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Obtaining an instruction permit is generally the first step that a beginner driver takes toward becoming a fully licensed driver in Minnesota. You are eligible to apply for an instruction permit if you are at least 15 years old and:
- you have never been licensed to operate a vehicle, or
- you are a new resident of Minnesota who has been licensed in another state, but your driver's license has been expired for longer than six months
HOW TO OBTAIN AN ORIGINAL INSTRUCTION PERMIT
- Download a copy of the Minnesota Driver's Manual, or get a hard copy by visiting a local Driver License Center.
- If you are under 18 years of age, you must have completed 30 hours of class room instruction and be enrolled in a behind-the-wheel driving class.
- Applicants under 18 years of age need to get their parent's or guardian's signature on the application.
- Visit your local Driver License Center to submit the application. You must bring with you:
- Proof of identity, age and residency as specified by the DVS. If you have changed your name, you must bring documents that support and clearly indicate your current name.
- Your Social Security card.
- A fee of $12 for the permit payable by cash or check. Credit cards are not accepted.
- You will be given a written knowledge test and an eye screening at the Driver License Center. If you pass these tests, you will be issued an instruction permit, which is valid for two years.
When driving with an instruction permit you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age of 21 or older. This person must sit beside you. You must have your permit with you when driving and all passengers under 18 must wear seat belts. Use of cell phone while driving is prohibited.
THE PROVISIONAL LICENSE
You are eligible for a provisional license if you are at least 16 years of age and meet the following requirements:
- You have held an instruction permit for a minimum of six months without any traffic violations. Applicants 19 or older need to hold the instruction permit for three months only.
- You have a certificate proving you have completed driver education; both class room and behind-the-wheel instruction.
- Your parent or guardian signs your application and certifies that you have completed a minimum of 30 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience ten of which was at night (under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver).
Once you have completed the above requirements you can take the road test. If you pass the road test, you will be issued a provisional license which is valid for two years. There is a $15 fee for the license.
Restrictions when driving with a provisional license:
- You should ensure that all passengers under 18 years of age are wearing seat belts.
- If under 18, during the first six months after getting license you are not permitted to drive between midnight and 5 am unless accompanied by licensed driver 25 or older (except when driving for work or school or emergencies).
- If under 18, during the first six months after getting license you are allowed to carry only one passenger under 20 unless accompanied by parent or guardian. In the next six months you can carry up to three passengers aged less than 20.
THE UNRESTRICTED LICENSE
A full, unrestricted license may be issued when you are at least 18 years old. A provisional driver's license may be changed to a regular, non-commercial driver's license, provided you meet all of the following requirements:
- You have held a provisional driver's license for at least one year.
- You have no convictions for alcohol/controlled substance violations or crash related violations and no more than one moving violation.
- Your parent or guardian signs your application and certifies that you have completed a minimum of 10 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver.
- For more information, see our Beginner Drivers section.
- See also Applying for a Drivers License.
- See also Driver's Education, Driving Schools and Practice Tests.
- Bear in mind that in order to drive legally in the state of Minnesota, you must have valid auto insurance. See our Auto Insurance section for more information, or to obtain a competitive quote on car insurance.