New Hampshire takes a simple approach to Graduated Licensing, and there is essentially only 1 actual license between the first ages of ability at 15 ½ years old to 21 years old. This simple approach makes it easy for youth to understand their responsibilities and obligations in order to become a fully licensed adult at 21.
No License Required, 15 1/2 years old
Technically at 15 ½ years old New Hampshire drivers can start driving in the state without taking a vision or written test and without an actual license During this six month phase in, before the Youth Operator License, you are meant to complete two requirements for the next phase.
First in order to obtain a Youth Operator License at 16 you will need to have taken a state approved driver’s education course and completed 40 hours of supervised driving with a licensed adult and 10 hours of night time driving. During this stage you must drive with a licensed adult in the passenger seat and carry with you proof of your age.
Youth Operator Permit, 16 years old
At 16 years old, if you have completed a driver’s education course and the required driving complement you can visit any New Hampshire DMV office before 3:30pm in order to take a vision and written exam before submitting your application. You will also need a parent or guardian present with the signed DSMV 38 form, proof of identity and residency, a certificate showing you passed your driver’s education course, and Form DSMV 509 showing your logged driving hours. After you have passed vision and knowledge exams you can then book a driving skills test.
If you have all that in order, pass the tests, pay the Youth Operator Permit fee and you will receive your license in the mail and be provided with a temporary good for 60 days. The under 21 license is oriented vertically instead of horizontally like all over 21 licenses to better notate to law enforcement “underage” drivers.
Driving Restrictions, under 18 years old
Driver’s less than 18 years old are prohibited from driving between the hours of 1am and 4 am. They are also restricted in only carrying one passenger under the age of 25 who is also not an immediate family member for the first six months of the license. Underage drivers are also restricted to the number of seat belts in the vehicle and all passengers must wear safety belts. These restrictions apply until the driver reaches 18 years old.
Full License, 18 years
At 18 years old, all restrictions are removed from the Your Operator License, although the license does not change to a horizontal license until the driver reaches 21 years old.
Driver’s that do not apply for their license until 18 years old are not required to take driver’s education or finish 40 hours of driving but are required to pass the vision, knowledge and driving skills tests and provide identification. At 21 years old, all drivers reapply for a Full Class D license.
Adult Drivers & Out of State
At 21 years of age driver’s still need to pass vision, knowledge and driving skills tests for new drivers but will obtain a Full Class D license upon passing these tests. The license will be without restrictions.
New residents to the state of New Hampshire staying longer than 60 days, must apply for a New Hampshire driver’s license. If you are licensed as an adult in another state, you can simply apply turn in your out of state license, pass a vision test and receive a new driver’s license as long as your out of state license is not expired.