How to Get A New Hampshire Driver’s License (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Get A New Hampshire Driver’s License

Did you know that New Hampshire’s driver’s license processing is very different from other states?

For one, New Hampshire doesn’t even issue a learner’s permit. 

Because of this, it can get quite confusing. 

But don’t fret. 

We’re here to give you the details.

We’ll walk you through all the steps and requirements on how to get a New Hampshire driver’s license. We’ll even include an FAQ section for more information. 

With this, you’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. 

So let’s begin!

New Hampshire Driver’s License Requirements

New Hampshire issues two kinds of driver’s licenses:

  • A Youth Operator License
  • An Operator License

Which one you get depends on your age when you undergo the process. Now, let’s look at the steps and requirements for these two license types. 

How to Get a Youth Operator License in New Hampshire

Applicants between 16 to 18 years old should apply for a Youth Operator License. 

Here’s how to get it: 

  1. Undergo a state-approved Driver Education Program.  

NOTE: The Driver Education Program must cover the following:

  • Thirty (30) hours of classroom instruction
  • Ten (10) hours of behind-the-wheel training
  • Six (6) hours of driving observation
  1. Gain driving experience. All applicants under 18 must accumulate 40 hours of supervised driving. 10 of these must be done at night.
  1. Prepare the following documents:
    1. A completed Application for Driver License form
    2. Proof of identity
    3. Proof of a valid Social Security Number
    4. Proof of residence in New Hampshire
    5. The green Certificate of Completion from your driver’s ed provider
    6. A Parent or Guardian Authorization Certificate signed by your parent or guardian
    7. A completed Driver’s Out-Of-Class Log Sheet OR the resources in the Parent Supervised Driving Program to confirm you’ve complied with the required driving hours.

NOTE: The required documents may vary depending on whether you’re applying for a driver’s license that’s REAL ID-compliant or Non-REAL ID-Compliant.

  1. Make an appointment using New Hampshire’s online system for your knowledge test.
  1. On your scheduled date, submit all the required documents mentioned above. Don’t forget to bring a parent or legal guardian. 
  1. Pay the licensing fee of $10 per year until 21 years old. You can pay through cash, credit card, checks, or money order. 
  1. Have your photo taken. 
  1. Pass the vision screening. 
  1. Pass the knowledge test. 

NOTE: If you need to retake your knowledge test, you must wait 10 calendar days.

  1. Schedule your road test online.

NOTE: You can request to take your road test on the same day as your knowledge test, but whether it pushes through depends on availability. For this, you can call 603-227-4020. 

  1. Pass the road test.

NOTE: A licensed adult must be with you during your road test and cannot leave until you’ve completed it. 

The DMV allows you to retake your road test after 10 calendar days if you didn’t pass on your first try. However, if you miss your schedule, you must wait 30 calendar days. The same applies if you don’t give enough notice that you won’t make it (you must inform the DMV 24 hours beforehand).

  1. Receive your temporary license. Your official credential will arrive by mail within 60 days.

With the Youth Operator License, you will be allowed to drive alone. However, there are some restrictions that you must follow. These are: 

  • You can only drive between 4:00 AM to 1:00 AM.
  • During the first 6 months, you cannot have more than 1 passenger under 25 unless it’s an immediate family member. However, if a licensed driver, at least 25 years old, accompanies you, this restriction won’t apply.
  • You and all your passengers must always wear safety restraints. You cannot have more passengers than seatbelts.

Once you turn 21 years old, your Youth Operator License will expire. When you renew, it will then become an Operator License and there will be no more restrictions. 

How to Get an Operator License in New Hampshire

If you are applying for a driver’s license for the first at 18 years old or older, you can directly apply for an Operator License. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Gather the following documents:
    1. A filled-out Application for Driver License form
    2. The green Certificate of Completion from a driver’s education program provider (IMPORTANT! Only non-U.S. citizens must complete a driver’s ed course to get an Operator License in New Hampshire.)
    3. Proof of identity
    4. Proof of New Hampshire residence
    5. Proof of a Social Security Number

NOTE: Here’s a guide to know what documents you can use for REAL ID-compliant and Non-REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses.

  1. Make an appointment for your knowledge test. You can also request to take your knowledge test and road test on the same day by calling 603-227-4020.
  1. On your visit, submit the required documents. 
  1. Pay the licensing fee:
    1. For REAL ID-compliant – $60
    2. Non-Real ID-compliant – $50
    3. Non-US citizen – $5 per year, not exceeding 5 years
  1. Pass the vision screening. 
  1. Pass the knowledge test. 
  1. Pass the road test (if available).
  1. If not available, request your road test schedule
  1. Pass your road test.

NOTE: If you cannot make it to your appointment, inform the DMV and request a reschedule more than 24 hours beforehand. Otherwise, you must wait 30 calendar days before retesting.

Applicants who don’t pass on their first try can retake the road test after 10 calendar days.

  1. Wait for your Operator License to arrive through the mail. The DMV will issue a temporary one when you pass your road test.

For those under 21 years old, your Operator License will have the same restrictions as a Youth Operator License (see restrictions above). These restrictions will be removed once you turn 21 years old and have to renew your license. 

As for those 21 years old and over, they will be fully licensed drivers right away. 


As promised, we’re going to go over some frequently asked questions to give you even more information about the driver’s licensing process in New Hampshire. 

How long does it take to get a New Hampshire driver’s license?

Getting your driver’s license in New Hampshire can take several days to a couple of months. 

A Youth Operator License takes more time because there are more requirements. These include a state-approved driver education course and 40 additional driving hours.

How much will I spend on a New Hampshire driver’s license?

It depends on the type of license you’re getting. A Youth Operator license is more costly as you need to consider the cost of driver’s ed. It’s best to have around $350 to $400 set aside for it.

Although the cost of driver education courses varies between providers, it averages around $300. Besides that, you only need to cover the licensing fees, which is $10 per year until you turn 21 years old. 

All you need to pay for an Operator License is the licensing fees. It can be $50 or $60, depending on whether or not it’s REAL ID-compliant.

Do I need an appointment before going to the DMV in NH?

Technically, you can walk in at any DMV office. However, making an appointment saves you a lot of wait time as the DMV prioritizes scheduled appointments. 

Is driver’s ed required in NH?

Yes, driver’s ed is required for those below 18 years old applying for a Youth Operator License. Non-U.S. citizens without driving experience must also complete the course.

Can I take driver’s ed online in NH?

Unfortunately, New Hampshire does not acknowledge online driver’s ed. You can take it for additional knowledge, but it won’t fulfill the DMV’s requirements.

How many questions are on the permit test in NH?

Expect 40 items on your NH knowledge test. Everything is multiple-choice, and you must get at least 80% to pass.

Is parallel parking on the driving test in New Hampshire?

Yes, the examiner will ask you to parallel park. The best thing is to practice the maneuver before your road test.

How many times can you fail your road test in New Hampshire? 

New Hampshire doesn’t have a cap on the times you can take a road test. However, if you don’t pass on your first try, you must wait 10 days before retaking it.

Can a 16-year-old drive alone in New Hampshire?

If you hold a Youth Operator License at 16, then you can drive alone. However, you must always obey the restrictions (see above). 

If you do not yet have your Youth Operator License, you need to be supervised by a licensed driver at least 25 years old. 

Can I drive in NH with an out-of-state license?

You must get a New Hampshire driver’s license within 60 days of moving to the state. You can visit a DMV office to transfer an out-of-state license to a New Hampshire one (if you’re 18 or older).

The Wrap Up

And that was how to get a New Hampshire driver’s license. 

Whether you need a Youth Operator License or an Operator License, you now know all the steps and requirements. If you follow these, then you’ll be well on your way to getting full driving privileges. 

So what are you waiting for?

Go ahead and apply today!

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