Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Minnesota
Teen drivers in Minnesota must comply with the following set of guidelines, rules, and restrictions:
- Farm Work Licenses
- Road Test Check List
Much of Minnesota's approach toward teen driving is shaped by Vanessa's Law, in memory of Vanessa Weiss, a Minnesota teen killed in May 2003 days before turning 16. She died as a passenger in a vehicle that was driven by another teen, 15, who was not licensed. Vanessa's Law applies to drivers under 18, and includes the following provisions:
- Unlicensed teens who receive crash-related moving citations or alcohol or controlled substance citations may not receive a driver license until age 18.
- Once 18, such a driver must pass the driver knowledge test, obtain an instruction permit and hold it for at least six months, then pass the driving test to get a regular license.
- Provisional license holders whose driving privileges are revoked because of crash-related or alcohol/controlled substance violations cannot regain a license until age 18.
- Once 18, such a driver would have to complete the following to obtain a regular driver's license:
- Fulfill reinstatement requirement, including payment of fees that can be as much as $680.
- Complete classroom training part of formal driving education class.
- Passage of the driver's license knowledge test.
- Obtain instruction permit and hold it for three months.
- Complete a behind-the-wheel driver's class.
Teen drivers in Minnesota must also adhere to a Graduated License, which consists of three phases: an Instruction Permit, a Provisional License, and then a Full License.
To qualify for Phase I, the Instruction Permit, Minnesota teen drivers must meet the following requirements:
- At least 15 years of age.
- Completed 30 hours of classroom instruction and enrolled in driving instruction.
- Passing of vision and written tests.
- Completion of application, including parent or legal guardian signature.
- Payment of $10.25 fee.
For Phase II, or the Provisional License, teen drivers in Minnesota must:
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Complete driver education.
- Have possessed an instruction permit for six months with no alcohol or controlled substance violations.
- Pass the road test.
- Complete application for Provisional License.
- Pay fee of $13.25.
For the first six months, teen drivers are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed driver age 25 or older, traveling for employment, or attending a school event for which no transportation is provided. Additionally, only one passenger under the age of 20 is permitted for the first months unless the passenger is a member of the driver's immediate family.
For the second six months, teen drivers may have no more than three passengers under the age of 20 in the vehicle. Exceptions are still made for members of the driver's immediate family, however.
For Phase III and a Full License for teens in Minnesota, the qualifications are as follows:
- Must be at least 18 years of age or have had Provisional License for at least 12 consecutive months without any alcohol or controlled substance violations or crash-related moving violations, or no more than one moving violation without a crash.
- Completed application.
- Payment of $24 fee.
If a Full License applicant is under 18, the parent or guardian who approves the application must also certify that the applicant has driven supervised by a licensed driver 21 years of age or older for at least 10 hours on the Provisional License.
Minnesota also allows teen drivers to obtain a farm work driving license if they are under 21 years of age and qualify under driving, employment, or farm equipment criteria. Teen drivers may test for a farm work license if they have an Instruction Permit and behind-the-wheel training. In addition, these applicants must present a farm work affidavit and property tax statement or rental agreement, as well as an Instruction Permit and a course completion card, at the time of testing for the farm driving permit.
The farm permit allows teen drivers to drive for farm work, during daylight hours, within 20-mile radius of the farm, but not within a city.
To qualify for the road test, Minnesota teen drivers should make sure:
- Applicant is 16 years of age and has original Instruction Permit or plastic Instruction Permit.
- Has completed driver's education and has white course completion card.
- Has held an Instruction Permit for at least six months with no moving violations or alcohol/controlled substance violations.
- Has driven under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age or older for at least 30 hours and at least 10 hours at night.
If all or part of the six months of driving experience occurred in another state, Minnesota teen drivers must present a certified driving record from the other state.
For more information about teen drivers in Minnesota, as well as tips for parents of teen drivers, check the official Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) website.
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