Getting a driver’s license for the first time is an exciting and emotional experience for any teen. Although the process of getting your Connecticut driver’s license may seem complicated, we’ve made it a whole lot easier to understand by explaining the process in a simple, easy-to-follow manner.
New to Connecticut?
Teens aged 16 and 17 years old who already have an out-of-state driver’s license have 30 days from establishing residency in which to transfer to a Connecticut license. You will need to complete an 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course (this includes the 2-hour parent/guardian training).
Once you have completed this course, go to your local DMV Hub office and:
If you hold a learner’s permit from your previous state, you must provide all of the above documents, plus proof of classroom driver training and behind-the-wheel practice, before you can change your learner’s permit to a CT driver’s license. You must also have held your permit for 120 days (if you completed your driver training at a commercial or secondary school) or 180 days (if you completed your driver training at home).
If you have not yet met these requirements, you will need to go through the Connecticut GDL process outlined below.
For more information on driver training requirements, please see the section below on “Driver’s Education in Connecticut.”
About the Connecticut GDL Program
Because many states recognize that teens need extra time and practice to safely learn how to drive, most have implemented graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs. These systems require teens to go through a process of education and training, all the while earning their licenses in stages.
In Connecticut, teens are required to first earn a learner’s permit, then a restricted license, before finally earning their full unrestricted Connecticut driver’s license.
Driver’s Education in Connecticut
Connecticut requires teens to complete driver training in between earning a learner’s permit and a driver’s license. However, the length of training hours depends upon the method in which you choose to take your training course.
You can take driver training/driver’s education through a commercial school, your secondary or high school’s Driver’s Ed program, or at home with your parent/guardian―or you can do a combination of all three methods. The length requirements are:
- Commercial driving school: 30 hours of classroom training, plus 40 hours of behind-the-wheel practice.
- Secondary/high school driver education: 30 hours of classroom training, plus 40 hours of behind-the-wheel practice.
- Home training: 22 hours of classroom-like training, plus the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course (including the 2-hour parent/guardian training) and 40 hours of behind-the-wheel practice.
The commercial and secondary school courses each include the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course and 2-hour parent/guardian training within their curriculum. If you take driver’s training at home, you will need to complete and submit a Driver Education Certificate (Form CS-1) from your Safe Driving Practices course.
If you choose to complete your driver training at home, your trainer must meet the following stipulations:
- Be at least 20 years old.
- Be your parent/guardian, grandparent, or spouse.
- If no parent/legal guardian is present, be a qualified family member related to you by blood (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or step-parent).
- Have held a driver’s license for at least 4 years without any suspensions.
Your parent/guardian must accompany you to the 2-hour parent training before you can take your road test. If they are unable to do so, you will not be able to apply for your license until you are 18 years old.
CT Driver’s License Age Requirements
- 16 years old: Eligible for a learner's permit.
- 16 years old and 120 days: Eligible for a restricted license with driver’s training from a secondary or commercial school.
- 16 years old and 180 days: Eligible for a restricted license with at-home driver’s training.
- 18 years old: Eligible for a full license after completing required adult permit period.
Connecticut Learner’s Permit
To earn a learner’s permit in Connecticut, you must be at least 16 years old. You will need to pass a written knowledge exam, so it’s highly recommended that you prepare in advance by taking a practice test before going to the DMV.
When you’re ready, make an appointment at your local DMV Hub Office. You can do so online with the DMV’s Quick Service Center, or you can utilize a walk-in option at any DMV Hub Office. When it’s time to take your test at the DMV:
- Present two documents showing proof of identification (the DMV provides a list of acceptable forms of ID).
- Provide proof of your Social Security number.
- Show proof of CT residency.
- If your parent/guardian is not present, submit a notarized Certificate of Parental Consent (Form 2D).
- Submit an Application for Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit and/or Driver’s License (Form R-229).
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pass the knowledge test.
- Pay the $40 testing fee and $19 learner’s permit fee. NOTE: If you do not pass your knowledge exam on your first try, you must wait 7 days to retake it, and you will be required to pay the testing fee again.
Once you have your learner’s permit, it’s time to enroll in your driver’s education/driver training course (see section above for driver training details). You must complete either 30 hours (for secondary/commercial training) or 22 hours (at-home training) of classroom instruction, plus 40 hours of behind-the-wheel driving practice with a licensed driver 20 years old or older.
You must also hold your permit for either 120 days (with secondary/commercial training) or 180 days (if you are home-trained) before being eligible for your road test. If you’ve only held it for 120 days, you must also have completed all 30 hours of classroom instruction and the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course with a certified CT driving school in order to take the test.
Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions
With your permit, you may only drive with your parent/guardian or qualified driving trainer who is at least 20 years old and has held their license for at least 4 years. You and your passengers must wear seat belts at all times, and you may not operate a cell phone or a handheld device at any point while behind the wheel.
CT Adult Learner’s Permit
As of January 1, 2013, Connecticut requires an adult learner's permit for first-time drivers who are 18 years old and over, unless you hold a valid driver's license from another state. You must hold your permit for at least 90 days before you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license.
Unlike teen applicants, those over 18 years old are NOT required to complete a classroom driver’s education course, provide any parental consent forms, or have your parent/guardian complete the 2-hour parent training. You WILL be required to complete the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course.
NOTE: Before you apply, it’s highly recommended that you study the CT Driver’s Manual and take a practice test in order to prepare for your knowledge exam.
When you’re ready to obtain your adult learner’s permit, either make an appointment for your exam, or head to your nearest DMV Hub Office and:
Your permit will be valid for 2 years. With your permit, you must complete the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course. When you practice driving, your trainer must be at least 20 years old and have held a driver’s license without suspensions for at least 4 years.
After 90 days, you are eligible to apply for your driver’s license. You will be exempt from the waiting period of 90 days if:
- You are active duty military stationed out of state (you will need to provide your orders and military ID).
- As a teen, you held a learner’s permit for more than 90 days that expired on your 18th birthday, and you are now applying for an adult learner’s permit.
- You held any form of driver’s license in the past (you will need to provide your previous license to the DMV).
Connecticut Driver’s License
Once you’ve had your permit for 120 days or 180 days, and you’ve completed the required driver training, it’s time to head down to one of the DMV Hub Offices for your road test. You can make an appointment to take the road test by calling the DMV Phone Center at:
- (860) 263-5700 (Hartford area and outside of CT).
- (800) 842-8222 (All other areas of CT).
When you’re ready, bring the following items with you to the DMV:
- Your learner's permit.
- A completed Application for Non-Commercial Learner’s Permit and/or Driver’s License (Form R-229). Your qualified trainer must sign the application.
- A Driver Education Certificate (Form CS-1) verifying completion of driver training.
- A vehicle for your road skills exam, along with valid registration and proof of insurance.
- Payment for the $40 exam fee and the $72 license fee.
Once you pass your road test, you will be issued your restricted driver’s license. If you took your exam at a commercial driving school, you must wait at least 48 hours before going to the DMV with your Road Test Evaluation Report and obtaining your license.
If you don’t pass your test on the first try, you can retake it in 14 days. You must still pay the $40 exam fee.
Restricted License Driving Restrictions
With your restricted driver’s license, you must adhere to the following driving restrictions:
- For the first 6 months:
―You may only drive with your parent/guardian, driving instructor, or qualified driving trainer who is at least 20 years old with 4 years driving experience.
- For the second 6 months:
―You may only drive with the people mentioned above, as well as immediate members of your family.
- Until you are at least 18 years old:
―You may not drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless traveling to or from school, work, church, or because of an emergency.
―All passengers in your vehicle must wear a seatbelt at all times.
―You may not operate a cell phone or hand-held device at any point while behind the wheel.
―You may not drive any public service or vanpool vehicle.
Auto Insurance in Connecticut
You must have auto insurance to drive in the state of Connecticut. Since teens still need to gain experience on the roads, it’s important to shop around for the best coverage to ensure that everyone is protected each time they get behind the wheel.
Often, Connecticut teens driving with a learner’s permit are covered under the insurance of the adult driver supervising them―meaning you don’t need to obtain your own policy, or have someone add you to a family policy. However, it is important to contact your insurance company to verify this possibility. If you are not covered under your supervisor’s insurance, it is very important to get an insurance policy that covers you.
Restricted License Insurance
In order to obtain your restricted driver’s license, you must show proof of insurance. You can get your own policy, or you may choose to have your parent add you to their policy.
Be aware that rates can skyrocket when a teen is added to an existing policy, due to their lack of experience and heightened risk of liability. There may, however, be opportunities for you to qualify for discounts on your coverage. For more information, visit the following DMV.org pages:
Other CT Teen Driver’s Licenses
CT Teen Motorcycle License
Teens can get a motorcycle endorsement for their license once they have already obtained a valid CT driver's license at 16 years old. You can also choose to obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit in order to legally practice driving before taking your on-cycle skills exam.
To obtain a motorcycle permit or license:
With a motorcycle learner’s permit, you are able to practice riding during daylight hours only, and without any passengers. You can also choose to bypass the permit and go straight into taking your novice motorcycle safety course (see below). You will not have to pay the $16 permit fee, but you will have to pay the $40 exam fee.
Motorcycle Endorsement Driving Restrictions
If you are under 18 years old, you will need to adhere to the following riding restrictions:
- You may not ride with any passengers for the first 90 days.
―If you are 16 years old or 17 years old, you may not ride with any passengers for the first 6 months.
- You may not drive from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., unless traveling to or from school, work, church, or because of an emergency.
- You may not operate a cell phone or hand-held device at any point while behind the wheel.
CT Teen Moped License
Mopeds are categorized as “motor-driven cycles” in Connecticut. All drivers, regardless of age, may operate a moped with a valid CT driver's license. Teens must always wear a helmet while operating a moped.