peace, county or district court where the individual lives or to the court of original jurisdiction where the offense occurred.

An application, also known as a petition, is available for free from the Travis County Law Library and can be found at TexasLawHelp.org. Please consult with your local court before submitting to ensure this petition will be acceptable for the issuance of the court order.

If the Justice of the Peace, county or district court determines the individual is eligible to apply for an occupational license, then a court order will be issued. The court order is not the occupational license. A court order is only the order which authorizes the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to issue the occupational license.

If you are in Bexar County, use the link below to view the Petition for Occupational Driver License.

Issuance of an Occupational License

The court order and all required items must be submitted to DPS before an occupational license will be issued. The court order may be used as a driver license for 45 days from the date of the judge’s signature while the request for an occupational license is processed.

Individuals must submit the following items to DPS:

  1. A certified copy of the petition and a certified copy of the court order granting the occupational license.

    1. The judge has the authority to grant an occupational order.

    2. If the individual is participating in a special drug court program, then the petition is not required.

  2. A Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22).

  3. Payment of reinstatement fees.

  4. Payment of the occupational license fee. $10/year.

    1. An occupational license is typically issued for one year or less; the maximum length of issuance is two years.

    2. The court must grant the issuance of an occupational license beyond one year.

Waiting Periods

An occupational license is issued once the request is processed unless one of the following situations applies:

  1. The individual’s driver license was previously suspended as a result of an alcohol- or drug-related offense then there is a 90-day waiting period.

  2. The individual’s driver license was in suspension as a result of an intoxication-related conviction then there is a 180-day waiting period.

  3. There are at least two administrative license revocations on the individual’s driver record then a mandatory one-year waiting period applies.

Individuals Not Eligible

If an individual’s driving privilege is currently suspended, revoked, cancelled or denied under any law in the State of Texas, then an occupational license will not be issued to operate a commercial vehicle.

DPS Mailing Address, Fax Number and Email Information

Required documents can be submitted by mail, fax or email. All documents submitted by email must be in PDF format. Individuals must write their name, date of birth and driver license number on all documents so their record can be properly identified.

Mailing Address:

Texas Department of Public Safety
Enforcement and Compliance Service
P.O. Box 4087
Austin, TX 78773-0320

Fax Number:  512-424-2848

Email:  driver.improvement@dps.texas.gov
(Documents must be submitted in PDF format.)

Pay Fees and Submit Compliance Documents

Individuals who cannot pay fees online can mail their payment with the required compliance documents to the address below. Individuals must write their full name, date of birth and driver license number on all documents submitted and may include a copy of their suspension notice so their driver record can be identified. Please allow 21 business days for processing.

Mailing Address:

Texas Department of Public Safety
Central Cash Receiving
P.O. Box 15999
Austin, TX 78761-5999

If you have questions regarding your driver license contact the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) customer service Monday -Friday 7:30am – 6:00pm.

For English call: (512) 424-2600
For Spanish call: (512) 424-7181

Communication of information by, in, to or through this Web site and your receipt or use of it (1) is not provided in the course of and does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney.   You should not act upon any such information without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter. 

Talk to your attorney to petition for an occupational driver license.