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Frequently Asked Questions - Vermont Teen Driver

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the following requirements for obtaining a Learner Permit:

• You must be at least 15 years old.
• You must have maintained a clean driving record in the previous two years.
• You must be able to pass the written and vision tests.
• Your parent or legal guardian must sign the application unless you are an emancipated minor.
• You can obtain a Foreign Exchange Parental Authorization Form in advance (a host parent cannot sign for you).
• You must pay the Learner Permit fee of $17 and the exam fee of $28.

The Learner Permit is valid for a period of one year from the date issued.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles requires applicants to provide proof of identity, lawful presence (with a minimum of 180 days remaining) and proof of Vermont residency by submitting the documents listed below. All documents must have the same name and/or date of birth. Additional documentation may be required, such as a marriage certificate, court order of name change or divorce decree:

Primary Identity Documents
• Photo driver license (not expired for more than one year)
• Photo identification card issued by a U.S. state, province or territory (not expired for more than one year)
• Certificate of birth (U.S. or Canadian issued). Must be an original or certified copy and have a raised seal issued by the Bureau of Vital Statics or State Board of Health (hospital-issued certificates and baptismal certificates are not acceptable)
• Canadian Immigration Record and Visa or Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
• Court order with full name, date of birth and court seal (adoption document, name change document or gender document)
• Military identification
• Valid passport issued by U.S. or Canada. Foreign passport must have appropriate United States Customs and Immigrations document.
• State issued photo learner permits not expired more than one year. (An out of state issued permit is not acceptable). (A learner permit without a photo is not acceptable unless accompanied by another primary document).
• Canadian Department of Indian Affairs issued identification card (Tribal issued card and U.S. issued Department of Indian Affairs card is not acceptable).

Primary Identity Documents Including the United States Customs and Immigrations Services Documents
• Certificate of Naturalization (N-550, N-570 or N-578)
• Certificate of Citizenship (N-560, N-561 or N-645)
• Northern Mariana Card (I-551)
• American Indian Card (I-551)
• U.S. Citizen Identification Card (I-179 or I-197)
• Resident Alien Card (I-151, I-551, AR-3, AR-3A or AR-103)
• Temporary Resident Identification Card (I-688)
• Non-resident Alien Border Crossing Card (I-185 or I-586)
• Record of Arrival and Departure with attached photo stamped “Temporary Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident” (I-94)
• Processed for I-551 stamp in a valid foreign passport
• Permanent Resident Re-entry Permit (I-327)
• Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
• Record of Arrival and Departure in a Certificate of Identity (I-94)
• Record of Arrival and Departure stamped “Refugee”, “Parole”, “Parolee” or “Asylee” (I-94)
• Employment Authorization Document card “EAD” (I-766)

Secondary Identity Documents
• All Primary Identity Documents
• Bureau of Indian Affairs Card or Indian Treaty Card (Tribal identification card is not acceptable).
• Photo driver license or identification card (expired more than one year)
• Court order that does not contain the applicant's date of birth
• Employer photo Identification card
• Foreign birth certificate (Must be translated by an approved translator)
• Health insurance card (Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser or any Health Maintenance Organization)
• Internal Revenue or state tax forms (W-2 forms are not acceptable)
• Marriage certificate or license
• Civil Union certificate
• Medical records from a doctor or hospital
• Military dependent identification
• Military discharge or separation papers
• Parent or guardian affidavit (Parent or guardian must appear in person and prove his or her identity and submit a certified notarized affidavit regarding the child's identity. Applies only to minors).
• Gun Permit
• Pilot's license
• School record or transcript (Must be certified)
• Social Security card (Metal or laminated cards are not acceptable)
• Social insurance card (for Canadian residents only)
• Student Identification Card (Must contain photo)
• Vehicle title (Vehicle registration is not acceptable)
• Photo Welfare card
• Prison release document

Proof of U.S. Citizenship
• Valid U.S. passport
• Original or certified copy of U.S. birth certificate
• Certificate of Naturalization
• Certificate of Citizenship
• U.S. Department of State Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Non-U.S. Citizens
• A citizen of a foreign country must produce a passport, visa, alien registration receipt (green card) or other proof of legal presence in the U.S. Any Learner Permit, Junior Operator License or Senior Operator License issued to a citizen of a foreign country is only valid for the duration of stay.

Proof of Vermont Residency (Must provide two documents)
• Utility bill with service address
• Property tax bill with physical location
• Lease or statement from landlord
• Vermont Electronic Benefit (EBT) card or Vermont Advanced Information Management (AIM) identification card
• Homeowners or renters insurance policy or proof of claim
• Signed statement from person who applicant lives with and one proof of residency document from that person
• Military Leave and Earnings Statement or military orders if residing out of state
• Parental Residency Affidavit and one parent residency document for minors
• Parent or guardian and evidence of relationship to minor applicant
• A letter from a school guidance counselor stating that the applicant is to be enrolled in a driver education course if not a current resident (For Vermont Learner’s Permit only)
• A letter from a driver education school indicating the applicant is enrolled in a class (For Vermont Learner’s Permit only)

All applicants must provide their Social Security number or a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that they are ineligible to be issued a Social Security number.

The State of Vermont requires drivers to pass the following tests:

The Written Test
• The written knowledge test consists of multiple-choice questions about Vermont road signs and traffic laws. You must correctly answer 16 out of 20 questions in order to pass the test. If you fail the test, you must wait at least one day before taking another one. If you have a disability that inhibits your reading ability, you can schedule an oral test. If you speak another language and have trouble reading English, you may use a dictionary or have an interpreter assist you.

The Vision Test
• The examiner will test how well you see by using a vision-screening device. If your vision does not meet the required standard of 20/40, you will be referred to see a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist of your choice for further testing. The doctor must complete an evaluation to determine if any restrictions should be placed on your driving privilege.

The Road Test
• You cannot take the road test unless you have passed the written and vision tests. You should have a minimum of 20 hours of actual driving experience under the direction of a driving instructor or an experienced licensed driver. At least five hours of this should be completed in traffic. You must follow the directions given by the examiner who will be testing you on the following:

1. Handling the vehicle with skill
2. Driving at proper speeds according to the conditions
3. Obeying all signs and rules of the road

You must furnish the vehicle for the road test and it must be registered and inspected. You must provide proof of insurance for the vehicle. Rental vehicles cannot be used for the road test unless the rental company provides a letter accepting full responsibility for the applicant taking the test in the rental vehicle. Vehicles with dealer registration are not acceptable unless you are an immediate family member of the dealership. Vehicles displaying agriculture, antique or exhibit plates are not acceptable because they are restricted by law.

The Vermont Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program has the following restrictions:

Learner Permit Restrictions
• You must be accompanied by a licensed unimpaired parent, legal guardian, driver education instructor or a person who is at least 25 years or older.

• You are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving if you are under 18.

• You are prohibited from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Junior Operator License
• You may not operate a motor vehicle in the course of employment for one year from the date your Junior Operator License was issued or until you turn 18, whichever comes first.

• For the first three months, you are prohibited from carrying passengers unless accompanied by a licensed and unimpaired parent, legal guardian, driver education instructor or a person who is at least 25 years or older and occupies the seat next to you.

• During the second three months, you may begin transporting passengers of your immediate family, which includes siblings and parents only.

• After six months there is no restriction on the number of passengers you can carry. However, there must be enough safety belts and you cannot carry passengers for hire (using your car as a taxi).

• You are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving if you are under 18.

• You are prohibited from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Senior Operator License
• You are prohibited from text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Before applying for an Instruction Permit, you should study the Vermont Driver’s Manual, which covers the following topics:

• Chapter 1—General Information
• Chapter 2—How to Lose Your License or Driving Privilege
• Chapter 3—General License Information
• Chapter 4—Graduated Driver License Program
• Chapter 5—Fees, Renewals & Duplicates
• Chapter 6—Driving Safely and Studying For Your Permit
• Chapter 7—Point System/Non-Driver Identification
• Chapter 8—Registering & Insuring Your Vehicle
• Chapter 9—Commercial Driver’s License
• Chapter 10—Person’s With Disabilities
• Chapter 11—Parents or Guardians

The manual can be found online at the Vermont DMV website or at any local driver license branch office.

The State of Vermont has the following requirements to obtain Junior Operator License or Senior Operator License:

Junior Operator License
• You must be at least 16 or 17 years old.
• You must have held a Learner’s Permit for at least one year.
• You must have maintained a clean driving record without any suspensions or revocations of your Learner Permit within the six months prior to applying for a Junior Operator License.
• You must have completed 40 hours of behind-the-wheel practice driving, with 10 hours completed at night.
• Your parent or legal guardian must sign the license application.
• You must have proof that you successfully completed a driver education and training program.
• You must be able to pass the road test.
• You must pay the license fee of $28 and the exam fee of $17.

Senior Operator License
• You must be at least 18 years old.
• You must have maintained a clean driving record without any suspensions or revocations of your Junior Operator License within the six months prior to applying for a Senior Operator License.
• You must have proof that you successfully completed a driver education and training program.
• You must have proof that you have passed the written test if you do not have a valid Learner’s Permit.
• You must be able to pass the vision and road tests.
• You must pay the license fee and exam fees as outlined below

1. With valid Learner Permit: Exam fee of $17 and license fee of $45 for a 4-year license
2. With valid Learner Permit: Exam fee of $17 and license fee of $28 for a 2-year license
3. Without valid Learner Permit: Exam fee of $45 and license fee of $45 for 4-year license
4. Without valid Learner Permit: Exam fee of $45 and license fee of $28 for 2-year license
5. With valid Operator License from another state: Exam fee of $17 and license fee of $45 for a 4-year license
6. With valid Operator License from another state: Exam fee of $17 and license fee of $28 for 2-year license plus $2.00 per year if a motorcycle endorsement is being carried over

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

• Fill out the Vermont application for a License or Learner permit.

• You must submit the Driving Practice Log Sheet (Form TA-VN-210) if under age 18. This form must be certified by your parent, legal guardian, driver education instructor or another person who is 25 years or older that supervised your practice driving.

• You must submit proof of completion in a driver education program.

• You must have your parent or legal guardian sign the application if you are under age 18.

If you have a valid license from another state, you will only be required to pass the eye exam.

The State of Vermont requires all drivers to complete a driver education program through a high school or commercial driver training school, which must include the following:

• 30 hours of classroom instruction
• 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction
• 6 hours observing another student driving

Once you successfully pass the course, you will receive a Driver Education Certificate.

As of June 1, 2010, the State of Vermont banned text messaging for all drivers. This is a primary offense, which means that police officers can stop motorists for violating the law without having another reason to pull them over. The penalties are as follows:

• First Violation—Fine of $100
• Second or Subsequent Violation—$250 (within a two-year period of first violation)

All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

The Vermont DMV recommends that teens and parents have a driving agreement that covers the following issues:

1. Using a cell phone and texting while driving is prohibited
2. To be aware of other distractions, such as music or food
3. To always buckle up with a safety belt
4. Be careful about speed and weather conditions
5. Limit the number of passengers
6. Never to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Parents should promise to help the teen become a safe and responsible driver and to enforce consequences for violating the agreement.