Driver Licensing Requirements for Minors

What you need to know for drivers under 18 years old, and Youth Operators under 20 years old.

New Hampshire residents can start learning to drive at the age of 15½ but must be at least 16 years old to apply for a driver license. Drivers under 18 years old must complete an approved Driver Education Program and provide written permission from a parent or guardian in order to apply for a driver license. Drivers must be at least 18 years old to apply for a commercial driver license.

Any person over 16 years old and under 21 years of age who meets the requirements for a New Hampshire driver license, will be issued a Youth Operator License. Unlike the standard New Hampshire driver license, Youth Operator Licenses are oriented vertically rather than horizontally and have the following statement on the face of the license: "Under 21 until (date)". A Youth Operator License will expire on the license holder's 21st birthday, at which time the holder may obtain a horizontally-oriented license by applying for a renewal of your driver license. Youth Operators also have additional driving restrictions, and are subject to having their driving privileges suspended for motor vehicle violations.

Apply for a New Hampshire Driver License – Under 18

If you are under 18 years old, you can apply for a driver license once you have passed a New Hampshire approved Driver Education Program and completed forty (40) hours of additional supervised driving time. You are required to bring the following documents to your appointment:

You must pass a vision test, knowledge test and road test. An appointment is required for testing. Please see appointments and scheduling to schedule an appointment.

Prior to beginning the testing process, you will be required to pay your license fee and have your picture taken. If you successfully pass all tests, the DMV will issue you a 60-day, temporary paper license. Your permanent driver license will be mailed to your New Hampshire mailing address within 60 days.

Transfer an Out of State License – Under 18

Drivers who are under 18 years old who hold a license from another state must fulfill all of the licensing requirements for minors, including taking a Driver Education course or transferring a Driver Education course from another state. Drivers under 18 years old who wish to transfer a Driver Education course from another state should contact the Driver Education office to ensure that all requirements are met. New Hampshire does not honor or transfer driving permits from other states.

Youth Operator Restrictions & Violations - Under 20

In addition to any other restrictions, the holder of a Youth Operator License who is under 18 years of age:

  • Shall not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
  • Shall not operate a motor vehicle with more than one passenger less than 25 years of age who is not a member of the driver's family unless accompanied by a licensed, responsible adult who is at least 25 years of age during the first six (6) months holding the license.
  • Shall not operate a motor vehicle with more passengers than seat belts or safety restraints in the vehicle.

Youth Operator Motor Vehicle Violations

Pursuant to RSA 263:14 Original and Youth Operators' Licenses, section III, the Director is authorized to revoke or suspend any original license held by a person under 20 years of age after a hearing, and after evidence that the driver has committed certain offenses. The periods of suspension or revocation are as follows:

  • 20 days for the first offense.
  • 45 days for the second offense.
  • 90 days for a third or subsequent offense.

If you get two or more speeding tickets as a youth operator driver in the first two years of having the license, you shall be required to obtain an SR-22 Insurance policy for three years from the date of your second hearing.
The holder of a youth operator license can have his or her license suspended due to demerit points accumulation.