Minnesota Driver’s License Requirements

Applying for a driver’s license in Minnesota will typically include proof of identification, a written exam, vision test, and/or road test.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
To get your Minnesota Class D driver’s license, you must be at least 16 years old and able to provide valid identification. The process to receive a license also involves a driver’s education course, a vision test, a knowledge exam, and your final road test.
Proper preparation and good information can help make your trip to the DMV to get your new driver’s license as stress-free as possible. Here to simplify all the requirements for a Minnesota driver’s license is the
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What are the requirements for a driver’s license in Minnesota?

Once you turn 16 years old or establish local residency, you become eligible for a Minnesota Driver’s license. For the process to go smoothly at the
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services
, you’ll want to make sure you bring the following documentation:
  • A Minnesota driver’s license, identification card, or permit that is current or expired. Documents that qualify are five years or less if it has a photo or one year or less if it does not have a photo.
  • If you do not have one of the items listed above, you must present one primary and one secondary document. The primary document must contain your full name and full birthday.
    See the full list of accepted documents
  • Any documents not printed in English must be accompanied by a qualified English translation.

What are the requirements for young drivers?

In addition to the required documentation, 16-year-old Minnesotan drivers receiving their license for the first time will need to meet further requirements. Here is your checklist:
  • Complete behind-the-wheel and classroom portions of driver's education
  • Maintain an instruction permit for at least 6 months without a traffic conviction (if you are under 18 years of age)
  • Complete 40 total hours of driving practice with 15 being at night under the supervision of a parent/guardian, or
  • Complete 50 total hours with 15 being at night under the supervision of a licensed driver over 21 years old
Before getting your official Class D Driver’s license, you will receive your provisional license as a part of Minnesota’s
GDL system
. This license is valid for two years and puts some restrictions on young drivers to increase safety in their first couple of years on the road. 
That’s only available once you pass all your tests, of course. More on that later!

What are the requirements for out-of-state drivers?

Recently moved to Minnesota? Let’s get you a new driver’s license. In addition to the required documentation mentioned above, you must take a written knowledge test to apply for a Minnesota driver’s license if you moved from another U.S state
If your license is expired by more than one year, you will also have to take a skills road test

How to get a driver’s license in Minnesota

For new drivers: take the TLSAE course 

If you’re looking for an additional resource to prepare for the road, taking a
Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education Course (TLSAE)
can prove to be beneficial. This basic introduction to Minnesota traffic laws, road safety, and alcohol use can be incredibly beneficial for teenagers before their learner’s permit—or for young drivers within their first 100 hours behind the wheel.

Vision test

When you apply for a permit or driver’s license, your eyes will be checked. Keep in mind that this is not a medical exam—it’s just a screening to determine if your vision meets the minimum requirements.
Your normal or corrected vision must be at least 20/40 in either one eye or both eyes to pass. Your peripheral vision must be at least 105 degrees in either one or both eyes.

Knowledge exam

Class D Knowledge exam
is required for new drivers and new residents. Tests are available by appointment that you can make
The knowledge (computerized) exam contains multiple-choice and True/False questions that show how well you know and understand Minnesota traffic laws and road signs. Only one test is allowed per day. The exam is free, but it costs $20 for each subsequent failure after your first two attempts. 
To pass your Class D Knowledge Exam, you must get 40 out of 50 questions correct, or a score of 80%. Here is some
practice material
you can use for the Minnesota Class D Knowledge exam.

Road test

If you are a new driver or have a license that is expired by over a year, you will have to take a skills (road) test. Appointments can be scheduled
. You’ll need to bring your own vehicle, and you must have:
  • Doors that open properly from inside and outside
  • Functional seatbelts
  • Functional headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals
  • Current vehicle registration or a 21-day permit
  • Valid proof of car insurance
Road tests in Minnesota will test your vehicle control skills, driving performance, and safe driving habits under normal driving conditions. You may not have anyone in the vehicle with you except the examiner. 
In the event of winter weather, the test practitioner could delay your assessment until the exercise areas are properly cleared. You won’t pass if you get stuck in the snow, so it’s best to wait for normal driving conditions.

How to save money on car insurance in Minnesota

Congrats on your new license! Now it’s time to hit the road—safely, of course. Beyond your own and others’ well-being, safe driving can earn you a discount on your car insurance. With
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You’re going to need a Minnesota driver’s license, identification card, or permit that is current or expired. Documents that qualify are five years or less if it has a photo, or one year or less if it does not have a photo.
If you don’t hold any of the following, you need to present primary and secondary documents—see the full list of accepted documents
A regular Class D driver’s license costs $32. A provisional license costs $19.25.
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