A learner's permit is a restricted driver's license issued to someone who is still learning to drive. Typically, a written test is required to obtain a learner's permit.
Before someone can obtain a regular driver's license, most states require that person to have a learner's permit for a certain period of time. All states have a minimum age requirement for learner's permits. Most states also require a passing grade on a written test as an indicator that the driver understands traffic laws, signs and rules of the road.
Restrictions placed on drivers with a learner's permit also vary by state. Generally, a person with a learner's permit will only be allowed to drive when accompanied by a licensed driver. There may also be restrictions on the time of day that a beginning driver may operate a vehicle.