Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in New Hampshire

Applying for a Teen License in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the process for obtaining a driver's license is regulated by the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Taking the first step toward getting out on the roads by yourself is a big milestone for any teen. This page will give you the steps to follow and forms to bring, so that the process is a little easier to navigate.

If you're over 18 years old and you're looking to get your first New Hampshire driver's license, please visit our page on applying for an adult driver's license.

New Hampshire REAL ID Driver's Licenses

The New Hampshire DMV has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses. As of October 1, 2020, the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—a standard license will not after this date.

You have the option to apply for a REAL ID-compliant or non-compliant license in New Hampshire, though the DMV highly encourages you to obtain a REAL ID. Application info for both credentials is outlined below. For further details, visit the DMV's guide to NH REAL IDs.

New to New Hampshire?

You must have a valid out-of-state driver's license to transfer to New Hampshire— the state does not transfer or accept driving/learner's permits. Once you are a new resident in New Hampshire, you will have 60 days to transfer your out-of-state license to the New Hampshire DMV. You must meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 16 years old.
  • You have completed a state-approved driver's education course, either in New Hampshire or in your previous state, that meets the state's requisites for Driver's Ed (see “Driver's Education in New Hampshire" below for details on requirements).
    • Please call the Driver Education office at (603) 227-4075 to determine whether your out-of-state Driver's Ed course will satisfy NH requirements.
  • You have completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving practice.

If you've satisfied all of the above, you may apply to transfer your out-of-state driver's license for a NH Youth Operator License. Follow the steps listed below to apply for your NH license.

About the New Hampshire GDL Program

New Hampshire is one of many states that implement a graduated driver licensing (GDL) program, which gives teens greater levels of driving privileges and responsibilities as they reach different ages. In New Hampshire, the levels of the GDL program are slightly fewer than those in other states, as New Hampshire does not require teens to obtain a learner's permit before getting an intermediate driver's license.

The components of NH's graduated licensing program are the completion of driver's education, followed by obtaining a Youth Operator License, before obtaining a full driver's license.

Driver's Education in New Hampshire

Driver's education in New Hampshire is required for all drivers under 18 years old. The program must be state-approved and consist of:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction.
  • 10 hours of driving practice with a certified driving instructor.
  • 6 hours of driving observation.

Along with the required driving practice that is completed during Driver's Ed, you must also log an additional 40 hours of supervised practice with your parent/guardian or other licensed adult driver. Of those hours, 10 hours must be driven at night. All hours must be documented on the Driver's Out-of-Class Log Sheet (Form DSMV 509).

Once you have completed your driver's education course and logged your driving hours, you may apply for your Youth Operator License.

NH Teen License Age Requirements

  • 15 1/2 years old: Allowed to drive with a qualified driver.
  • 16 years old: Eligible for Youth Operator License.

New Hampshire Youth Operator License

Practice Driving – Age 15 1/2

As stated above, New Hampshire does not issue learner's permits. However, if you are at least 15 1/2 years old, you may practice driving with a licensed supervising driver at least 25 years old. In order to practice, you must:

  • Always carry proof of your age in the vehicle while practicing driving.
  • Practice in a non-commercial passenger vehicle.
  • Always have your parent, guardian, or another qualified supervising driver in the front seat, with their driver's license/proof of age with them.

Applying for Your License – Age 16

At 16 years old, you're eligible to take your road test to get your Youth Operator License. Make sure you have:

  • Completed a state-approved driver's education course (see “Driver's Education in New Hampshire" above).
  • Completed at least 40 hours of supervised driving, with 10 hours driven at night.

When you're ready to apply, visit your local New Hampshire DMV office with your parent/guardian BEFORE 3:30 p.m. to take your knowledge and vision tests. The DMV does not make appointments for the knowledge/vision exams, and has a 3:30 p.m. cut-off time for walk-ins.

Do I need a REAL ID driver's license?

It's entirely your choice whether to get a REAL ID or not. The key difference between the licenses is this: After October 1, 2020, you won't be able to use a standard driver's license as federal identification. So if, for example, you want to get on an airplane, enter a federal building, or get on a military base, you'll need to bring your passport or birth certificate with you as a secondary ID.

If you want to be able to do all of that with just your driver's license, then bring an extra residency document and get a REAL ID.

At the DMV office:

  • Fill out and submit an Application for Driver's License (Form DSMV450), complete with the following information:
    • Your legal name and date of birth.
    • Your Social Security number.
  • Provide:
    • Proof of your:
      • Identity—1 document for a REAL ID, 2 documents for a non-compliant license.
      • NH residency—2 documents for a REAL ID, 1 document for a non-compliant license.
      • Social Security number (1 document) for a REAL ID.
    • A certificate of completion from your Driver's Ed course (must be the original green copy issued by your instructor).
    • Your Driver's Out-of-Class Log Sheet (Form DSMV 509) with your parent/guardian's signature.
    • A Parent or Guardian Authorization Certificate (Form DSMV 38), signed by your parent/guardian to provide consent.
  • Pass the:
    • Knowledge test.
    • Vision test.

Taking Your Road Test

At this point, you will schedule an appointment to take your road test—appointments cannot be made before you have passed your knowledge and vision tests. Depending on what time you took your exams, you may be able to schedule your road test for the same day. Otherwise, you'll need to return to the DMV at your appointed time to take your behind-the-wheel road test.

After you pass your road test, you'll need to:

  • Pay the $50 license fee (cash, credit/debit card, or check/money order made payable to “State of NH – DMV").
  • Have your photo taken.

You'll be given a temporary paper Youth Operator License that is valid for 60 days. The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles will mail you your permanent license to your home address. Your Youth Operator License will expire when you turn 21 years old.

You can share and track the major steps towards your full driver's license with out New Hampshire new license checklist.

NH Youth Operator Licensing Driving Restrictions

With your Youth Operator License, you may NOT drive:

  • Between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
  • With more passengers in your vehicle than there are available seat belts.
  • For the first 6 months, with more than one passenger under 25 years old who is NOT an immediate member of your family.
    • If you are driving with more than one passenger under 25 years old you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 25 years old.

NH Teen Motorcycle License

To obtain a motorcycle license as a teen driver in New Hampshire, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Have completed a state-approved driver's education course (see “Driver's Education in New Hampshire" above).
  • Have obtained a NH Youth Operator License.

NH Motorcycle Permit

You will first be issued a NH motorcycle permit before testing for your motorcycle endorsement, unless you choose to take a NH Motorcycle Rider Training Program (see below for details). To obtain your permit, go to your local DMV office and present:

  • Your New Hampshire driver's license.
  • A completed Application for Driver's License (Form DSMV450), with the box checked for “Motorcycle Endorsement."
  • Payment for the $30 permit fee.

You will need to pass a vision test and a written motorcycle knowledge exam. Your permit will be valid for 45 days or until you get your motorcycle endorsement.

NOTE: You can also attend a Motorcycle Rider Training Program in place of obtaining a motorcycle permit. Please see “Motorcycle Rider Training Program" below for more details.

NH Motorcycle Endorsement

When you're ready to obtain your motorcycle license, schedule an appointment for your on-cycle road exam by calling (603) 227-4020. Please note that once your appointment is scheduled, it will happen regardless of weather.

After you've passed your NH motorcycle skills test OR you've completed Motorcycle Rider Training Program (see below), you may then go your local DMV office and submit:

  • Your NH driver's license.
  • A completed Application for Driver's License (Form DSMV450), with the box checked for “Motorcycle Endorsement."
  • EITHER your motorcycle skills test results certificate of completion, OR a completion card from your training course.
  • Payment for the $30 license fee, UNLESS you have obtained a motorcycle permit within the last 12 months; in which case, your fee will be waived.

NH Motorcycle Rider Training Program

You may enroll in New Hampshire's Motorcycle Rider Training Program in lieu of obtaining a motorcycle learner's permit. First-time applicants for a NH motorcycle endorsement will take the Basic Riders Course. If you are under 18 years old, you will need to have your parent or guardian sign a Motorcycle Safety Course Waiver and Indemnification (Form DSMV624) for you to attend.

For more information, please visit the NH DMV's page on the Motorcycle Rider Program.

Forms

DSMV450
Application for Drivers License or Non-Driver ID Card
Apply for an original, renewal, OR duplicate NH driver's license, identification card, motorcycle endorsement, OR limited privilege license.
DSMV 38
Parent or Guardian Authorization Certificate
Parental consent form required for NH driver's license applicants who are minors.
DSMV 509
Drivers Out-of-Class Log Sheet
Minors must submit this completed driving log to the New Hampshire DMV to prove they completed the required number of supervised driving hours as part of applying for a driver's license.
DSMV624
Motorcycle Safety Course Waiver and Indemnification
You must sign this form when enrolling in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course as part of applying for a New Hampshire motorcycle license or endorsement.
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