North Dakota Learner's Permit and Driver’s License

GDL requirements

Full Privilege Minimum Age
Learner Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Learner Stage: Minimum Duration (Months)
12 months if under 16, 6 months or until 18 if over 18
Intermediate Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction
9 PM to 5 AM
Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restrictions (Except Family, Unless Noted)

How to Get a North Dakota Driver’s License

North Dakota 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 North Dakota license to a full license.

Completing the North Dakota GDL takes about a year. First you’ll complete a North Dakota DOT approved driver training course and pass a written test for your learner’s permit. Then, 50 hours of supervised driving for a North Dakota restricted license. Drive with it until you turn 16, and you’ll receive your North Dakota full privilege license.

The steps below have the details you’ll need to know in order to get your full, unrestricted license.

Get Your North Dakota Learner Permit 

You can start the process to get your license at 14. To get ready for driving, you can download the North Dakota Driver’s License Manual and start reading through it. At your local NDDOT location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity, and pay a fee of $15 by debit card or check. You will have to pass a written knowledge test as well as a visual examination so be sure to bring any corrective lenses you may need.

You will be given an official paper which is your North Dakota learner’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 1 year before you can apply for a North Dakota restricted license. During that time you’ll need to have 50 hours of driving practice. These hours have to include driving in variable conditions. There are also limits to your permit. Before being allowed to drive by yourself, you’ll have to pass a written and road test. Other than exceptions for religious purposes, work, or school you will only be allowed to drive by yourself between the hours of 5:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. in a vehicle owned by your parent or guardian.

This is the point also where you’ll need to get driving instruction. Approved courses in North Dakota consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of supervised practice. More information on driver’s education can be found here: ND DOT Driving Schools.

Once you’ve completed the required amount of instruction, you can apply for your North Dakota restricted license

Get Your North Dakota Restricted License 

Receiving your North Dakota restricted license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. You need to be 16, or 15 and completed driver’s education. Once you’ve driven 6 months with a North Dakota learner’s permit, you can apply for your driver’s license.

Make an appointment with your local North Dakota DOT and be sure to bring the correct forms of identification, as per the North Dakota Real ID Checklist.

Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a NDDOT evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.

Before you take the test, 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. Don’t forget to bring corrective lenses if you need them.

The application fee for your license is $15. You will also have to pay $5 for the written exam and $5 for the road test. Note that applicants 18 and over do not have to take the written portion.

Your North Dakota restricted license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. Most NDDOT locations will print it out for you the same day. This license will be restricted to driving between 5:00 A.M and 9:00 P.M. until you turn 16.

Get Your North Dakota Unrestricted Full 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 16 you can get your full North Dakota license.

This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated North Dakota license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted license in the mail.

However, honing your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ defensive driving skills is a lifetime experience. Download the DriverZ Virtual Coach to keep practicing. It will also help you keep track of your practice hours when earning your North Dakota restricted license.