Licensing Process

New Hampshire uses a multi-stage licensing process for teens. This system allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving over an extended period of time.

Pre-Licensure Driving

At age 15 ½, teens may practice driving when accompanied by a licensed driver occupying the seat beside them who is a certified driving instructor, parent, legal guardian, or adult age 25 years or older. There is no actual learner’s permit or DMV application required.

Youth Operator License

At age 16, application for a youth operator license may be made if the person has successfully completed the required driver education program and has completed 40 hours of practice driving, including 10 hours at night. (Keep track of your teen’s practice driving.) Teens must visit their local driver exam office with an application signed by a parent or guardian, an original birth certificate, one other form of legal identification, proof-of-residence and Social Security number. Teens must also pass a vision, written and road test.

Teens with a youth operator license may not drive between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. During the first 6 months of licensure, teens are prohibited from driving with more than one passenger under age 25 (family members exempt) unless accompanied by a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old.

Full License

At age 18, teens are eligible for a full unrestricted license. The state does not place night or passenger limits on those with unrestricted licenses. However, AAA encourages parents to maintain their own rules.

Consider using a parent-teen driving agreement to help enforce licensing rules that the state and your family set. An agreement helps you and your teen understand the rules of the road and sends a clear message that driving is an earned privilege that your family takes seriously.


The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, is in charge of licensing for all drivers. The NH DMV conducts the written exam and road test needed to get a driver’s license. It also provides study materials to help your teen get ready for the exams.