So, you’re ready to get your North Dakota driver’s license…
What are the required documents?
Should you make an appointment or walk in at a licensing station?
Do you need to take driver’s education?
These are just some of the questions that pop up.
And these are some of the questions that we will answer here.
Today, we’re going to walk you through all the steps on how to get a driver’s license in North Dakota. Knowing the end-to-end process can save you time and effort because you’ll know what to expect.
So let’s dive right in!
North Dakota Driver’s License Requirements
If you are starting at 14-17 years old, you have to go through the North Dakota Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. It involves getting the following credentials:
- A learner’s permit
- A minor operator’s license (if you’re under 16)
- An adult operator’s license (if you’re 16 or older)
Each one requires you to complete several steps. We’ve outlined the specifics for you in the succeeding sections.
How to Get a Learner’s Permit in North Dakota
For applicants 14-17 years old, the first thing you’ll need is a learner’s permit.
NOTE: If you are already 18+, you can go straight to the section on getting an adult operator’s license.
Let’s look at the steps to getting an ND learner’s permit:
- Begin the application process online using the Pre-Application System. Although you will still need to visit a site, this will reduce your time there.
- Schedule an appointment for your Class D Knowledge Test. This can be done online or at a testing site.
NOTE: For the Online Knowledge Test, you need to pay a $10 fee. For in-person testing, it will only cost $5.
- Take and pass the Knowledge Test.
NOTE: If you took the Knowledge Test in person, you can go straight to step 5.
- Schedule an appointment to visit a licensing office.
- Ensure your parent or legal guardian is with you. They will need to confirm the following:
- That they consent to you receiving a permit
- That they will shoulder financial responsibility for your driving activities
- Submit the required documents:
- A filled-out copy of the SFN 6763 Form (Application for North Dakota Driver’s License, Permit, or Identification). You can find the form here.
- Your citizenship, legal presence, or lawful permanent residence in the US
- Your permanent address in North Dakota
- Your Social Security Number
NOTE: Ensuring you have the correct documents can be confusing. Click here for a list of what’s acceptable.
- Complete a vision screening.
- Pay the $15 permit fee.
NOTE: You can pay using a credit card at Driver’s License Sites in Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, Williston, Devils Lake, Jamestown, Grand Forks, and Fargo. All other branches only accept cash or checks.
- Receive your learner’s permit.
Now you can practice getting behind the wheel! However, don’t forget that a licensed driver with at least three years of experience must supervise you.
Moreover, you cannot use a cell phone (or any other electronic communication device) while driving. Drivers under 16 years old must also only use their relatives’ car — your parent, guardian, grandparent, sibling, aunt, or uncle must own it.
Where do you go from here? It depends.
If you’re between 14 and 15, you must obtain a minor operator’s license. However, if you’re already 16 or older, you can apply for an adult operator’s license.
Let’s walk you through the steps for each one.
How to Get a Minor Operator’s License in North Dakota
Before you can apply for a minor operator’s license, you must comply with the following:
- You’re between 14 and 15 years old
- You’ve had your learner’s permit for a year (at least)
- You’ve accumulated experience by completing 50 supervised driving hours
NOTE: It’s crucial to practice driving under different conditions. These include the following:
- Time of day (day and night)
- Areas (urban and rural)
- Road surfaces (road or gravel)
- Seasons (winter)
Once you’ve complied with all these, it’s time to work on your minor operator’s license.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Complete driver’s education from a state-approved driver training school.
NOTE: Some schools participate in North Dakota’s Road Test Waiver Program. As the name implies, it allows you to skip the required road test to get your license.
- Schedule your road test through the Drivers License Road Test Scheduler System.
- On your appointment, ensure you have the following with you:
- Your valid learner’s permit
- A parent or legal guardian to confirm you’ve completed the required supervised driving hours
- The vehicle you’ll use for the driving test (along with registration and insurance papers)
- Driver’s education certification. This can be a North Dakota Department of Public Instruction Student Completion Certificate or a North Dakota Certificate of Course Completion.
NOTE: You may also use the certificate to waive the driving test if your school participated in North Dakota’s Road Test Waiver Program.
- Pay the $5 testing fee if the DMV doesn’t waive your road test.
- Pass the road test.
- Pay the $15 licensing fee.
- Receive your minor operator’s license.
Congratulations — now you can drive unsupervised! However, remember that you still have restrictions on your driving privileges.
Keep the following things in mind:
- You cannot use electronic communication devices when behind the wheel
- You can only operate cars belonging to your family members
- You can only drive a vehicle unsupervised between 5 am and 9 pm unless you are coming from work, school, or religious activities.
How to Get an Adult Operator’s License in North Dakota
Your minor operator’s license becomes an unrestricted one when you turn 16 years old. This happens automatically, even if you don’t do anything.
However, if you are already 16 after getting your learner’s permit, you can jump to an adult operator’s license.
The only requirement is you must have had your permit for 6 months or longer.
Drivers who are already 18 and getting their license for the first time can also go ahead and apply for an adult operator’s license right away.
Either way, the process is the same.
Here are the steps to getting an unrestricted Class D license in North Dakota:
- OPTIONAL: If you’re getting a license for the first time at 18, you can choose to get a learner’s permit first (though this is not required). If so, check the steps above on how to get an ND learner’s permit.
- OPTIONAL: Undergo a state-approved driver’s ed program.
NOTE: It’s not a requirement unless you’re under 16. However, completing driver’s ed allows you to waive your road test if you go with a school that is part of the program.
- If you must undergo a road test, schedule one using the Drivers License Road Test Scheduler System.
- On your appointment, arrive with the following:
- A parent or legal guardian (for those under 18)
- Your valid learner’s permit (for those under 18)
- Your vehicle for the road test, along with its registration and insurance
- Pay the $5 testing fee.
- Pass the road test.
- Pay the $15 licensing fee.
- Get your adult operator’s license.
And there you have it — an unrestricted Class D license!
For even more information, let’s go over a few frequently asked questions about driver’s licenses in North Dakota.
How long must you wait to get your license in North Dakota?
The younger you are, the longer the wait to get unrestricted driving privileges in North Dakota.
Those who begin the process at 14 or 15 must get a learner’s permit, carry it for at least a year, and complete driver’s ed before applying for a license. And even then, they don’t get full privileges until they turn 16.
16-17-year-olds still need to get a learner’s permit. However, they only need to wait six months before applying for a license.
If you’re 18 or older, you can get your license in a couple of days. However, if you choose to get a learner’s permit and/or complete driving school, it might take a couple of weeks.
How much does getting a North Dakota driver’s license cost?
The fees involved in getting your driver’s license are as follows:
- Permit test: $10 (for online) or $5
- Permit fee: $15
- Road test: $5
- License fee: $15
$40-$45 in total — not so bad, right?
However, if you take driving school, be prepared to spend more. Remember that driving schools offer varying rates, so if you’re working under a budget, compare before deciding where to go.
Do you have to take driver’s ed to get your license in North Dakota?
If you’re under 16, driver’s education is mandatory. However, you can still take it even if you’re 16 and older.
Completing driving school comes with an advantage. If the school you attended participates in North Dakota’s Road Test Waiver Program, you may skip your road test.
How many hours is driver’s ed in North Dakota?
In North Dakota, you need to complete 30 classroom hours and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training.
Do you have to parallel park in the driving test in North Dakota?
Yes, parallel parking is one of the maneuvers your examiner will ask you to demonstrate.
Practicing it can help you be ready for your road test.
How long is the ND road test?
The driving portion of your road test takes about 15 minutes — that’s where you get to demonstrate different driving maneuvers.
However, the test begins even before you get into the car. You typically start with a vehicle safety check.
You’ll need to show the examiner your lights, turn signals, hand signals, and horn. Ensure all of these are working before your schedule.
How many questions are on the ND driver test?
Prepare to answer 25 multiple-choice questions for your permit test. These will be about road signs, markings, and safe driving procedures.
To pass, you must get a score of 80% or higher — that translates to at least 20 questions answered correctly.
The Wrap Up
And there you have it — a comprehensive guide on how to get a driver’s license in North Dakota.
Remember — the requirements and steps vary depending on your age, so it’s best to read the guidelines carefully to ensure you’re heading in the right direction.