Driver License – Under Age 18

Graduated License Program

The graduated driver’s license law (GDL) compliments the existing driver’s license program by introducing a provisional license stage for young drivers. It is a multi-tiered program, designed to ease young novice drivers into the driving environment.

The Graduated License Program provides three phases of licensing for persons under 18 years of age:

  • A person who fails the driving test four times must complete a minimum of six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a licensed instructor before taking the skills test again (a valid instruction permit is required).
  • An applicant, who is age 18 and previously licensed, must hold an instruction permit for six months before taking a skills (road) test. Applicants who are 19 or older must hold an instruction permit for three months before taking a skills (road) test.
  • Applicant’s for full licensure, who have no violations on their record, will receive a $3.50 credit off the license fee.

Phase I – Instruction Permit

Applicant Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 15 years of age
  • Must have completed 30 hours of classroom instruction and be enrolled in behind-the-wheel instruction
    Must pass vision and knowledge (written) tests, complete application and pay the required fee
  • Parent or legal guardian’s signature and certification required on application

Conditions

  • Permit holder may drive under the supervision of a certified driving instructor, parent or guardian or other licensed driver 21 years of age or older
  • Every occupant must wear a properly fastened seat belt or use a properly fastened child restraint system
  • The driver with an instruction permit may not use or talk on a cell phone while driving, with or without a hands-free cell phone device

The permit is valid for two years and may be renewed.

It is illegal to practice driving without a valid instruction permit. When you drive, the instruction permit must be in immediate possession.

Phase II – Provisional License

The provisional license is the second phase of the GDL system. Anyone 18 years of age or younger must hold an instruction permit for at least six months before taking a skills (road) test. When you have passed the skills (road) test, you may apply for your provisional license.

To qualify for your provisional license you must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Have completed the classroom and behind-the-wheel phases of driver education.
  • Have held an instruction permit for six months with no convictions for moving or alcohol/controlled-substance violations. Reference Minnesota Statutes:169A.20, 169A.54, 169A.33, 169A.54, 169A.35, 169A.50, 169A.51, 169A.52, 169A.53.
  • Have passed a skills (road) test.
  • Complete a license application and pay the required fee.
  • The person who approves the application must certify that the applicant drove under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age for not less than 30 hours, at least ten of which were at night.

This license is valid for two years from the application date and has restrictions that do not apply to a full driver’s license. Every occupant must wear a seat belt or use a child passenger restraint system and you may not use or talk on a cell phone while driving. This includes using a hands-free cell phone device. Provisional drivers are subject to nighttime and passenger limitations.

Conditions

  • Every occupant must wear a properly fastened seat belt or use a properly fastened child restraint system
  • Driver with provisional license may not use or talk on a cell phone while driving, with or without a hands-free device
  • A provisional license is valid for two years

Phase III – Full License

Applicant Qualifications:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age or have held a provisional license for at least 12 consecutive months with no convictions for alcohol/controlled substance violations or crash-related moving violations and no more than one conviction for a moving violation that is not crash-related.
  • Must complete application and pay required fee. There is a $3.50 credit toward the fee for this license if the applicant has no violations on record.
  • If applicant is under 18, the person who approves the application certifies that the applicant has driven under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age for no fewer than ten hours on the provisional license.
  • Expires on 21st birthday.

To qualify to take a skills (road test), you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have completed driver’s education and have the white course completion card.
  • Hold an instruction permit for at least six months with no convictions for moving violations or Alcohol/Controlled Substance violations. If all or part of the six months of driving experience was in a state other than Minnesota, you need to present a certified driving record from that state.
  • Drive under the supervision of a licensed driver at least 21 years of age, for not less than 30 hours, at least 10 of which were at night. The parent or guardian must certify this on the driver’s license application.