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.



  1. Pass written test to obtain instruction permit
  2. Pass road test to obtain your license


  Class D, regular or under 21 - $26.25
  Class D, instruction permit - $14.25 (cash or check only)


You can find a list of locations where you can pass the written and road tests at the following link: Driver and Vehicle Services Locations. Make sure to check the box for the test you are applying for (Knowledge (Written) Test or Road Test - Class D) because only a select few locations offer road and/or written tests.

Written 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.

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 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.

For the road test you must bring:

  • The vehicle in which you're going to test.
  • Proof of registration and insurance for your vehicle.
  • Your learner’s permit or other equivalent authorization.

To schedule a appointment for the driving test see this link: Schedule Road Test and click on Exam Schedule.

For Students 18 and Under

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.

Renewing your License

If you are turning 21, your license expires on your birthday so you will need to renew your license. Otherwise, your driver's license expires every 4 years on your birthday.

It is illegal to drive with an expired driver's license. If you let your driver's license expire, you may have to pay penalty fees and be required to retake the written or driving exams. The fees for renewing your license are the same as for obtaining your license (see above). 

WHat to bring

  1. Previous driver's license
  2. Social security number


  1. Go to DMV office and provide your license
  2. Complete renewal application
  3. Take vision-screening test
  4. Get picture taken and provide Social Security Number

Student from Canada

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.

What happens if I fail the tests?

If you fail the written or road test, do not worry. You will not be charged for your second attempt. However, on the third try, you will be charged the following:

  • Written Test $10
  • Driving Test $20

What if I have a license from my country?

Students with foreign licenses who are over 19 years old are required to pass both the written and road tests. Once they have passed the permit test, the students may pass the road test at their earliest convenience (and don't have to wait 3 months). There is no fee for the permit because no card is issued. You do need to translate your foreign license (if it has no English on it) through one of these approved translation vendors, who have to fill out this form. This can get pretty pricey, oftentimes it might be more convenient to just buy the permit, unless you have a time limit.

You can temporarily use your foreign driver license to drive in MN. But do note that you are required to change to a MN Driver's License within 60 days of establishing (temporary) residency in MN.

Driving Schools

State ID

MN_IDAs 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