Applying for a learners permit in South Dakota is the first step toward obtaining a full driver’s license. The state Department of Public Safety (DPS) issues its drivers permit for purposes of preparing teenage drivers for their first driving credential.

Note that the permit issuance procedure is part of the state Graduated License Program (GLP), which includes several licensing stages. While progressing through the GLP phases, applicants will progressively qualify for driving credentials with less restrictions.

To obtain a DMV learners permit in SD, minor drivers will have to meet certain requirements, such as passing the licensing tests and submitting the necessary paperwork. Holders of this permit license will also have to abide by certain restrictions, which will vary depending on whether the driver is holding a Stage 1 or a Stage 2 permit.

Learn more about the state learning license credentials by reading the following sections.

South Dakota Learners Permit Eligibility Guidelines

Teenage drivers will successfully apply for a South Dakota drivers learners permit only if they meet the full set of requirements imposed by the state DPS. The following list outlines the standard drivers permit requirements that must be fulfilled to obtain the initial instruction permit

  • Be a state resident who is at least 14 years of age.
  • Pass the DPS knowledge test and the vision screening.
    • You will be exempted from taking the knowledge exam if you complete an approved driving course.
  • Have parental permission to apply for a permit.
  • Submit the necessary supporting paperwork.

When collecting the paperwork needed for an SD instruction permit, you will first have to obtain the main proof of identity, birth date and lawful U.S. presence, such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate or applicable non-citizen document. Then, you will have to get one proof of your Social Security status, such as a Social Security card, and two documents proving your state residency, such as utility bills or bank statements.

If you later apply for a Stage 2 learners permit, also known as the DPS restricted minor’s permit, you will also have to meet additional requirements. In such cases, you will have to hold your first permit from three to six months, avoid committing a traffic infraction and pass the road skills test.

How to Apply for a Learners Permit in South Dakota

The process of getting learners permit in South Dakota can be completed in person through any DPS licensing location within the state. If you are wondering how to apply for a learners permit, follow these steps:

  1. Complete a driver education course, if you need the training and you would like to be exempted from the knowledge exam.
  2. Visit a nearby DPS office that processes permit applications.
  3. Present the required list of paperwork.
  4. Fill out the South Dakota Driver License/ID Card Application.
    1. Mark the instruction permit box.
    2. Have your parent fill out the parental consent section.
  5. Pass the knowledge exam and the vision screening.
  6. Have your photo taken.
  7. Pay the applicable licensing fees.

Note: Certain DPS locations allow you to schedule your visit.

The department will issue your SD drivers permit as soon as it verifies that you meet the full set of requirements. To obtain a Stage 2 restricted minor’s permit, on the other hand, you will only have to present your initial instruction permit and pass the driving exam, provided you are not exempted from taking the test by completing a driving course.

The South Dakota Drivers Permit Test

Passing the South Dakota drivers permit test is an important step when applying for an instruction permit. The state learners permit test will contain questions about the state road rules and regulations and various safe driving practices. To pass the test, license applicants will have to answer correctly at least 80 percent of the test questions.

To adequately prepare for the DMV permit test, novice drivers will be required to study the relevant sections of the state driving manual, since it provides information on all the topics covered by the exam. However, by studying with a drivers permit practice test, you will greatly increase your chances of passing the written exam on your first try. These study exams are offered by third-party providers and designed to reflect the official written exam.

South Dakota Driving Permit Rules and Restrictions

Novice drivers must abide by the driving permit rules in South Dakota when operating their vehicle in order to avoid violating the state motor vehicle laws. The severity of the restrictions will vary depending on the type of learning permit you obtain. For instance, when operating a vehicle with the Stage 1 instruction permit, you will have to:

  • Avoid using a mobile telephone or any other wireless device.
  • Drive while accompanied by a licensed driver older than 18 years of age with at least a one-year driving experience.
  • Drive between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. while accompanied by a legal guardian or a parent.

Slightly different learners permit rules apply if you are operating a vehicle with a Stage 2 restricted minor’s permit. In such cases, you can drive unaccompanied between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, you will still be prohibited from using a wireless device or driving alone after 10 p.m.

South Dakota Learner Permit Fees

Paying the South Dakota learner permit fee is one of the last steps in the application process. If you are wondering how much does it cost to get your permit, note that you will be required to pay the standard permit cost of $28. This fee remains the same regardless of whether you are getting a Stage 1 instruction permit or a Stage 2 restricted minor’s permit.

Note that the testing fee is included in the base cost of $28. However, if you fail the test three consecutive times, you will have to repay the application fee.

Note: When applying for a DPS license in person, you can provide your fee payment in the form of cash, check, money order or payment card.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.