The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division is responsible for teen and adult licensing. Getting your first driver’s license is a memorable experience for any teen… but there are a few steps you have to complete before achieving this important milestone in your life.
New to Minnesota?
If you’re new to Minnesota, you must transfer your license or permit within 60 days. The out-of-state license or permit must be valid, and you must have documents showing completion of a driver's education course in order to transfer.
To transfer a permit:
- Show primary and secondary proofs of identification.
- Present your out-of-state permit.
- Complete a permit/license application with your parent/guardian’s signature.
- Pass the written knowledge exam.
- Pay the $14.25 permit fee.
To apply for a MN driver’s license with your out-of-state permit:
You must meet the below age requirement and have completed at least 30 hours of Driver’s Ed, plus 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. You must then make an appointment for your road test at your local Driver Exam Station, to which you should bring:
- Your out-of-state permit.
- A certified copy of your driving record proving that you’ve had your permit for at least 6 months.
After you pass your road test, present your certificate, fill out the driver’s license application with your parent/guardian’s signature, and pay the $17.25 license fee.
If you have not yet earned a permit or license, or if you have not completed Driver’s Ed in your previous state, you must follow the steps listed below.
About the Minnesota Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program
In an effort to minimize the risks associated with first-time drivers, many states have adopted a GDL program in which teens must reach certain milestones prior to obtaining their driver’s license. Many of these milestones are based on your age and driving experience. Below you will find the unique requirements for getting a first time driver’s license in the state of Minnesota, which consist of earning an instruction permit, a provisional license, and an unrestricted driver’s license.
Driver’s Education in Minnesota
The state of Minnesota requires all first-time drivers to complete a state-approved driver’s education course. This course must consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training, including 10 hours at night. Some students may qualify to have their parents home-school them for the classroom portion of their Driver’s Ed course.
For detailed information, please visit our Minnesota Driver’s Ed page.
- 15 years old: Eligible for instruction permit.
- 16 years old: Eligible for provisional license.
- 12 months with provisional license: Eligible for full license.
Minnesota Instruction Permit
In order to get your instruction permit in Minnesota, you must be 15 years old and have completed the 30 hours of the classroom portion of Driver’s Ed. You must also be enrolled in behind-the-wheel instruction.
When you’re ready to apply for your permit, head to your local DVS office and:
- Present a completed permit/license application with a parental/legal guardian signature.
- Submit two proofs of identification (the DPS provides a list of acceptable documents).
- Submit your Driver’s Ed certificate of completion.
- Give your Social Security number.
- Pass the knowledge test (there is no testing fee for first two tests; a third test or any thereafter will be $10). Strongly consider taking a practice test to give yourself plenty of preparation before taking the knowledge exam.
- Pay the $14.25 permit fee.
Your permit is valid for 2 years, and you may renew it if necessary. Once you have your instruction permit in hand, you’re allowed to practice supervised driving under the following conditions:
- You must be accompanied by a certified driving instructor, your parent/guardian, or other licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- You and all of your passengers must be wearing a properly-fastened seat belt (or, if driving with children, they must use a properly-fastened child restraint system).
- You may not use a cell phone in any capacity while driving (not even with a hands-free device).
You will need to hold your permit for at least 6 months and complete a minimum 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a professional instructor. You will also need to complete 30 hours of supervised driving practice, with 10 hours being at night, before you are eligible to apply for your provisional license.
MN Provisional License
After you’ve turned 16 years old, and have held your permit for 6 months, you’re ready to apply for your provisional license. Make sure you’ve also completed:
- 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
- 30 hours of supervised driving (10 hours at night).
Make an appointment for your road test at your nearest Driver Exam Station. You’ll need to bring:
- A completed license application with parental/legal guardian signature.
- Written parental certification that you completed your 30 hours of supervised driving.
- Two documents proving your identity.
- Certificate of completion from your behind-the-wheel instructor.
- Payment for the $17.25 license fee.
NOTE: There is no testing fee for the first 2 road test attempts; after that, any re-test will cost $20.
Your provisional license is valid for 2 years. There are a few restrictions to your driving while you carry a provisional license:
During the first 6 months:
- You may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless you’re with a licensed driver 25 years old or older, or you’re driving between home and school or work.
- You may only drive with one passenger under 20 years old, unless you are with your parent/guardian, or the passengers are members of your immediate family.
During the second 6 months:
- You may drive with no more than 3 passengers under 20 years old, unless you are with your parent/guardian.
At all times during your provisional licensing period:
- You and your passengers must wear a properly-fastened seat belt; young children must be in a properly-fastened child restraint system.
- You may not use a cell phone while driving at any time.
You will also need to complete an additional 10 hours of supervised driving with a licensed driver 21 years old or older. You must hold your provisional license for at least 12 months without any tickets or accidents before you’re eligible for a full, unrestricted driver’s license.
Unrestricted Minnesota Driver’s License
Once you’ve had a provisional license for 12 months, or you’ve turned 18 years old, you can graduate to an unrestricted license by doing the following:
- Complete a license application with parental or legal guardian signature stating that you have completed 10 additional hours of supervised driving.
- Present 2 proofs of identification.
- Pay the $17.25 license fee (this includes a $3.50 credit if you have no violations on your record; otherwise, the standard fee is $23.25).
This license expires when you turn 21 years old.
Auto Insurance in Minnesota
Car insurance is required by law in Minnesota. However, because teen drivers lack the proper experience to prove their safety behind the wheel, adding them to a policy may significantly increase the cost of auto insurance premiums. It is a good idea to check with multiple auto insurance companies to find the best coverage.
Instruction Permit Insurance
Teens who are driving with a licensed adult are likely covered under that adult’s insurance policy―but this isn’t always the case. It is important to contact your insurance company and verify that the teen driver is covered when operating the vehicle with an adult. Otherwise, you should consider getting an insurance policy that covers them.
Provisional License Insurance
Teens in Minnesota are required to show proof of insurance in order to get their provisional driver’s license. You may either have your parents add you to their policy (or the family policy), or you may choose to get your own policy. Just be aware that teen policies can be quite expensive.
You may be able to obtain a discount from your insurance company. For more information about discounts, rates, and coverage, visit the following DMV.org pages:
Other Teen Licenses in Minnesota
Minnesota Farm Work License
Farming is an important part of life in Minnesota. If you work on a farm, you can get a special license as long as you are 15 years old and have completed a Minnesota Driver’s Ed course.
You will need to go to your local DVS office and:
- Have your parent/guardian complete a Farm Work License Affidavit (Form PS30188).
- Provide proof of your Social Security number.
- Present a property tax statement and/or a rental agreement.
- Present your Driver’s Ed certificate of completion.
- Pass the road test.
- Pay the applicable fees.
With your farm permit, you may drive only:
- To perform work for your parent/guardian.
- During daylight hours.
- Within 20 miles of your farmhouse.
- In cities with a population of less than 100,000 people.
Minnesota Special Medical License
Teen drivers may be issued a special medical license if there are no other licensed drivers in the family or household, and the family requires the teen to drive for personal medical needs or those of a family member.
To be eligible you must:
- Be at least 15 years old.
- Have completed a driver’s education course.
Your parent/guardian must provide a written statement asserting why you must drive, and a letter from your/their physician with details of the medical condition in question. You will then need to take a road test, after which you’ll be issued your license.
Minnesota Teen Motorcycle/Moped Licenses
In order to get a motorcycle permit or license in Minnesota, you must have a valid Minnesota driver’s license―you may not earn a motorcycle permit or endorsement with an instructional permit.
You must also complete the Basic Rider Course (BRC), for which you may enroll with just an instructional permit. Just remember that you will need to get your driver’s license before applying for your motorcycle endorsement. The Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center provides a list of locations where you can take your course.
Once you’ve passed the BRC, go to your local DVS exam station and:
- Present your instruction permit and valid proof of identification.
- Submit your BRC certificate of completion for your knowledge exam (you will receive 2 certificates from your BRC course―one for your knowledge exam, and the other for your on-cycle skills exam).
- Pass the state knowledge test.
- Pay the $21 motorcycle permit fee.
You will be issued your motorcycle instruction permit, which you may use to practice until you feel ready to take your motorcycle skills exam. At that point, you must make an appointment at your local DVS exam station with both your driver’s license and motorcycle permit, and:
- Submit your BRC certificate of completion for your on-cycle skills exam.
- Pass the motorcycle skills test.
- Pay the $21 motorcycle endorsement fee.
You can get a moped license at 15 years old after you have completed a state-approved moped safety course. To learn more about motorized bicycles and mopeds, visit our guide on Minnesota Scooters and Mopeds.