New Hampshire Permit Requirements

When applying for a New Hampshire driver license with Division of Motor Vehicles, it is important to know the requirements.  Make sure you have the met the DMV prerequisites and that you have the necessary documentation.

The state of New Hampshire is unique, in that it does not issue a learner permit for new drivers.  Instead teens may begin to practice driving starting at the age of 15 ½, so long a parent or other responsible licensed adult 25 or older is in the car with them. 

Instead of a formal permit process, New Hampshire places the emphasis on thorough driver education for new its new drivers.  If you are under age 18, you must complete a driver's education course before you can obtain your license.  In addition, you must complete 40 hours of driving time supervised by a licensed driver, with at least 10 of those hours of practice driving after dark.

If you're not sure where to start, here is a breakdown of the timeline for getting your New Hampshire driver's license:

  • If you're under age 18, you must complete a driver's education course before obtaining your license, starting at age 15.
  • You can begin practice driving at age 15.5.
  • The Youth Operator License is available for those who have turned age 16.
  • A full Driver's License will be issued upon reaching age 21.

New Hampshire New Driver License Necessary Documentation and Paperwork

New Hampshire drivers must provide proper documentation to the DMV in order to apply for a New Hampshire driver's license for the first time. The license can be obtained only if your main residence is in New Hampshire. Drivers can apply for a license starting at the age of 16.  They will need to bring the following documents to the DMV:

New Hampshire New Driver License Testing Requirements

Applicants are required to pass a knowledge test, vision test and road test.   The knowledge test covers the driving laws on New Hampshire, as well safe driving strategies, and is taken on a computer touch screen.  The test is made up of 40 multiple choice questions, and a score of 80 percent is required to pass.  Audio tests are available.  There is a 10-day waiting period to retake after a failed test.

All applicants, regardless of age, are also required to pass a vision test to get a driver's license in New Hampshire. Your eyesight must be at least 20/40 to be eligible to drive.

The final step in the licensing process is to take the road test.  Applicants must first pass the written and vision tests, and then make an appointment for the road test, which may be scheduled for the same day only if there is availability on the schedule.  Otherwise the road test will be scheduled for a later date.

New Hampshire Drivers Under Age 21

Before age 21, you may only earn a youth operator license, which allows you to drive with certain restrictions.  This license is oriented vertically, instead of horizontally.  You may not drive between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.  You also may have only one passenger under age 25, unless a licensed driver over age 25 is also in the car.  New Hampshire also requires a 20 day suspension for any driver under 21 who receives a moving violation.

When you reach age 21, you will be issued a full driver's license, which lifts the restrictions that came with your youth operator license, and comes with it the privilege of buying alcohol.