How Do Driver License Eligibility Requirements Vary From State to State?


Quick Answer

License eligibility requirements vary from state to state by a range of different factors, such as the type of vehicle a person is operating, the minimum age needed to apply, and an individual’s criminal history. The Department of Motor Vehicle’s official website has a list of requirements for each state.

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Full Answer

The minimum age to obtain a restricted driver's license varies from 14 years old in South Dakota to as high as 17 in New Jersey. However, according to federal law, the minimum age to drive a commercial vehicle in interstate transit is 21. Therefore, the minimum age to apply for an unrestricted driver’s license regardless of state is 21. Some states require a driver under the age of 18 to attend a driver’s education course through her high school or a private driving school. States such as New York require new adult drivers to also undergo a driver’s education program before applying for a license.

In some states, including Kentucky and Colorado, a driver must not have any revocations, suspensions, or denials of her driving privileges in any other state. Some states do not issue a license to an individual in violation of federal immigration laws, or one that has been deemed an alcoholic or a habitual narcotics user.

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