Driver's License and State ID

Obtaining a 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 Vehicle Code. 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. To obtain those locations, please see Driver's License Renewal Offices and/or Driver's License Exam Stations or contact Driver & Vehicle Services at 651-297-2005.

The Minnesota Driver's License Manual, which you can find at the link below, covers all Minnesota driving laws and regulations:

The ISP also put together an easy guide to passing the written test with information about the written test, common questions and other things you should know. You can access this guide at the following link: 

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

  1. a written test
  2. a vision test
  3. a road test

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

Driver & Vehicle Services
St. Paul, Town Square Building (located downtown on the street level of the Town Square Building at 445 Minnesota Street), 651-297-3298.

Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. for applications (driver's license and I.D. cards), 8 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. for written test driver's license

Once you pass the written test you are given an Instruction Permit.

Here is a helpful link for converting from Metric to US Customary units.

Instruction Permit

An instruction permit is valid for one year from the date of application.

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. If you are under 18 years of age or under, please refer to the Teen Driver information.

Permits are renewable. You must carry your permit whenever you practice driving.

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

Before you take the Road Test, make sure you practise 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.

Class D, regular or under 21 $26.25
Class D, provisional license  $17.25
Class D, provisional upgrade to under 21 $22.75

Class D, instruction permit    $14.25 (cash or check only)

To schedule a test, please click here (you must navigate from link).

Retesting Fees (if you fail the first 2 times) so fee is charged for 3rd and subsequent tests:
Written Test $10

Driving Test $20

Obtaining a State Identification Card

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:

The closest office where you can obtain a valid State I.D. is at Driver & Vehicle Services (DVS) in downtown St. Paul, 445 Minnesota Street (Town Square, street level).

Directions to DVS

To get there by bus, walk to the Snelling and Grand intersection where you can catch bus 63 going north on Snelling Avenue. Get off at 5th Street and Minnesota Street, walk 0.17 miles NW and you will see a sign for the Driver's License Office. The bus fare is $1.75.

Driving Schools In Saint Paul:

Interstate Driving Academy (651) 735-8110 7546 Hudson Blvd N

Midway Driving School (651) 645-1516 1599 Selby Ave

Midwest Driving Academy (651) 696-9000 1315 Larpenteur Ave W