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Frequently Asked Questions - Minnesota Teen Driver

To obtain a driver’s license in Minnesota, you must meet the following requirements:

Full License
• You must be at least 18 years of age or have held a Provisional License for at least one year without any controlled substance or alcohol violations, a crashed-related moving violation or not more than one moving violation not involving an accident.
• You must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian if under 18.
• Your parent or legal guardian must certify that you have completed at least ten hours of supervised driving with a Provisional License.
• You must pay the fee of $24.

Farm Work License
Teen drivers may apply for a farm work license if they meet the following criteria:

• You are under 21 and have an Instruction Permit.
• You have completed behind-the-wheel training.
• You can provide proof that the property is classified as agricultural. If your parent or legal guardian rents the farmland, a rental agreement and property tax statement will be required.
• You have successfully passed the road test.

Your parent or legal guardian must fill out a “Farm Work License Affidavit” along with their signature and have it witnessed by a Notary Public.

Medical Driver’s License
A special medical driver’s license may be issued to a 15-year old if there are no licensed drivers in the household and the applicant needs to drive a family member for medical reasons. A written statement from a parent or legal guardian and a letter from a physician describing the need for the license must be submitted for approval before a road test will be authorized. The applicant must hold an instruction permit for six months prior and complete an approved driver’s education course.

When applying for a learner’s permit or driver’s license, you will need to do the following:

• Complete an application along with the signature of your parent or legal guardian if under 18. (Foreign exchange students must obtain a notarized signature from their parents).
• Submit proof that you have completed 30 hours of classroom instruction in a driver’s education program.
• Submit proof that you are enrolled in a behind-the-wheel driving course.
• Provide information about any medical condition. You may be asked to provide a statement from a physician about whether or not the condition interferes with your ability to drive safely.

In May 2004, the State of Minnesota enacted “Vanessa’s Law” in memory of 15-year old Vanessa Weiss who was killed just a few days before she turned 16. She was a passenger in vehicle that was driven by an unlicensed 15-year old. Vanessa’s law is aimed at drivers under 21 who commit an alcohol or controlled substance crash-related offense. The law basically states the following:

• Any unlicensed driver under age 18 who receives a crash-related traffic violation will not be eligible for an instruction permit or provisional license until age 18.

• Any unlicensed driver who receives an alcohol or controlled substance violation will not eligible for an instruction permit or provisional license until age 18.

• Drivers with a provisional license who have an alcohol or controlled substance revocation of their license or receive a crash-related traffic violation will lose their provisional license until they turn 18. Once they turn 18, the driver would need to complete the following before a regular driver’s license can be issued:

1. Pay the reinstatement fee of $680
2. Complete 30 hours of classroom instruction in a driver’s education course
3. Obtain an instruction permit and hold it for at least three months
4. Pass the Minnesota driver’s license knowledge test

The individual must complete six hours of behind-the-wheel training while holding the instruction permit.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety recommends that both parents and teens sign a contract in which the teen driver agrees to follow specific rules. Some of these may include the following:

• I will wear a seat belt at all times
• I will never drive after consuming drugs or alcohol
• I will drive at a safe speed for the specific road conditions
• I will never use a cell phone while driving

The parents can also promise to be available for driving practice on a regular basis.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Division of Vehicle Services (DVS) requires applicants to provide one primary and one secondary identification document. All documents not in English must be accompanied by a qualified English translation. Anyone who is a temporary United States resident must show additional proof of lawful admission by submitting official immigration documents, such as an I-20, DS-2019 or I-797 form.

Primary Documents (Must include full name and date of birth)
• Certified birth record issued by a government Bureau of Vital Statistics, board of health in the United States, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands (hospital-issued certificate is not acceptable)
• Certificate of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (FS-545 or DS-1350)
• Report of Birth Abroad of United States citizen issued by a U.S. Embassy (FS-240)
• Certified adoption certificate from a United States court
• Valid unexpired United States passport
• Unexpired active duty, reserve or retired U.S. military identification card (DD-2 or Geneva Convention Common Access Card)
• Current tribal government identification card issued by a Minnesota Bureau of Indian Affairs (card must contain legal name, date of birth, signature and photo)
• Valid passport from a foreign country with unexpired I-551 stamp or I-94 arrival and departure form
• Canadian birth certificate or naturalization certificate with valid I-94 form (must be presented with a photo secondary document issued by a Canadian government agency)
• Employment Authorization Card with photo (I-688 or I-766)
• Permanent Resident or Resident Alien Card (I-551 or I-I51)
• Re-entry Permit or Refugee Travel Document (I-327 or I-571)
• Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-561 or N-645)
• United States Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
• Northern Mariana Card (I-873)
• American Indian Card (I-872)

Secondary Documents
• An additional primary document
• Driver’s license or state identification card with photo issued by another U.S. state, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or a Canadian province or territory that is current or expired less than five years
• U.S. Social Security card or Canadian Social Insurance card
• Certified birth certificate from a government jurisdiction other than the U.S., District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands
• Certified government-issued marriage certificate
• Certified U.S. or Canadian court order including full name and date of birth
• Certified secondary or post-secondary school transcript containing full legal name and date of birth

Social Security Number
Applicants must provide their Social Security number or those without a Social Security number must certify all information on the application form is accurate and true.

Verification of Name Change
• Certified marriage certificate
• Certified court order
• Certified divorce decree or dissolution of marriage certificate

Translation of Documents
All foreign language documents must be translated into English and accompanied by a certificate documenting that the translation is accurate and true. The translator must not be related to the applicant and he or she must meet one of the following criteria:

• Accredited by the American Translators Association
• Certified by a court
• Approved by a United States embassy or consulate or by a diplomatic or consular official of a foreign country assigned to or accredited by the United States
• Affiliated with or approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services or a government jurisdiction within the United States
• An attorney licensed to practice in the United States or affiliated with such an attorney
• A vendor approved to provide translation services for the State of Minnesota

Before applying for a learner’s permit, you should study the Minnesota Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• Chapter One—Your License to Drive
• Chapter Two—Your Vehicle
• Chapter Three—Traffic Laws and Vehicle Operation
• Chapter Four—Sharing the Road
• Chapter Five—Signs, Signals and Pavement Markings
• Chapter Six—Driving Conditions
• Chapter Seven—Your Driving Privileges
• Chapter Eight—Impaired Driving
• Chapter Nine—Information Directory and Index

The manual is available at any driver’s license exam station or it can be found on-line at the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Division website.

The State of Minnesota has the following restrictions:

Phase I Instruction Permit—First Six Months
• You must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or designated driver who is 21 years or older at all times.
• You are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle between 12 and 5 am unless:

1. You are accompanied by a licensed driver who is 25 years or older.
2. You are traveling to or from your place of employment
3. You are traveling to or from a school event for which no transportation is available.

• You are prohibited from transporting more than one passenger under the age of 20 unless they are a member of your immediate family.

Phase II Instruction Permit—Second Six Months
• You are prohibited from transporting more than three passengers under age 20 unless they are a member of your immediate family.

Farm Work License
• You may only drive alone to perform perm work during daylight hours within 20 miles of the farmhouse and in cities with populations of less than 100,000.

If you are between the ages of 15 and 18, you must complete a Department of Public Safety approved driver’s education course that includes:

• 30 hours of classroom instruction
• 6 hours of behind-the wheel driver’s training

New laws went into effect in 2011 making it mandatory for all driver’s education programs to include information about carbon monoxide poisoning which will be one of the questions on the driver’s license knowledge test.

The State of Minnesota has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program and the following requirements must be met to qualify for an Instruction Permit:

Instruction Permit—Phase I
• You must be at least 15 years old.
• You must have already completed a minimum of 30 hours of classroom instruction in a driver’s education program.
• You must currently be enrolled in a behind-the-wheel driving course.
• You must have approval from a parent or legal guardian.
• You must pass a vision and written test.
• You must pay the fee of $10.25

Instruction Permit—Phase II
• You must be at least 16 years old.
• You must complete a driver’s education program.
• You must pass the road test.
• You must have held an instruction permit for at least six months without any drug or alcohol violations.
• You must complete an application for a Provisional License.
• You must pay the fee of $13.25.