Driver's licenses

Anyone who drives a motor vehicle on public streets or highways in Minnesota must carry a valid and unexpired driver’s license.

If you have never had a driver’s license in any state or country, you must pass a knowledge test and a vision test, apply for an instruction permit, and pass a road test.

If your Minnesota driver’s license has been expired for more than one year, but less than five years, you must pass a knowledge test and a vision test before applying for a new license.

Additional information

  • Licenses are mailed to you within four to six weeks.
  • Carry your clipped license and the stamped yellow receipt you receive when you apply until it arrives.
  • Minnesota driver's licenses expire and require renewal every four years on your birthday.
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New or first time

These are issued to people who are new to the state of Minnesota and to Minnesotans who have completed both the driver's instruction permit and provisional license requirements.

If you have a valid license from another U.S. state, certain territories (Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, and Guam), or Canada, you have 60 days after becoming a Minnesota resident to obtain your Minnesota driver’s license.

Qualifications

Individuals new to Minnesota who have a valid license from another state

  1. First take and pass a knowledge test at our Midtown Exchange location or one of the metro area driver's exam stations.
  2. Get your knowledge test results.
  3. Apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. Bring your knowledge test results and identification documents (PDF) with you.

Minnesota permit holders and non-driver individuals who don't have valid license from another state

  1. First take and pass a knowledge test at our Midtown Exchange location or one of the metro area driver's exam stations.
  2. Schedule, take and pass your road test.
  3. Apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. Bring your test results and identification documents (PDF) with you.

How to apply

Apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. Please bring the following:

  • One primary and one secondary document from the identification list (PDF)
  • Your Social Security number if you have one 
  • If you are under 18, a parent or guardian with proper identification must be present
  • Your knowledge (written) test results

Cost

  • $26.25 for Class D (most common)
  • Cost varies for other classes and endorsements
  • Payment options

Additional information

First time Minnesota driver's licenses, first time Minnesota identification cards, and information regarding driver's license knowledge or road tests can also be obtained at metro area driver's exam stations.

Renewal

Minnesota driver’s licenses must be renewed every four years on or before your birthday. If your license has been expired for over one year you will have to retest.

How to apply

Apply in person for renewal at any Hennepin County service center and have your photo taken. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. You will need to pass a vision screening and bring the following:

  • Your Social Security number if you have one
  • If you are under 18, a parent or guardian with proper identification must be present
  • If your name has changed since your last renewal, bring a certified copy of one of the following specifying a name change:
    • Marriage certificate
    • Divorce or dissolution of marriage decree
    • Certified court order specifying a name change

Cost

  • $26.25 for Class D (most common)
  • Cost varies for other classes and endorsements
  • Payment options

Duplicate, change, or replacement

Apply for a duplicate license within 30 days of a name or address change, or if you have lost your license.

How to apply

Apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. You need to bring the following:

  • One primary and one secondary document from the identification list (PDF)
  • Your Social Security number if you have one
  • If you are under 18, a parent or guardian with proper identification must be present

Cost

Reinstatement

A Minnesota resident may apply for reinstatement of a driver's license and also pay the associated fees at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment.

Your fees will be determined at the time you apply. Fees vary and are based on the type of reinstatement being applied for.

If you have questions regarding the process of applying and paying for reinstatement at a Hennepin County Service Center, please call 612-348-8240.

Instruction permit: new

Minnesota has a three-step process to become a licensed Class D driver. Anyone 18 years or younger must hold an instruction permit for at least six months before taking a road test.

  • Step 1: instruction permit
  • Step 2: provisional driver's license
  • Step 3: full Class D driver's license

Obtaining your instruction permit is the first step to becoming a licensed Minnesota driver. The permit is valid for two years of practice driving with a licensed driver sitting in the front passenger seat. It is illegal to practice driving without a valid instruction permit. When you drive, you must have your instruction permit with you.

Qualifications

  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Have completed 30 hours of classroom instruction and enrollment in behind-the-wheel instruction
    • If you are 18 or older, classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction is not required
  • Pass a vision screening and knowledge (written) test

How to apply for a new/first time instruction permit

Apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment.

Come in to apply, take your vision test and have your photo taken. You need the following items:

  • One primary and one secondary document from the identification list (PDF)
  • Your social security number if you have one
  • If you are under 18, a parent or guardian with proper identification must be present
  • Proof of your completed classroom instruction
  • Proof of enrollment in behind-the-wheel instruction
  • Knowledge test results

Under 18 limitations

  • Supervising driver must be 21 years old or older.
  • Every occupant must wear a seat belt or use a child passenger restraint system.
  • You may not use, or talk on, a cell phone while driving (with or without a hands-free device).

18 and older limitations

  • Supervising driver must be 18 years old or older.
  • All passengers must wear a seat belt or use a child passenger restraint system.

Cost

Additional information

  • If you are over 18, you do not need a provisional license (step 2).

Instruction permit: renewal

If your instruction permit is lost or expired, apply for another one. It will be valid for two years from the date of application for practice driving with a licensed driver sitting in the front passenger seat.

It is illegal to practice driving without a valid instruction permit. You must have your permit on you when you drive.

How to apply

Come in to any Hennepin County service center to apply and have your photo taken. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. You need the following:

  • Your Social Security number if you have one
  • If you are under 18, a parent or guardian with proper identification must be present
  • Your current permit card
  • To pass a vision screening

Under 18 limitations

  • Supervising driver must be 21 years old or older.
  • All passengers must wear a seat belt or a child passenger restraint.
  • You can't use, or talk on, a cell phone while driving (with or without a hands-free device).

18 and older limitations

  • Supervising driver must be 18 years old or older.
  • All passengers must wear a seat belt or a child passenger restraint.

Cost

Additional information

  • If you are over 18, you do not need a provisional license (step 2).

Provisional license

Step two in the process of becoming a licensed Minnesota driver is obtaining your provisional license. This license is valid for two years from the date of application and has restrictions that do not apply to a full Class D driver's license.

If you are 18 and have held your instructional permit for at least six months you may immediately apply for your first time driver's license.

Qualifications

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Have successfully passed a road test
  • Have completed behind-the-wheel instruction
  • Have completed 30 hours of classroom instruction
  • Had an instruction permit (step 1) for six months with no conviction for moving or alcohol/controlled-substance violations
  • Have a signature from a parent or guardian certifying at least 30 hours (10 of which must have been at night) of supervised (with a person at least 21 years old) driving

How to apply for a new provisional license

Come in and apply in person at any Hennepin County service center. For a shorter wait time, make an appointment. You will need the following:

  • Your Social Security number if you have one
  • If you're under 18, a parent or guardian (with ID) to also sign the application
  • Proof of your completed classroom instruction
  • Proof of enrollment in behind-the-wheel instruction

Cost

Restrictions

During the first six months

  • Only one passenger under the age of 20 is permitted, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Driving is prohibited from midnight until 5 a.m. unless the provisional driver is:
    • Accompanied by a licensed driver at least 25 years old
    • Driving between home and work
    • Driving between home and a school event for which the school does not provide transportation
    • Driving for employment purposes

During the second six months

  • No more than three passengers under the age of 20 are permitted, unless accompanied by a parent/guardian.

Note: Passengers under 20 who are members of the provisional driver’s immediate family are permitted during both time periods.

Metro area driver's exam stations

Station name Address Phone number
Midtown Exchange 2929 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis
(Old Sears Building)
651-688-1870
South 2070 Cliff Road, Eagan 651-688-1870
North 35W & County Road I, Arden Hills 651-639-4057
West 2455 Fernbrook Lane, Plymouth 952-476-3042
Anoka 530 West Main Street 763-422-3401
Chaska 418 Pine Street South 952-448-3740
Hastings 217 Ramsey 651-437-4884
St. Paul 445 Minnesota Street
Town Square, Street Level
651-639-4057
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