New Hampshire Learner’s Permit: The State’s Alternative

The front end of a vintage car
Reading Time: 2 minutes

New Hampshire does not issue a learner’s permit. Instead, the state gives teens and new drivers the privilege to practice driving when accompanied by a licensed adult and/or supervisor.

Teens can begin driving practice on state roads beginning at 15 1/2 years old.  To receive a full driver’s license, they must be at least 16 years old and have completed an approved driver’s education course. All new drivers must also pass a written exam, skills test, and vision test administered by the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To legally practice on state roads — you must meet these requirements:

  • Carry proof of ID
  • Accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or licensed adult 25 years and older
  • The vehicle is non-commercial.

The adult must sit in the front seat and hold a current, valid license at all times. This adult is responsible for the new driver, including any violations made during their practice.

Take a Driver’s Education Program

You don’t need to complete a driver’s education program to begin practicing. Yet, it’s a requirement if you’re under 18 and you choose to get a New Hampshire driver’s license!

These programs typically include a mixture of classroom, practice driving, and driving observation. You can find one locally or browse online driving course directories to locate one within your budget and location.

Plus, you’ll gain valuable driving instruction if you don’t have access to a vehicle or sponsor an adult for the behind-the-wheel practice.

Get Behind-the-Wheel Experience

New drivers are expected to get 40 hours of practice driving before applying for an adult driver’s license. Ten hours of driving practice must be done at night. You should log these practice hours in the DSMV 509 form.

Next: Getting a Driver’s License

There are two options depending on your age during application:

  • 21 years old and older: Full driver’s license
  • 21 years and younger: Youth operator’s license

Refer to our New Hampshire Adult Licensing Guide for the details when applying at 21 years and older. Or our NH Provisional Licensing Guide if you’re 21 and under.


Congratulations! You just finished reading about the steps that are needed to apply for a New Hampshire driver’s license. Now you should better understand the process and what documents you need to gather. Remember, be patient and follow all instructions at the DMV office and you’ll be driving in no time. Good luck!

Be sure to check out our other resources