Drivers Permits in Maryland
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed office locations, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the MVA's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the MVA's most recent updates for the latest information.
Getting Your Maryland Learner's Permit
In 2011, nearly 2000 teen drivers ages 15 years old to 20 years old were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Eye-opening statistics like this have prompted many states, including Maryland, to introduce a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program.
The first step in the Maryland GDL is to get your learner's permit. Below, you'll learn everything you need to know; from what documents to bring to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), to how an online practice test will help you pass your written exam on your first attempt.
MD REAL ID Driver's Licenses
The Maryland MVA began issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in place of standard driver’s licenses in 2011*. After May 3, 2023, the REAL ID is the only credential that will allow you to continue to use your license for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings. For details on the REAL ID Act, visit the MVA's comprehensive guide.
*Immigrants to the U.S. without required citizenship documents are eligible for a non-compliant driver's license. The MVA provides details on eligibility and application.
New to Maryland?
If you are new to Maryland and have a learner's permit from another state, it cannot be transferred to a Maryland learner's permit. You must complete all of the requirements of the graduated licensing system, including the completion of a certified driver education program and logging the designated number of behind-the-wheel driving hours mentioned below.
Types of Maryland Learner's Permits
It's important to note that there are two types of learner's permits in Maryland:
Type 1 Permit
This type of permit is for those who have never had any type of driver's license. For the most part, this page is dedicated to Type 1 learner's permits because it applies to the majority of first-time drivers.
Type 2 Permit
This type of permit is for those who have already held a license and are applying for a different type of license. These are the basic requirements for this type of permit:
- Age: 16 years and 6 months old.
- Duration: Valid for 6 months.
- Possession: Must be held for a minimum of 14 days prior to taking your skills test.
- Fee: $30.
For more information about a Type 2 learner's permit, please contact the MVA at (410) 768-7000.
Apply for a MD Type 1 Learner's Permit
Now that you know what type of learner's permit you need, you must also complete an approved Driver’s Ed course that consists of:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction.
- 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction and training.
NOTE: You'll need to obtain your learner's permit before beginning the driving component of your driver's education course.
Once you successfully complete your course, your course provider will notify the MVA electronically. Now it's time to head to the MVA to take your written permit test. You must be at least 15 years and 9 months old to apply.
When you're ready, go to your local MVA office and submit:
- A learner's permit application (available at the MVA office).
- Proof of age and identity (e.g. valid unexpired U.S. passport, valid unexpired Permanent Resident Card, unexpired employment authorization document).
- Proof of your Social Security number, OR proof of ineligibility (e.g. original Social Security card, W-2 form not more than 18 months old, pay stub with your name and SSN not more than 18 months old).
- The agent may be able to verify your SSN electronically, but bring your documents just in case.
- Proof of lawful presence in the U.S. (e.g. valid U.S. passport, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, employment authorization document).
- 2 documents proving Maryland residency (e.g. utility bill, checking or savings account statement, canceled check with imprinted name and address).
If you're under 16 years old, you must also provide a completed Learner's Permit School Attendance Certification Form (Form DL-300) to an MVA official during the learner's permit application process. This form must be handed to the MVA in the sealed envelope provided by your school or county Home School coordinator if you were homeschooled.
For more information about the documents listed above, please refer to this list of Sources of Proof.
Taking the Maryland Written Permit Test
Your written MD learner's permit test will be computer-based and administered at your local MVA office. The written exam is based on information about Maryland traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving techniques discussed in the Maryland Driver’s Manual.
There will be 25 questions on the exam, and you must answer 85% of these questions correctly to pass. In addition to taking and passing the exam, you will also be required to pass a vision test and pay the $50 fee. The learner's permit will be valid for 2 years from the day it was issued.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
With your learner's permit in hand, it's time to start polishing your driving skills. During this phase of the GDL, you must
- Log 60 hours of supervised driving time.
- 10 hours of supervised driving time must be at night.
- Record your hours on a Practice and Skills Log by your qualified supervising driver.
- A qualified supervising driver is a parent, guardian, or mentor who is 21 years old or older who has held a valid license for at least 3 years.
This behind-the-wheel driver training is in addition to the 6 hours of driver training you completed during your Driver's Ed course.
MD Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions
As mentioned above, whenever you are behind the wheel, you must always have your learner's permit in your possession and be accompanied by a licensed driver 21 years old or older who has held a valid license for at least 3 years.
You may not use a wireless communication device (e.g. cell phone) at any time while driving with your permit, or you face the suspension of your driving privileges.
Replacing Your Learner's Permit in Maryland
In the event that you should need a replacement learner's permit you'll need to appear at the MVA in person and bring the documents mentioned above. The fee to replace your permit is $20. For more information, please refer to our Replacing a Lost License page.
Your Next Step: Get Your Provisional License
Once you have your learner's permit for a minimum of 9 months, you're ready to continue your quest to get your Maryland driver's license. The next step in the GDL process is to get your provisional driver's license. For more information, please refer to our Maryland Teen Driver's License page.
Now that you have the freedom to experience driving, we urge you to be safe and responsible. Together, we can make our roads a safer place to travel.