Occupational Licenses

An occupational license is a special restricted license issued after a driver’s license has been suspended or revoked for certain offenses. An occupational license authorizes the operation of a non-commercial motor vehicle in connection with a person’s occupation, for educational purposes, or in the performance of essential household duties.

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

If the 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.

The process of obtaining an occupational license can take some time, effort, and money. The Law Office of Abe Factor is prepared to guide you through this process and secure an occupational license for you where the law allows it. Call Abe Factor today at 817-333-2222.

Texas Administrative Code
Title 37 Public Safety and Corrections
Part 1 Texas Department of Public Safety

Chapter 15 Driver License RulesSubchapter

A Licensing Requirements 

Rule 15.7 Occupational License (Essential Need)

(a) An occupational license authorizes the driving of any noncommercial motor vehicle subject to the restrictions imposed and is a special license issued without photograph by the Safety Responsibility Bureau in Austin upon authorization by a district court or county court. It may authorize the driving of any noncommercial motor vehicle:

(1) in the performance of an occupation or trade or transportation to and from such occupation or trade;

(2) for transportation to and from an educational facility in which the person is enrolled; or

(3) in the performance of essential household duties.

(b) The person issued an occupational license is required to carry a certified copy of the court order showing the restrictions imposed by the court along with the license issued by the Safety Responsibility Bureau and is required to show the court order and license to a peace officer on request.

(c) The basic requirements for the issuance of an occupational license are:

(1) a certified copy of petition and a certified copy of a legally issued court order finding an essential need for operating a non-commercial motor vehicle as provided in subsection (a) of this section and setting forth the conditions for such driving;

(2) the filing of an SR-22 and the maintenance of such proof of financial responsibility; and

(3) the payment of all required reinstatement fees.

(d) The fee is $10 for up to one year. If the suspension or revocation is over one year the applicant can apply for a two year occupational license if permitted by the court order and submits an additional $10 fee for the second year. If the suspension is an automatic suspension or a safety responsibility suspension which has become effective, an additional statutory reinstatement fee is required with the SR-22 form.

(e) The expiration date will be shown on the license and will be the first of the following dates:

(1) when the suspension ends; or

(2) first anniversary of the court order granting the occupational license, unless the applicant submitted the additional fee for the subsequent year.

(f) A certified copy of the court order by itself may be used as a restricted license for a period of 30 days from the date of the order.

(g) If the suspension or revocation is still in effect after the expiration of the occupational license, the individual may apply to renew the occupational license for one year by submitting an application and a $10 fee. The applicant must have a court order authorizing the occupational license for the extended period. This can either be the original court order granting the occupational license for the entire suspension revocation period or a separate court order extending the time period for the occupational license.

(h) An occupational license cannot authorize the operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

(i) Subsequent suspension/revocation action taken by the department will result in the suspension/revocation of all driving privileges including driving privileges granted by an occupational driver license. The department will notify the licensee of the cancellation. Any subsequent occupational license issuance will require a court order addressing the new suspension/revocation action.

Source Note: The provisions of this ?15.7 adopted to be effective January 1, 1976; amended to be effective January 29, 1985, 10 TexReg 172; amended to be effective November 27, 1990, 15 TexReg 6501; amended to be effective May 10, 2000, 25 TexReg 4190; amended to be effective October 30, 2000, 25 TexReg 10746; amended to be effective December 25, 2003, 28 TexReg 11342.