Driver's License and State ID

Driver's License

Every Minnesota resident who operates any motor vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, ATV) must have a driver's license. The operation of an automobile without a valid operator's license is illegal, punishable by fine and sometimes by jail sentence. It is also illegal to permit another person who has no valid license to drive an automobile. Every driver must become familiar with the Minnesota Driver's License Manual. This covers traffic and safety rules, laws, rules of the road, allowable speed limits, and road signs and symbols.

Operator's Licenses may be obtained by passing an examination on Minnesota driving laws and a driving test on the road. Application for a new driver's license or a renewal of a driver's license can be made at any county or state office location. 

Before you apply for your first Driver's License you must pass a complete a Driver's Test. This includes:

  1. a Written Test in order to obtain an instruction permit
  2. a Road Test in order to obtain your license

If you are a driver moving into Minnesota from Canada, it may be possible for you to get a license by passing the appropriate written test(s) and eye check only. To be able to do this you must have a valid driver's license (or one which has been expired less than one year ) from your former home province.

Written Test

Step 1: Written test For Instruction Permit

To find locations where you can take a test, see Driver and Vehicle Services Locations or call 651-297-2005. To find a location on the website, enter the zip code and make sure to select Knowledge (Written Test) for the written instruction permit test and Road Test - Class D for the driving test. 

Once you pass the written test you are given an Instruction Permit. An instruction permit is valid for two years from the date of application. Permits are renewable. You must carry your permit whenever you practice driving.

If you are 19 years of age or older, you must apply for and have a permit for at least three months before taking a road test. This includes applicants who can't show proof of previously having a license or instruction permit.

If you are 18 years of age or under, you must apply for and hold a Minnesota instruction permit for at least six months before taking a road test. 

When practicing with a permit, you you must be accompanied by a licensed adult driver. If you are under 18, the supervising driver must be 21 years of age or older. If you are 18 or older, the supervising driver must be an adult of 18 years of age or older.

A fee of $9.50 will be charged once you pass your written test in order to send you an Instruction Permit. Please also bring with you the following:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS2019
  • I-94
  • Social Security Card or Official Macalester Transcript (from Registrar)

Click here for a more detailed list of proper identification as identified by the state.

Road Test

STEP 2: Road Test for Driver's License

Before you take the Road Test, make sure you practice driving with someone who has a valid Driver's License or go to a driving school. Take the Road Test only when you and your instructor feel comfortable with your driving abilities.

To schedule a appointment for the driving test see this link: Schedule Road Test 

  Class D, regular or under 21 - $26.25
  Class D, instruction permit - $14.25 (cash or check only)
  Retesting Fees (after failing two times) :
  Written Test $10
  Driving Test $20


  1. Driver and Vehicle Services Locations
  2. Schedule Road Test 
  3. Midway Driving School (612) 623-4142  

State ID

As an International Student, you have at least two forms of picture identification - your passport and your Macalester student I.D. card. We recommend that you also get a Minnesota I.D. card or a Minnesota Driver's License. These two, which look identical except for the title, are the standard forms of identification here and are usually required when making financial transactions, especially when writing checks, and at some other times, such as when an age check is necessary (i.e. purchase of cigarettes and alcohol, restricted movies at the cinema).

To get a Minnesota I.D. card, bring the following:

You can obtain an Identification Card at the locations found on this website:  Driver and Vehicle Services Locations


If you get pulled over by the police, it is important to know your rights. Here are some resources that can help you if you find yourself in such a situation: