Driver's License Examination
Applicants for a driver’s license are required to take a written, road, and eye examination (20/40 visual acuity required). The written and road tests may be waived for an applicant who has successfully passed these tests in this or another state.
Graduated Driver's Licensing
North Dakota has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 14, individuals are eligible for an instruction/learner’s permit.
- Permit holders under age 16 must accumulate 50 hours of supervised practice driving.
Individuals under age 16 must hold the learner’s permit for at least 12 months, and persons age 16 must hold the permit for a minimum of 6 months, before obtaining an intermediate license.
- Individuals may only drive when accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 18 years of age and has had at least 3 years of driving experience and is occupying a seat beside the driver.
- Individuals under age 16 may not drive between 9 p.m. (or sunset, whichever comes later) and 5 a.m., unless driving to or from home and a school, work or religious activity.
- Individuals under age 16 may not carry more passengers than the vehicle manufacturer’s suggested passenger capacity.
At age 16, individuals are eligible for an unrestricted license.
Driver's License Issuance/Application
A person must be licensed to operate a motor vehicle in North Dakota.
Applications for a driver’s license must include the full name, date of birth, sex, social security number, residence, mailing address, and brief description of the applicant. Name and date of birth must be verified by a certified birth certificate or other satisfactory evidence.
The application of any minor for an instruction permit or driver’s license must be signed and verified before a person authorized to administer oaths or the director’s agent, and by the parent or guardian or responsible adult willing to assume obligation for the minor.
A driver’s license must contain a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee, a color photograph of the licensee, the full name, date of birth, residence address, a brief description of the licensee, and either a facsimile of the licensee’s signature or a space upon which the licensee must sign. The director may not issue a license number that is, contains, can be converted to, or is an encrypted version of the applicant’s social security number.
A licensee has 10 days to notify the director of a name or address change. A corrected license must be obtained in the event of a name change.
Driver’s License Renewal
A Class D driver’s license expires at midnight on the 6-year anniversary of the licensee’s birthday or the “duration of stay” date if an immigration document is presented for proof of identity. The licenses of drivers age 78 and older expire at midnight on the 4-year anniversary of the licensee’s birthday.
All applications for renewal of a driver’s license must be accompanied by a certificate from either the driver licensing or examining authorities or a physician or optometrist stating the corrected and uncorrected vision of the applicant.
A noncommercial applicant may apply by mail or electronically for renewal of a license during every other renewal cycle. The director may use vision information provided by the applicant to meet vision requirements for applicants under 65 years of age.
A North Dakota licensed driver who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and stationed out of state may continue to use his or her non-commercial North Dakota driver license until 90 days after separation without renewing, provided the license is accompanied by military identification and has not been suspended, revoked, or cancelled. Upon return to state, leave or separation papers and the North Dakota license must be presented to obtain new license. North Dakota military spouses may renew by mail.
Types of Driver's Licenses
A Class D license allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 26,000 lbs. or less or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 lbs. (note: must be at least 18 years of age or under farm exemption if combined weight exceeds 26,000 pounds). Trucks towing trailers over 10,000 pounds provided the combined weight does not exceed 26,000 lbs. Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR). A camper or a vehicle towing a travel trailer being used solely for personal purposes, emergency vehicle, or a vehicle driven by active duty member for military purposes may be driven with a Class D license.
A Class M license allows a person to operate a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding motorized bicycles and tractors. A Class M vehicle may not be operated under a Class A, B, C, or D license.
A Class M endorsement, giving the holder the same privileges as a Class M license, may be issued to the holder of a Class A, B, C, or D license upon successful completion of an examination.
A person holding a commercial driver’s license (CDL) may drive all vehicles in the class for the license that is issued and all lesser classes of vehicles except motorcycles.
A Class A, B, or C license may not be issued to anyone under 18 years of age, except that a Class A, B, or C license specially restricted to use for custom harvest purposes may be issued to a person at least 16 years of age who satisfactorily completes the appropriate examinations.
A Class A CDL allows a person to operate any combination of vehicles with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., provided the GVWR of the vehicles being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs.
A Class B CDL allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs., and any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs.
A Class C CDL allows a person to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less or any such vehicle towing a vehicle with a GVWR not in excess of 10,000 lbs., including vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded under federal law.
Commercial endorsements include: (1) H, authorizing the driver to drive a vehicle transporting hazardous materials; (2) T, authorizing the driving of double and triple trailers; (3) P, authorizing the driving of vehicles carrying passengers; (4) N, authorizing the driving of tank vehicles; (5) S, authorizing the driving of a school bus.