Minnesota Learner’s Permit: A First-Time Teen Driver Guide

The Minnesota Division of Motor Vehicles handles the licensing process.

The two-step GDL process includes:

  • Learner’s Permit
  • Provisional License
  • Unrestricted License

The GDL program helps first-time drivers understand road rules through knowledge exams and driving tests. This process begins early, during a driver’s teen years, until they’re ready to apply for an unrestricted driver’s license.

Those coming from out-of-state will need to transfer their old license or learner’s permit within 60 days. Then, they’ll either upgrade to a full license or follow the steps below to get a permit if they do not meet the state requirements.

You will visit an MN DMV throughout each of these applications.

Applying for a Minnesota Learner’s Permit

Getting a learner’s permit is a requirement if you plan to get an unrestricted license. This permit becomes available for teens age 15 and older.

Teens and new drivers must also complete the classroom segment of a driver’s education course and enroll in the behind-the-wheel training.

How to Apply:

  1. At the exam station
    1. Show proof of identification (2 documents)
    2. Show your driver’s education certificate of enrollment
    3. Take your written test
  2. At the licensing office
    1. Show written test completion
    2. Complete a permit application
    3. Pay the $13.25 fee
    4. Pass a vision exam

The written test includes questions about road signs and rules. You can reference your driving manual or take online practice tests to prepare.

Pass these requirements and steps and you’ll have you’ll have earned your Minnesota learner’s permit!

Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions

The permit includes two main restrictions when behind-the-wheel:

  • You can only drive with a licensed driver over 21 years old (they must be in the passenger seat)
  • You can’t use a mobile device while driving unless for an emergency

Getting the Required Driving Experience

You are expected to get at least 50-hours of behind-the-wheel experience when holding your learner’s permit(s). This includes at least 15-hours of experience driving at night. This requirement drops to 40/10 if a parent/guardian takes an awareness test, too.

Upgrading to a Provisional License

Completing these steps, practice, and holding the permit for 6 months lets you apply for a provisional license. This also includes no moving and drug-related infractions. You’re expected to complete the driver’s education course between this time, too.

When ready, see our Minnesota Provisional License Guide.