Here you get a paper after you pass both written and driving tests and then you stand in line with the rest of us renewal shmoes to get your plastic picture card and then you can drive all by yourself outa the parking lot. But in some places you get a temporary permit (paper), get your pic taken, and later the plastic comes in the mail. But you use the temp paper card and can drive alone with it until you receive the plastic. -- Also, in huge cities like Chicago, you can get the plastic on the spot ONLY at some DMV branches and not at others. (Because some places don't have the official expensive card molder machine.) Just ask at your local DMV to see which it will be for you in your location. You can also ask about different locations (to get plastic on the spot) because it's a state product not a local one. If you have all your test and ID paperwork, you can be anywhere in most states.