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  • Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in South Dakota

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

    Oh, if you're 18 and older, the following does not apply to you. You'll need to follow the road map described in our Applying for a New License section instead.

    But, for everyone between 14-18, listen up:

    Step One: Instruction Permit

    This is where it begins.

    For starters, you'll need to bring along a certified copy of your birth certificate, a valid United States passport, or an approved tribe identification card and one other acceptable form of identification to the exam station. You'll also be asked to give your Social Security number.

    If you're not a citizen of the country, you'll need to 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 driver license application.

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

    • Vision

      If you require 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 may prepare for the test by thoroughly studying the Driver Manual.

    If you pass both tests and fork over $8, you'll be given an instruction permit that's valid for one 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 at least 18 and has a minimum of one year of driving experience sitting in the passenger seat if you're driving between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. You'll need to have your parent or legal guardian with you if it's between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

    Once you've held the instruction permit for the required length of time, and if you haven't had any traffic violations within the previous 6 months, you may move on to the next step.

    However, this is where age comes into play. If you're under 16, go to Step Two. If you are over 16, skip to Step Three.

    IDS

    South Dakota Drivers Preparation Course

    Think you need a little more help understanding the rules of the road? Our South Dakota Driver's Preparation Course was made just for you! This one-hour course is designed to be a condensed version of your driver's education course, which means you'll get all the information you need in a fraction of the time.

    South Dakota Driver Prep Course $14.95
    South Dakota 100 Question Practice Test
    + Driver Prep Course
    $24.95

    Looking for a specialized driver preparation course? I Drive Safely also provides Motorcycle License Prep Course and Commercial (CDL) Prep Course as well.

    Step Two: Restricted Minor's Permit

    To get this permit, you'll need to pass the dreaded driving test. But, that's why 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. Keep in mind that driving tests will not begin in the hour before the station's closing time.

    If you pass the test, you'll be given a restricted minor's permit at a cost of $8, which is valid for five years. (If you're not a resident of the United States, your license will expire in five 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. and 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 haven't had any traffic violations within the previous 6 months, you may convert the permit into a license at the exam station.

    Step Three: Driver's License

    Well, this is the moment you've been dreaming of (and possibly fearing) over the past few months: the driving test. Your ability to safely handle routine, everyday driving maneuvers and procedures will be carefully watched and graded.

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

    If you pass the test, congratulations! You're now the proud owner of a South Dakota driver's license. (After you pay the $8 fee, that is.) Your license will expire in five years. (If you're not a resident of the United States, your license will expire in five years or when your visa ends, whichever comes first.)

    Miscellaneous

    If you fail any of the tests, you must wait until the next day to try again. You can fail up to three times within a six-month period. After that, you'll have to fill out another application, and start again.

    Additional Information

    For more information about licensing procedures, testing times, and locations,
    call the Driver Licensing Program at (605) 773-3541, or visit the state's teen licensing page.

    You may also send an e-mail to:

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