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  • Drivers Permits in South Dakota

    Instruction Permit

    Obtaining a South Dakota license as a teen is either a two-step or three-step process, depending on what age you begin the process. But, don't worry...we'll walk you through the different scenarios.

    Oh, if you're 18 years old or older, the following does not apply to you. Follow the road map described in our Applying for a New License section instead.

    But, for everyone at least 14 years old but less than 18 years old, listen up...

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    For starters, bring a certified copy of your birth certificate, a valid United States passport, or an approved tribe identification card, 1 proof of your Social Security number, and 2 forms of proof of residence to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (DPS) exam station. The DPS provides more information about accepted documents .

    If you're not a citizen of the country, bring a valid Naturalization and Immigration record that vouches for your stay in the United States.

    Also, keep in mind that the examiners reserve the right to ask anyone for more documentation or information than is normally required.

    Now, when you come to the exam station, make sure to bring your parent or legal guardian with you.

    The next thing to do is to complete a South Dakota Driver License/I. D. Card Application .

    Once you've finished with that, you'll need to pass a vision and a knowledge test:

    • Vision

      If you need the aid of glasses or contact lenses to pass this test, then you'll need to wear them when driving. If you fail the test, your eye doctor will need to complete a vision statement that verifies that you see well enough to drive.
    • Knowledge

      This test will quiz you on driving rules, procedures and techniques. You should prepare for the test by thoroughly studying the Driver Manual.

    If you pass both tests and pay the $20 fee, you'll be given an instruction permit valid for 1 year.

    The permit allows you to begin driving! You'll be expected to develop your driving skills and safety awareness level to the point where you're capable of passing the driving test.

    You'll need to have the permit for a minimum of 180 days (continuously).
    However, if you successfully complete an approved state driver education course, you'll only need to have your permit for 90 continuous days.

    The permit has some restrictions. You must have a licensed driver who is a least 18 and has a minimum of 1 year of driving experience sitting in the passenger seat, if you're driving between 6 a.m.-10 p.m. You'll need to have your parent or legal guardian with you if it's between 10 p.m.-6 a.m.

    Once you've held the instruction permit for the required length of time, and if you haven't any traffic violations within the last 6 months, you can move on to a restricted minor's permit.

    Restricted Minor's Permit

    To get this permit, you'll need to pass the dreaded driving test. But, that's what you've been practicing for the last few months, right? Anyway, the test will determine your ability to safely handle routine, everyday driving maneuvers and procedures.

    To take the test, head back to the exam station. Some stations will require you to make an appointment for the test. Driving tests will not begin in the hour before closing time.

    If you pass the test, you'll be given a restricted minor's permit at a cost of $20, which is valid for 5 years. (If you're not a resident of the United States, your license will expire in 5 years or when your visa ends, whichever comes first.)

    This permit has fewer restrictions than the instruction permit. You may drive by yourself between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., as long as you have the permission of your parent or legal guardian. If you want to drive outside of those hours, you'll need to have your parent or legal guardian with you.

    Once you've turned 16, and if you don't have any traffic violations within the last 6 months, you may convert the permit into a license at the exam station.

    Practice Exam

    To give you a heads-up on what to expect on the written exam, DMV.org strongly recommends taking a trial run on a practice test. It will allow you to gauge your road acumen without must-pass-now pressures.

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