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  • Drivers Permits in Rhode Island

    Rhode Island Driver’s Permits

    The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) distributes 2 types of driver’s permits, depending on your age:

    • Limited instruction permit.
    • Instruction permit.

    If you’re a teenager, you will be required to first complete a driver’s education course before you can apply for an instruction permit.

    This page outlines the steps you need to take to obtain your first driver’s permit, then move on to your driver’s license in Rhode Island.

    New to Rhode Island?

    If you’re new to Rhode Island, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days of moving to the state.

    You will need to apply for a RI instruction permit if:

    • Your out-of-state driver’s license has been expired for longer than 1 year.
      OR
    • You are 18 years old or older and have a driver’s license from another country.

    See “RI Learner’s Permit Requirements” below.

    If you completed a driver’s education class in another state, you may be able to transfer your credits to Rhode Island. You must get your course approved by the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) by calling (401) 825-1214.

    Once your course is approved, bring the yellow CCRI certificate you received to the DMV office in Cranston to take your written exam.

    RI Learner’s Permit Requirements

    In Rhode Island, you will be issued one of two learner’s permits depending on your age:

    • Limited instruction permit: 16 to 18 years old.
    • Instruction permit: 18 years old or older.

    Limited Instruction Permit (Under 18 years old)

    If you’re between the ages of 16 to 18 years old, you’ll need to obtain a limited instruction permit.

    Before applying for your limited instruction permit, you will need to complete a Driver’s Ed course offered by the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI). For more information, please refer to our Driver’s Ed in Rhode Island page.

    NOTE: If you completed an approved Driver’s Ed program in another state, you will also need to pass the written exam.

    Once you complete the course and pass the written exam, you’ll be given a certificate of completion.

    Bring this certificate with the following documents to the Rhode Island DMV to apply for your instruction permit:

    • A completed Application for License Identification card and Permits (Form LI-1).
      • Your parent or legal guardian must be with you to sign your application.
    • Proof of your identity (e.g. certified U.S. birth certificate, valid passport).
    • Proof of your Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, denial letter from the Social Security Administration).
    • Proof of your RI residency (e.g. utility bill or payroll check not more than 60 days old).

    A complete list of required/accepted documents can be found on the application form.

    You will need to pay an $11.50 fee for your limited instruction permit. It will be valid for 1 year or until you turn 18 years old, whichever comes sooner.

    Instruction Permit (18 Years Old and Older)

    If you’re 18 years old or older, you must apply for an instruction permit before you can obtain your full driver’s license if:

    • You have never been issued a Rhode Island driver’s license.
      OR
    • Your RI driver’s license has been expired for over 5 years.

    Visit your local Rhode Island DMV office and:

    • Pass the written exam.
    • Submit a completed Application for License Identification Card and Permits (Form LI-1).
    • Show proof of your RI residency (e.g. utility bill or payroll check not more that 60 days old).
    • Proof of your Social Security number (e.g. Social Security card, denial letter from Social Security Administration).
    • Proof of your identity (e.g. certified U.S. birth certificate, valid passport).
    • Pay the $6.50 fee.

    NOTE: A Driver’s Education course is not required for this instruction permit.

    A complete list of required/accepted documents can be found on the application form.

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    Taking the Written Exam

    If you take a CCRI course, you will take your written test as part of your driver’s education. The test is computer-based and will include questions about motor vehicle laws and rules of the road in Rhode Island.

    If you did not take the CCRI course or you failed the CCRI written test, you must take the exam at the main DMV office in Cranston. The test usually takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and you’re allowed a maximum of 90 minutes to do so.

    Limited RI Permit Restrictions

    With your limited instruction permit, you’re allowed to practice driving as long as you are supervised by a licensed driver 21 years old or older who has had their driver’s license for at least 5 years.

    Behind-the-Wheel Requirements

    Your limited instruction permit allows you to begin behind-the-wheel (BTW) training.

    Before you can move on to the next stage of the GDL process and obtain your limited provisional driver’s license, you’ll need to complete at least 50 hours of practice driving (including 10 hours at night).

    These hours must be logged in an affidavit and signed by your parent or legal guardian.

    Rhode Island Provisional Driver’s License

    You can apply for your provisional driver’s license once you:

    • Have held your limited instruction permit for 6 months.
      • You must not have received a moving violation conviction or seat belt infraction during this time.
    • Pass the DMV road test.
    • Have completed 50 hours of driving practice, including 10 hours at night.

    For more information, visit ourApplying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Rhode Island page.

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