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  • Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in New Hampshire

    Applying for a Teen License in New Hampshire

    In New Hampshire, the process for obtaining a driver's license is regulated by the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Taking the first step toward getting out on the roads by yourself is a big milestone for any teen. This page will give you the steps to follow and forms to bring, so that the process is a little easier to navigate.

    If you're over 18 years old and you're looking to get your first New Hampshire driver's license, please visit our page on applying for an adult driver's license.

    New to New Hampshire?

    You must have a valid out-of-state driver’s license to transfer to New Hampshire—the state does not transfer or accept driving/learner’s permits. Once you are a new resident in New Hampshire, you will have 60 days to transfer your out-of-state license to the New Hampshire DMV. You must meet the following requirements:

    • You are at least 16 years old.
    • You have completed a state-approved driver’s education course, either in New Hampshire or in your previous state, that meets the state’s requisites for Driver’s Ed (see “Driver’s Education in New Hampshire” below for details on requirements).
      • Please call the Driver Education office at (603) 227-4075 to determine whether your out-of-state Driver’s Ed course will satisfy NH requirements.
    • You have completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice.

    If you’ve satisfied all of the above, you may apply to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license for a NH Youth Operator License. Follow the steps listed below to apply for your NH license.

    About the New Hampshire GDL Program

    New Hampshire is one of many states that implement a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program, which gives teens greater levels of driving privileges and responsibilities as they reach different ages. In New Hampshire, the levels of the GDL program are slightly fewer than those in other states, as New Hampshire does not require teens to obtain a learner’s permit before getting an intermediate driver’s license.

    The components of NH’s graduated licensing program are the completion of driver’s education, followed by obtaining a Youth Operator License, before obtaining a full driver’s license.

    Driver's Education in New Hampshire

    Driver’s education in New Hampshire is required for all drivers under 18 years old. The program must be state-approved and consist of:

    • 30 hours of classroom instruction.
    • 10 hours of driving practice with a certified driving instructor.
    • 6 hours of driving observation.

    Along with the required driving practice that is completed during Driver’s Ed, you must also log an additional 40 hours of supervised practice with your parent/guardian or other licensed adult driver. Of those hours, 10 hours must be driven at night. All hours must be documented on the Driver’s Out-of-Class Log Sheet (Form DSMV 509).

    Once you have completed your driver’s education course and logged your driving hours, you may apply for your Youth Operator License.

    NH Teen License Age Requirements

    • 15½ years old: Allowed to drive with a qualified driver.
    • 16 years old: Eligible for Youth Operator License.

    New Hampshire Youth Operator License

    Practice Driving – Age 15 ½

    As stated above, New Hampshire does not issue learner’s permits. However, if you are at least 15½ years old, you may practice driving with a licensed supervising driver at least 25 years old. In order to practice, you must:

    • Always carry proof of your age in the vehicle while practicing driving.
    • Practice in a non-commercial passenger vehicle.
    • Always have your parent, guardian, or other qualified supervising driver in the front seat, with their driver’s license/proof of age with them.

    Applying for Your License – Age 16

    At 16 years old, you’re eligible to take your road test to get your Youth Operator License. Make sure you have:

    • Completed a state-approved driver’s education course (see “Driver’s Education in New Hampshire” above).
    • Completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours driven at night.

    When you’re ready to apply, visit your local New Hampshire DMV office with your parent/guardian BEFORE 3:30 p.m. to take your knowledge and vision tests. The DMV does not make appointments for the knowledge/vision exams, and has a 3:30 p.m. cut-off time for walk-ins.

    At the DMV office:

    • Fill out and submit an Application for Driver’s License (Form DSMV450), complete with the following information:
      • Your legal name and date of birth.
      • Your Social Security number.
    • Provide 2 documents showing proof of identity (e.g. original birth certificate or certified copy, valid U.S. passport, current student ID card with your photo).
    • Present a certificate of completion from your Driver’s Ed course (must be the original green copy issued by your instructor).
    • Submit your Driver’s Out-of-Class Log Sheet (Form DSMV 509) with your parent/guardian’s signature.
    • Present a Parent or Guardian Authorization Certificate (Form DSMV 38), signed by your parent/guardian to provide consent.
    • Pass the knowledge test.
    • Pass the vision test.

    Taking Your Road Test

    At this point, you will schedule an appointment to take your road test—appointments cannot be made before you have passed your knowledge and vision tests. Depending on what time you took your exams, you may be able to schedule your road test for the same day. Otherwise, you’ll need to return to the DMV at your appointed time to take your behind-the-wheel road test.

    After you pass your road test, you’ll need to:

    • Pay the $50 license fee (cash, credit/debit card, or check/money order made payable to “State of NH – DMV”).
    • Have your photo taken.

    You’ll be given a temporary paper Youth Operator License that is valid for 60 days. The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles will mail you your permanent license to your home address. Your Youth Operator License will expire when you turn 21 years old.

    You can share and track the major steps towards your full driver's license with out New Hampshire new license checklist.

    NH Youth Operator Licensing Driving Restrictions

    With your Youth Operator License, you may NOT drive:

    • Between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
    • With more passengers in your vehicle than there are available seat belts.
    • For the first 6 months, with more than one passenger under 25 years old who is NOT an immediate member of your family.
      • If you are driving with more than one passenger under 25 years old you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 25 years old.

    NH Teen Motorcycle License

    To obtain a motorcycle license as a teen driver in New Hampshire, you must:

    • Be at least 16 years old.
    • Have completed a state-approved driver’s education course (see “Driver’s Education in New Hampshire” above).
    • Have obtained a NH Youth Operator License.

    NH Motorcycle Permit

    You will first be issued a NH motorcycle permit before testing for your motorcycle endorsement, unless you choose to take a NH Motorcycle Rider Training course (see below for details). To obtain your permit, go to your local DMV office and present:

    • Your New Hampshire driver’s license.
    • A completed Application for Driver’s License (Form DSMV450), with the box checked for “Motorcycle Endorsement.”
    • Payment for the $30 permit fee.

    You will need to pass a vision test and a written motorcycle knowledge exam. Your permit will be valid for 45 days or until you get your motorcycle endorsement.

    NOTE: You can also attend a Motorcycle Rider Training Program in place of obtaining a motorcycle permit. Please see “Motorcycle Rider Training Program” below for more details.

    NH Motorcycle Endorsement

    When you’re ready to obtain your motorcycle license, schedule an appointment for your on-cycle road exam by calling (603) 227-4020. Please note that once your appointment is scheduled, it will happen regardless of weather.

    After you’ve passed your NH motorcycle skills test OR you’ve completed Motorcycle Rider Training Course (see below), you may then go your local DMV office and submit:

    • Your NH driver’s license.
    • A completed Application for Driver’s License (Form DSMV450), with the box checked for “Motorcycle Endorsement.”
    • EITHER your motorcycle skills test results certificate of completion, OR a completion card from your training course.
    • Payment for the $30 license fee, UNLESS you have obtained a motorcycle permit within the last 12 months; in which case, your fee will be waived.

    NH Motorcycle Rider Training Program

    You may enroll in New Hampshire’s Motorcycle Rider Training program in lieu of obtaining a motorcycle learner’s permit. First-time applicants for a NH motorcycle endorsement will take the Basic Riders Course. If you are under 18 years old, you will need to have your parent or guardian sign a release for you to attend.

    For more information, please visit the NH DMV’s page on the Motorcycle Rider Program.

    Teen Auto Insurance in New Hampshire

    It’s essential to maintain the proper insurance coverage for all vehicles in your household, especially when a teen is driving. In most cases, adding a teen to a family policy can cause rates to rise a good deal, as younger drivers lack the experience needed to be viewed as a low risk by insurance companies. On the same token, insuring a teen with their own individual policy can be just as costly, if not more.

    It’s a good idea for families to identify the proper type of policy and coverage necessary for their teen driver. Shop around for the right rate, and make sure that everyone is covered in the event of an accident. If you need more guidance, please feel free to visit any of our following pages designed specifically for teens and parents:

    Teen Guide to Car Insurance
    Buying Car Insurance for Teens
    Auto Insurance Discounts
    Insurance Center in New Hampshire

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