How to Get a Driver’s License in Minnesota

Obtaining a driver’s license used to be as simple as taking a road test and signing a form. Because of increasing car accident and death rates, many states, including Minnesota, have devised a tiered system to earn a driver’s license. The steps involved depend on your age and experience behind the wheel.

Teenagers Under 16 Years Old

When you are 15 years old, you must take 30 hours of driving education in a classroom environment. Learning the rules of the road is the first step in driving independence. Sign up for a learner’s permit in any of the dozens of motor vehicle offices across the state. This permit must be accompanied by a road skills instruction course with an adult 21 years of age or older. The learner’s permit only costs $11.25 and is valid until you turn 16 years old.

Sweet Sixteen

Come visit the motor vehicle office on your 16th birthday to take your road skills test and earn your provisional license. The skills test requires you to perform all of the basic driving maneuvers you’ll encounter on the road. Residential and freeway driving are part of the test along with parking maneuvers and turns. Costing only $14.25, this license allows you to drive alone with seat belts fastened and cell phones turned off. Violating any of these rules cancels your provisional license privileges.

At 18 Years Old

Your provisional license expires when you become an adult. You pay $19.75 for the full license if you have no violations on your provisional license. It costs $23.25 if you have any violations. This particular license expires when you turn 21 years old. If you have no violations at 21 years old, you apply for a full license again under the 21 years of age and older group.

Testing At 21 Years Old

If you have not started driving by 21 years old, but would like to obtain a license, you must pay $23.25 for the full license. You are required to take both a written and road skills test at one appointment. Your car must be safe with operational seat belts and airbags, if equipped. Bring a copy of your car insurance because you cannot test without it. If you pass both tests, you receive a full license that day. There is no provisional period for adults older than 21 years.

New Residents

When you move permanently from another state or territory, you must apply for a Minnesota license as soon as possible. Bring your out-of-state driver’s license to any of the motor vehicle offices to prove your identity. It is a good idea to bring another form of identification, including a passport, to verify your residence, especially if your driver’s license is older than one year.

If you have a name change that reflects on your old driver’s license, including your maiden name before marriage, bring your marriage or divorce certificates in to the office. By cross-referencing between your old and new name, you reduce the time spent at the office and move onto the testing portion.

Current out-of-state driver’s license holders simply need to take a vision and written test to obtain a Minnesota license. An expired license from any state or country requires a written, vision and skills test. The state must verify that you have the necessary skills to stay safe on the road. Vision tests usually take a few minutes as you read letters and numbers tacked on a nearby wall.

Special Minnesota Considerations

Minnesota is known for its snowy winters, making motor vehicle driving particularly treacherous. Schedule your road skills tests carefully. If a snow storm is in the forecast, reschedule the test until all the snow is cleared from the roadway. Any sliding or spinning wheels on the ground because of wet conditions contributes to a poor road test score. Try to choose dry and sunny days for your test to avoid failing. You can only take the skills test twice before you are charged $20.00 for each additional test.

If You Lose Your License

Sometimes you physically lose you license. In this case, simply visit an office and ask for a duplicate card costing $12.75. If your card is revoked, you typically pay about $20 to reinstate it from a suspension or disqualification. Licenses lost from alcohol or drug use behind the wheel cost $680.00 to reinstate. Any legal paperwork regarding drug use must be presented to the motor vehicle office to clear your name and reinstate the license. Any ongoing litigation typically keeps your license revoked until a judge considers you fit to drive again.

Minnesota’s driving laws keep young people safe as they gain experience on the road. Using this graduated system, adults help teenagers drive safely with attention to their behavior behind the wheel. With proper supervision and ample testing, everyone should remain safe on Minnesota roads.

Take Free Practice Test Now

Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 1 (Signs)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 2 (Signs)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 3 (Rules)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 4 (Rules)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 5 (Rules)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 6 (Rules)
Minnesota DMV Practice Test – Quiz 7 (Rules)