1.

New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.

2. In Person at the DMV

To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.


To apply for a drivers license in Rhode Island, drivers are required to submit an application and pass state-administered exams proving they are capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. In Rhode Island, a DMV license can be requested from the RI Division of Motor Vehicles by submitting a complete application packet in person at the DMV headquarters. All applications must be accompanied by the necessary application fees to be processed.

The process of obtaining a DMV drivers license is different for teen drivers than it is for adult drivers. Minors who would like to drive in Rhode Island must complete a graduated license system that includes three different types of permits (ultimately resulting in a full license). An approved drivers education program must be completed by teen drivers to receive a learner’s permit. Keep reading to learn how you can receive a license in Rhode Island.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Rhode Island as an Adult (18 or Older)

Adults who are applying for a new drivers license for the first time in Rhode Island must first earn an Instruction Permit before they can request a fully unrestricted license. Requesting a drivers license online is not currently possible in Rhode Island. The instruction permit is accessible by submitting the necessary application and supporting documents, in addition to passing the vision and knowledge exams. How to get a drivers license for adults that are new drivers begins with receiving the Instruction Permit. To request an Instruction Permit, drivers over 18 years of age should prepare the application form and necessary processing fee.

In addition, drivers license requirements in RI include adding the following documents to every application packet:

  • Proof of Identity (originals only), such as:
    • Certified birth certificate
    • Valid passport
    • Rhode Island or federally-issued government identification card
    • Certified baptismal certificate
    • Resident alien card
  • Original Social Security Number (SSN) card
  • Proof of RI residency, including but not limited to:
    • Valid Voter Registration Card
    • Utility bill from the last 60 days
    • Personal check or bank statement from the last 60 days
    • Home insurance policy from the last 60 days

Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Rhode Island as an Adult

In Rhode Island, where to get a drivers license for new adult drivers is the Cranston DMV headquarters, regardless of where the applicant lives in the state. What do you need to get your license in addition to the requirements mentioned already? When the applicant has gathered the application material listed above, he or she can take the following steps to receive an Instruction Permit and ultimately a license in RI:

  1. Prepare the necessary supporting documents, including an appropriate form of ID, SSN card and proof of residency.
  2. Print out or pick up an Application for License, Identification Card and Permit (Form LI-1). Complete and sign it.
  3. Prepare the necessary application fee.
  4. Head to the DMV state headquarters in Cranston with all necessary paperwork.
  5. Take the vision test.
  6. Take the computer-based knowledge exam.
  7. Take the road skills exam. Drivers should bring their own vehicle and its documentation, including proof of registration, titling and insurance.
  8. If passed, get your RI Driving Instruction Permit.

Getting a Rhode Island Drivers License as a New Resident

Drivers who have recently moved to Rhode Island need to apply for a drivers license in their new home state within 30 days of taking up residency. If the driving license application is submitted by a driver with a license that is valid or that has been expired for less than one year, the driver must apply for a new license as if he or she is a new driver. Drivers licenses services for applicants with current licenses, however, is more straightforward. These drivers can simply complete the Application for License, Identification Card and Permit (Form LI-1) and gather the necessary supporting documents and application fee to submit the request without having to take the knowledge or road skills test. First-time transfer licenses are valid for up to two years in Rhode Island.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Rhode Island as a Teen (Younger Than 18)

Drivers license information for teen drivers is somewhat different than adult drivers because of the different requirements that teens must meet. Teens must pass a driver’s education program and practice a number of supervised hours behind the wheel to progress through the three levels of learner’s permits currently offered by the RI DMV.

Rhode Island Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens

In order to meet drivers license eligibility requirements and receive a learner’s permit in Rhode Island, minors must enroll in and pass a state-approved driver’s education program in order to qualify for the first level of learner’s permits available in the state. The cost of this course is in addition to the basic drivers license cost and is usually a flat fee no matter where enrolled if participating in a state-certified program. Teens can apply for their first learner’s permit from 16 years of age. The graduated licensing systems for teens in Rhode Island includes three stages:

  1. Limited Instructional Permit
  2. Limited Provisional License
  3. Full Operator’s License

When submitting the DMV license application, the minor must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is willing to sign the application form. At this time, the driver must also take and pass the driving knowledge exam. Once ready to submit the drivers license application, the teen driver must gather many of the same documents required for adult drivers requesting a new license. Documents that must be prepared for the application packet include the following:

  • Completed and signed Application for License, Identification Card and Permit (Form LI-1)
  • Application Fee
  • Driver’s education completion certificate (CCRI Certificate)
  • Proof of Identity
  • Original Social Security Number (SSN) card
  • Proof of RI residency, including those previously mentioned and:
    • Report cards or transcripts
    • School diploma, transcript
    • School ID card

Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Drivers License in Rhode Island

All minors applying for a new drivers license in Rhode Island must first enroll in and complete a state-certified driving education program. These driving license information and safety courses last at least 33 hours and cover a variety of topics that are important to understanding how to safely operate a motor vehicle. State-certified driver education courses generally cost a standard rate of $85 per enrollment and can be taken in-person at locations around the state. More information on programs available near you can be found by contacting the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), who issues the course completion certificates.

Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Rhode Island as a Teen

Young drivers looking for their first learner’s permit who meet the drivers license requirements listed above can follow the same process for submitting an application in-person that adult drivers use. The primary difference in how to get a drivers license is that teen drivers are required to progress through multiple stages before receiving a Full Operator’s License. In short, teen drivers must:

  1. Prepare the necessary supporting documents.
  2. Print out or pick up an Application for License, Identification Card and Permit (Form LI-1). Complete and sign it.
  3. Prepare the necessary application fee.
  4. Head to the DMV state headquarters in Cranston with your parent or guardian with all necessary paperwork.
  5. Have your parent or guardian sign the form in front of a state representative.
  6. Take the vision test.
  7. Take the computer-based knowledge exam.
  8. If passed, get your RI Limited Instructional Permit.

The Limited Instructional Permit is just the first level of DMV drivers license privileges that minors can access in Rhode island. The second stage, the Limited Provisional License, can be requested by:

  1. Gain experience driving. To qualify for the next level, your parent or guardian is required to testify to the fact that you have at least 50 hours of practice driving under supervision, 10 hours of which must have been at night.
  2. Wait at least six months after you received your Limited Instructional Permit.
  3. Submit the LI-1 application form and processing fee.
  4. Pass a road skills test.
  5. If successful, get your Limited Provisional License.

Teen drivers who hold their Limited Provisional Drivers License for another six months without any problems can be eligible to apply for a Full Operator’s License. To complete this step, drivers must return to the DMV with the appropriate material to request the final transition.

Rhode Island Drivers License Costs

The drivers license cost for every applicant varies based on a number of different factors. Here is a list of commonly requested fees for ordering different types of DMV licenses in Rhode Island:

  • Duplicate License: $26.50
  • Duplicate Permit: $11.50
  • First License (age 18 and older): $38.50
  • License Renewal (5 years): $61.50
  • License Renewal (age 71 and older): Prorated
  • Limited Provisional License (under age 18): $23.50
  • Permit Instructional (age 18 and older): $6.50
  • Permit Limited (under age 18): $11.50
  • Road Test: $26.50
  • Transfer License (out of state): $43.50
  • Update License: $26.50
Last updated on Tuesday, December 4 2018.

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