Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Minnesota
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- Class D (regular driver's licenses for all cars and most pickups, farm trucks, motor homes and camping trailers)
- Commercial Driver Licenses (CDL) A, B and C
NOTE: If you are younger than 18 you are required to pass a state-approved driver education program, obtain a permit, and successfully complete a driver's training program prior to applying for a Minnesota license.
Younger than 18―Driver's ed is mandatory in Minnesota.
18 and older―Before applying for a Class D license for the first time you should consider enrolling in a driver education course. Although not required, before taking the written exam it's sensible to enroll in a supplemental course, such as the one offered by our sponsor. These courses teach you the new laws, hone your driving skill, and may make you a safer driver.
Minnesota's Driver Manual is the ultimate study-source for your written exam. Once you've studied the manual and perhaps completed a supplemental course, you may want to test your road-acumen with a few practice tests.
Written tests are available on a walk-in basis at any driver exam station.
Bring with you to the test:
- A certified birth certificate.
- Your Social Security number.
- A Blue Card from any authorized Minnesota driving school.
- Your school ID with photo. If you don't have one, bring your green card, passport or visa.
- A parent or guardian to sign your instruction permit application, provided you pass the written test.
There is no fee, but if you fail two consecutive tests you must pay $10 to take a third test or any subsequent tests.
New residents with valid licenses from other states MUST take a written test and vision check. Bring with you:
- Proper identification.
- Your former state's driver's license.
After you have studied Minnesota's Driver Manual, possibly participated in a supplemental driver's ed course, and have all the documents listed above, you'll visit your local driver exam office to take your written test.
The test consists of 40 questions. You must answer a minimum of 32 questions correctly in order to pass. If you fail, you must wait one day to retake the exam.
NOTE: Headphones are offered, upon request, for hearing-impaired applicants. In addition to English, the test is offered in Hmong, Vietnamese, Somali, Spanish and Russian.
Somewhere down the line you'll need a car to take Minnesota's road test. Having a car will allow you to practice on your own, outside of a driver training program.
Consider a used car that meets your needs as far as price, gas mileage and reliability is concerned. Before signing the deal, be sure to get a vehicle history report. This report can clue you in to any prior accidents, flood damage and even odometer fraud.
Car insurance, regardless if you only hold a permit, is required on any vehicle you drive. Compare rates and learn more about car insurance requirements at our Insurance Center.
If you're new to Minnesota, a road test is not required unless your existing license has been expired for a year or longer.
In all other cases, new license applicants must pass the driving test. Remember to make an appointment with your local driver exam station. When you arrive, be sure to:
- Show proper identification when taking the test.
- Provide a valid instruction permit, if you're under 18, which you must have held for more than six months with no convictions for moving violations or alcohol/controlled substance violations. If all or part of your six months of driving experience occurred in a different state you must provide a certified driving record from that state.
- Provide your White Card (proof of completing a state-approved driver's education course), if you're under 18.
- Provide proof of valid insurance for the testing vehicle.
- Provide a legal, operating vehicle in which to take the test.
Once You Pass
If You Fail
You will be assigned practice time that must be completed before taking the test again. If you fail four consecutive tests you'll be mandated to take six hours of behind-the-wheel training with a certified instructor before being allowed to try the test again.
If you fail two consecutive tests, you'll be charged $20 for the third test and all other subsequent tests.
Your road test score and application receipt will serve as your temporary license until your permanent license arrives in the mail.
Your valid foreign driver's license grants you driving privileges for no longer than the length of your visa. Non-citizens face specific identification requirements, and non-citizen licenses are issued with distinguishing features to classify them as such.
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