Drivers Permits in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has a graduated driver's licensing (GDL) system for all teenage drivers.

As a teen driver, you are required to complete each stage of the GDL system before you can become a fully licensed driver.

The first stage is the Minnesota learner's permit, which allows you to drive while supervised to get the skills and practice you need before taking your road test.

New to Minnesota?

When you move to Minnesota, you have 60 days to transfer your out-of-state driver's license or learner's permit.

Depending on your age and several other factors, you may either upgrade to an intermediate driver's license or transfer your learner's permit.

Upgrade to a MN Driver's License

If you have an out-of-state learner's permit, you may be eligible to apply for a MN driver's license if:

  • You are at least 16 years old.
  • You have held your out-of-state learner's permit for at least 6 months.
  • You have completed a Driver’s Ed class that meets MN state requirements of:
    • 30 hours of classroom instruction.
    • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction.

Visit your local MN DPS office and:

  • Complete an application form.
    • Your parent/guardian must sign your application.
  • Provide a certified copy of your driving record to show you've had your learner's permit for at least the last 6 months.
  • Submit your out-of-state Driver's Ed certificate of completion.
  • Provide your out-of-state learner's permit OR proof of your identity.
  • Pass the written permit test.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass the road test.
  • Pay the $46 fee.

See our page Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Minnesota for more detailed information.

Transfer Your Learner's Permit

If you have an out-of-state learner's permit but you are NOT ready or eligible for a Minnesota driver's license, you can apply for a MN learner's permit instead.

You will need to visit your local MN DPS office and:

  • Provide 1 document of primary identification AND 1 document of secondary identification.
    • Primary forms:
      • Certified birth certificate.
      • Valid U.S. passport.
    • Secondary forms:
  • Submit your out-of-state learner's permit.
  • Pass the written knowledge test. See “About the MN Permit Exam" below for more information.
  • Complete an application form (requires your parent or guardian's signature).
  • Pay the $29.50 permit fee.

NOTE: You are NOT required to complete Driver’s Ed to transfer your out-of-state permit. However, you will need to have completed a driver's education class in order to apply for your intermediate driver's license.

Apply for Your MN Learner's Permit

To be eligible to apply for a Minnesota learner's permit, you must:

  • Be at least 15 years old.
  • Have completed the classroom component of a Driver's Ed course and be enrolled in the behind-the-wheel component.

Step 1: Take the Written Test

You must pass the written knowledge test and a vision test to receive your learner's permit. Knowledge tests are given at exam stations throughout the state.

Ace Your Exam on the First Try!

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When you go to take the test, you will need to bring:

  • 1 document of primary identification AND 1 document of secondary identification.
    • Primary forms:
      • Birth certificate.
      • U.S. passport.
    • Secondary forms:
  • Your Driver's Ed “Blue Card" (certificate of enrollment).
    • The certificate must show you have completed the classroom section and are enrolled in the behind-the-wheel section.

For more details about the test itself, see “Taking the Written Test" below.

Step 2: Apply for Your Learner's Permit

Once you pass the written knowledge test, you can apply for a learner's permit at a licensing office or at selected exam stations.

To apply, you'll need all documents listed above that you presented for your written test (see “Step 1" above), PLUS:

  • Proof you have passed the written permit test.
  • A completed permit application form.
    • Your parent or guardian must be with you to sign the form, or you must have their signature notarized.
  • Payment for the $29.50 learner's permit fee.

Additionally, you'll need to pass a vision exam when you apply.

About the MN Learner's Permit Exam

The written permit test is given on paper, but can be taken on a computer at some testing locations.

NOTE: Only computerized tests are offered in languages other than English.

The written test consists of multiple-choice and true-or-false questions that cover:

  • Minnesota traffic laws.
  • Road signs.

To pass the test, you must score at least 80%.

Failing and Retaking the Permit Test

If you do not pass the learner's permit test the first time, you can take it again. Keep in mind:

  • You can take ONLY 1 test per day.
  • There is no charge for your first 2 tests, but subsequent tests will cost $10 each.

To prepare for the knowledge test, the DVS says to review the Minnesota Driver’s Manual or you may want to opt for an online practice test. These helpful study assistants will prepare you to pass on your first attempt.

Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions

Once you have your Minnesota learner's permit and get behind the wheel, keep in mind that you face several restrictions while driving.

  • You can drive ONLY when supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and seated next to you.
  • You CANNOT use a mobile phone or hands-free device while driving unless it's for an emergency.

Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements

You must complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice while you have your learner's permit, including 15 hours of driving at night. A licensed driver who is at least 21 years old must supervise these hours.

If your parents or guardian complete the parent awareness course, this course is about 90 minutes, then your required supervised driving time drops from 50 hours down to 40 hours. This course is offered by driver education providers throughout the state.

When you apply for your intermediate driver's license, your parent or guardian must certify that you completed these hours by signing your Supervised Driving Log.

For more information, see our Driver’s Training in Minnesota page.

Next Step: Minnesota Intermediate License

To be eligible for your intermediate driver's license in Minnesota, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have held your learner's permit for at least 6 months.
  • Have had no moving, alcohol, or drug violations.
  • Complete the required supervised driving hours (see “Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements" above).
  • Complete Driver’s Ed (both classroom AND behind-the-wheel segments).

More information is available on our page Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Minnesota.

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