How to Get a Maryland Driver’s License
Maryland has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.
Completing the Maryland GDL program takes about 2 years. You can apply for a learner permit at 15 and 9 months. Drive for 9 months, complete your supervised hours and driver education for your provisional license. Turn 18 and you’ll be eligible for your full Maryland driver’s license.
The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted Maryland driver’s license.
Get your Maryland learner’s permit
You can start the process to get your license at 15 years and 9 months. To get ready for driving, you can download the Maryland Driver’s Manual and start reading through it. At your local Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $50 that includes the conversion to full license by debit card or check.
You will be given an official paper which is your Maryland driver’s permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.
You have to have your permit for at least 9 months before you can apply for a regular license. During that time, you’ll need to have 60 hours of driving practice with 10 hours of those being at night. There are also limits to your permit and they are:
- Learner’s permit holders under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone and all Bluetooth/hands-free devices while operating a motor vehicle, except to make an emergency 911 call. Violations may result in a suspension of your driving privilege.
- While driving, learner’s permit holders must be accompanied by a qualified supervising driver who is 21 years or older, and has held a license for a minimum of 3 years. The person must be seated beside the new driver at all times, with no other front seat occupants.
- A qualified supervising driver (parent, guardian, or mentor) must complete a practice skills log for the learner’s permit holder, which is issued by the MVA along with every learner’s permit.
This is the point also where you’ll need to get driving instruction. The options for this include having a parent or guardian fill out a skills log or attend an approved driver’s education program consisting of a minimum of thirty hours classroom instruction and six hours behind the wheel instruction training.
When you’re ready to enroll in driver education, find a driving school to get started.
Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your driver’s license.
Get your Maryland provisional license
Receiving your Maryland provisional license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. Those are reaching the age of 16 years and 6 months old.
Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with an MVA evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.
Before you take it, you should check out The Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.
Vision Test: You will need to take a vision test. If you need glasses be sure you’re wearing them.
The application fee for your license is $50 that was included when you paid for your permit.
Your license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will come with the following restrictions:
- All provisional drivers must maintain a clean driving record for 18 months before they are eligible for a full Maryland driver’s license.
- With a provisional license, you may drive without a supervising driver. However, you may be subject to restrictions depending on your age.
- Provisional drivers under the age of 21 may not drive with any measurable alcohol in their systems. Older drivers must comply with Maryland’s impaired driving laws.
- Provisional license holders under the age of 18:
- may not drive with passengers under the age of 18, other than immediate family members, for the first 151 days, without a qualified supervising driver.
- may not use any wireless communication device, including a hands-free device.
- must use a safety belt, every trip, every time. All passengers must use safety belts or child safety seats.
As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are:
- may not drive between 12 midnight and 5 AM unless:
- a supervised, licensed driver who is at least 21 years old and has 3 years of driving is with them.
- you are driving to or from a job, official school activity, organized volunteer program or are participating in an athletic event or related training session.
Get your Maryland full unrestricted driver’s license
At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 18 and have had your restricted license until you turn 18, you can get your full unrestricted Maryland driver’s license.
This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.
Whether you’ve just finished your Maryland graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.
The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some other details which are good to know as you start out on your MD graduated licensing journey.
Do graduated licensing laws apply to drivers older than 18 in Maryland?
In Maryland, license applicants who are 19 years old (or 18 with a high school diploma) but younger than 25 must hold a learner’s permit for three months before taking the road test. All applicants 25 and older must hold the permit for 45 days.
How many supervised driving hours are required if I’m 25 years old or older?
60 supervised driving hours are required for all applicants younger than 25. Applicant’s aged 25 and older are required to drive for fourteen supervised hours.