Apply for a License (Under 18) in Minnesota
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DVS' online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DVS' most recent updates for the latest information.
How to Apply for Your MN Teen License
Ready for your first driver's license? Congrats! This page will help guide you through the eligibility requirements, forms, documents, and fees you'll need to prepare to give to the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division. Let's get started!
New to Minnesota?
If you're new to Minnesota, you must transfer your license or permit within 60 days. The out-of-state license or permit must be valid, and you must have documents showing completion of a driver's education course in order to transfer.
To transfer a permit:
- Show primary and secondary proofs of identification.
- Present your out-of-state permit.
- Complete a permit/license application with your parent/guardian's signature.
- Pass the written knowledge exam.
- Pay the $15.50 permit fee.
To apply for a Minnesota driver's license with your out-of-state permit:
You must meet the below age requirement and have completed at least 50 hours of Driver's Ed, plus 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training. You must then make an appointment for your road test at your local Driver Exam Station, to which you should bring:
Need your driving record?
If you need to pull your driver history from your previous state to apply for your MN license, jump over to our Driving Records section for help.
- Your out-of-state learner's permit.
- A certified copy of your driving record proving that you've had your permit for at least 6 months.
After you pass your road test, present your certificate, fill out the driver's license application with your parent/guardian's signature, and pay the $18.50 license fee.
If you have not yet earned a learner's permit or permit license, or if you have not completed Driver's Ed in your previous state, you must follow the steps listed below.
What is the Minnesota Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program
In an effort to minimize the risks associated with first-time drivers, many states have adopted a GDL program in which teens must reach certain milestones prior to obtaining their driver's license. Many of these milestones are based on your age and driving experience.
In Minnesota, all drivers under 18 years old must complete the GDL program, which consists of earning an instruction permit, a provisional license, and an unrestricted driver's license.
Driver's Education Requirements
The state of Minnesota requires all first-time drivers to complete a state-approved driver's education course. This course must consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training, including 15 hours at night. Some students may qualify to have their parents home-school them for the classroom portion of their Driver's Ed course.
If your parents take the parents awareness course, then your required behind-the-wheel training drops from 50 hours to 40 hours. The class is about 90 minutes and is offered by drivers education providers. You will need to record all of your practice hours on a Supervised Driving Log which must be signed by your parent or guardian.
For detailed information, please visit our Minnesota Driver's Ed page.
Here's a breakdown by age of the application journey for your MN license:
|Age/Time Period:||Eligible License:|
|15 years old||Eligible for learner's permit|
|16 years old||Eligible for provisional license|
|After 12 months with provisional license||Eligible for full unrestricted license|
ASK DMV.ORG: Permit vs. Provisional... What's the Difference?
Great question! Your learner's permit is just what it sounds like—a tool to learn how to actually drive a car (on the roads, not just in your dreams!). Your permit is temporary, and allows you to practice driving while accompanied by a licensed adult.
Your provisional license, on the other hand, is the next step in the journey—it signals that you've practiced, you've learned, and you're now trusted to drive by yourself. This is a transition license that still carries some restrictions, such as the hours you can drive at night, or how many passengers you can carry... but those will fall off after you've proven yourself to be a responsible driver and can apply for your unrestricted license.
How to Get a Minnesota Learner's Permit
In order to get your instruction permit in Minnesota, you must be 15 years old and have completed the 30 hours of the classroom portion of Driver's Ed. You must also be enrolled in behind-the-wheel instruction.
When you're ready to apply for your learner's permit, head to your local DVS office and:
Practice Makes Perfect!
Strongly consider taking a few practice tests before your written exam. You'll get the nerves out of the way, and set yourself up for success on your first try!
- Present a completed permit/license application with a parental/legal guardian signature.
- Submit 2 documents to prove your identity.
- The DPS provides a list of acceptable documents.
- Submit your Driver's Ed certificate of completion.
- Give your Social Security number.
- Pass the written test.
- There is no testing fee for first two tests; a third test or any thereafter will be $10.
- Pay the $15.50 learner's permit fee.
Your instruction permit is valid for 2 years, and you may renew it if necessary. To renew your instruction permit, return to Driver and Vehicle Services and pay the $15.50 permit fee.
Once you have your learner's permit in hand, you're allowed to practice supervised driving under the following conditions:
- You must be accompanied by a certified driving instructor, your parent/guardian, or other licensed driver 21 years old or older.
- You and all of your passengers must be wearing a properly-fastened seat belt.
- You may not use a cell phone in any capacity while driving—not even with a hands-free device.
You will need to hold your learner's permit for at least 6 months and complete a minimum 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a professional instructor. You will also need to complete supervised driving practice that meets the following minimums:
- 50 hours of daytime driving.
- This drops to 40 hours if your parents took the awareness class.
- 15 hours of night driving.
Before you are eligible to apply for your provisional license. you must submit a Supervised Driving Log signed by your parent or guardian.
How to Get a Minnesota Provisional License
After you've turned 16 years old, and have held your permit for 6 months, you're ready to apply for your provisional license. Make sure you've also completed:
- 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
- 50 hours of supervised driving (15 hours at night).
Make an appointment for your road test at your nearest Driver Exam Station. You'll need to bring:
- A completed license application with parental/legal guardian signature.
- Written parental certification that you completed your 50 hours of supervised driving.
- Two documents proving your identity.
- Certificate of completion from your behind-the-wheel instructor.
- Payment for the $18.50 license fee.
NOTE: There is no driving test fee for the first 2 road test attempts; after that, any re-test will cost $20.
Your provisional license is valid for 2 years. There are a few restrictions to your driving while you carry a provisional license:
During the first 6 months:
- You may not drive between midnight and 5 a.m. unless you're with a licensed driver 25 years old or older, or you're driving between home and school or work.
- You may only drive with 1 passenger under 20 years old, unless you are with your parent/guardian, or the passengers are members of your immediate family.
During the second 6 months:
- You may drive with no more than 3 passengers under 20 years old, unless you are with your parent/guardian.
At all times during your provisional licensing period:
- You and your passengers must wear a properly-fastened seat belt; young children must be in a properly-fastened child restraint system.
- You may not use a cell phone while driving at any time.
You will also need to complete an additional 15 hours of supervised driving with a licensed driver 21 years old or older. You must hold your provisional license for at least 12 months without any tickets or accidents before you're eligible for a full, unrestricted driver's license.
How to Get an Unrestricted Minnesota Driver's License
Once you've had a provisional license for 12 months, or you've turned 18 years old, you can graduate to an unrestricted license by doing the following:
- Complete a license application with parental or legal guardian signature stating that you have completed 10 additional hours of supervised driving.
- Present 2 documents showing proof of identification.
- Pay the $18.50 license fee (this includes a $3.50 credit if you have no violations on your record; otherwise, the standard fee is $31.25).
This license expires when you turn 21 years old.
Our new license checklist allows you to follow the major steps and share your progress along the way.
Auto Insurance in Minnesota
Car insurance is required by law in Minnesota. However, because teen drivers lack the proper experience to prove their safety behind the wheel, adding them to a policy may significantly increase the cost of auto insurance premiums. It is a good idea to check with multiple auto insurance companies to find the best coverage.
Car insurance is required for all Minnesota drivers—including teens.
- Learner's Permit Insurance:
- Teens who are driving with a licensed adult are likely covered under that adult's insurance policy―but this isn't always the case. It is important to contact your insurance company and verify that the teen driver is covered when operating the vehicle with an adult. Otherwise, you should consider getting an insurance policy that covers them.
- Provisional License Insurance:
- Teens in Minnesota are required to show proof of insurance in order to get their provisional driver's license. You may either have your parents add you to their policy (or the family policy), or you may choose to get your own policy. Just be aware that teen policies can be quite expensive.
You may be able to obtain a discount from your insurance company. For more information about discounts, rates, and coverage, check out our following guides:
- Teen Guide to Car Insurance
- Buying Car Insurance for Teens
- Saving Money on Teen Car Insurance
- Adding Teens to Your Car Insurance Policy
- Minnesota Insurance Center
Other Teen Licenses in Minnesota
Teens may be eligible for a few other license types, which are outlined below.