How to Get a Maryland Learner’s Permit

You’re eligible to get a Maryland learner’s permit once you turn 15 years and 9 months—here’s our guide to everything you need to know before you get to the MVA office.
Written by James Ellaby
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
The minimum driving age in
is 15 years and 9 months old, so you need to be at least this old to apply for a learner’s permit. You also need to pass a vision screening and a knowledge test, plus show proof of identity and a school attendance verification form.
  • You need to be 15 years and 9 months old in Maryland before you’re eligible for a learner’s permit.
  • You do not have to take driver’s ed before you get your permit in Maryland.
  • To get your permit, you’ll need to pass a written test based on the Maryland Driver’s Manual. You’ll also need to pass a vision exam.
  • Bring proof of identity, your social security card, two proofs of residence, and proof of parental relationship. If you’re under 16, you’ll also need a verification of identity and/or school attendance form.
  • As a permitted driver, you’ll have special rules to follow, like not using a cell phone (at all) while you’re driving, only driving with a licensed driver who’s at least 21, and completing a practice log.

How to get a Maryland learner’s permit

Some states let you learn to drive as soon as you turn 15. Others let you do it as soon as you’re 14, while some make you wait six months from your 15th birthday to get a learner’s permit. However, the
driving age in Maryland
means you have to wait until you’re 15 years and 9 months before you can take action and get yourself to a
Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) office
There’s no driver’s education course to take before you can apply in Maryland, but you still need to have done your research beforehand, making the
Maryland Driver’s Manual
a great 15th birthday present. Especially as it’s free. 
It covers the basics of driving, plus traffic signals, driving conditions, dangerous behaviors, crashes, restrictions, violations, and penalties, plus information on sharing the road with other users. 
It’s essential to have studied the manual before applying for your learner’s permit because part of the application process is to successfully pass a knowledge test based on its contents. You can take free practice tests with the
Maryland Online Driver Test Tutorial
to get an idea of whether you are ready or not.
You will also need to pass a vision screening, which needs to be done at the MVA when you go in for your appointment.
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What to bring to MVA

When you reach that magic age of 15 years and 9 months, you can begin your
driver’s license application
with the Maryland MVA and schedule an appointment at your local office to arrange a learner’s permit. 
When you go to the appointment you’ll need to take these documents for staff to process your application: 
  • Proof of identity - This would be a passport or birth certificate that shows your name and date of birth
  • Social security card
  • Two documents showing your Maryland residence address - This can be a credit card statement, a medical bill, a high school report card, or college/university communications
  • Completed verification of identity and/or school attendance form if under 16.
  • Proof of parental relationship or dependency - This can be a tax return or health insurance card or policy.
If you’re under 18 you will need a parent or guardian to co-sign your permit application and pay a $50 fee, which also includes the cost of conversion to a full license.
MORE: How education level affects car insurance

Maryland learner’s permit regulations

Once you have your learner’s permit, you’re able to start learning to drive, but there are some restrictions on how you can do this. If you’re under 18 for example, you are prohibited from using a cell phone even with a Bluetooth or hands-free kit while driving, except to call 911. 
You must also only drive with a qualified supervising driver in the passenger seat who is over 21 and has had a license for more than 3 years. No one else is allowed to sit in the front seat next to you while you are driving. This supervising driver also needs to complete a
practice skills log
, which you will have received from the MVA with your permit.
To move up to a provisional license, under-18s need to have held their learner’s permit for at least 9 months (this drops to 3 months for over-18s and just 45 days for over-25s) as well as completing 60 hours of practice driving, 10 of which need to be at night. You also need to have completed 30 classroom hours of driver’s education and 6 hours behind the wheel.
If your learner’s permit expires before you have completed or passed the required skills tests, you’ll need to re-apply for a new permit, pass the vision and knowledge tests again, and pay the fees again.
MORE: How to get cheap car insurance for young drivers
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