Connecticut Driver's License: A Step-by-Step 2018 Guide

Learn what to expect and how to get behind the wheel faster.
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On this page: Types of licenses How to apply Knowledge test Road test Replace or renew New residents

How Does It Work?

To drive in Connecticut, you must obtain a CT driver’s license. This is your full guide how to get, renew or transfer your license fast and easy.

Get a Learner Permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get a Teen License

Allows you to drive unsupervised with restrictions.

Get a Full (Adult) License

Allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Types of Driver's Licenses in Connecticut

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Connecticut Class D Driver's License
Class D (Non-Commercial)
It is a regular driver's license. It allows you to drive any vehicles except a commercial vehicle or motorcycle. Read the CT DMV Driver's Manual or take a free CT DMV practice test.
Connecticut Class A/B/C Driver's License
Class A/B/C (Commercial)
Class A is for operating any combination of vehicles with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 lbs. or more, and towing a vehicle heavier than 10,000 lbs. Class B is required to operate a single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs. or heavier and/or towing another vehicle up to 10,000 pounds. Class C is for driving a vehicle that does not meet the criteria described for either a Class A or Class B and transporting at least 16 passengers (including the driver) or hazardous materials. Read the CT CDL Manual or take a free CT CDL practice test.
Connecticut Motorcycle Driver's License
Class M (Motorcycle)
To operate a motorcycle, you are required to have a valid driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement or a motorcycle learner's permit. Read the CT Motorcycle Operator Manual or take a free CT motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Connecticut Non-Commercial Driver’s License

To apply for a non-commercial driver’s license, you should first pass a knowledge test, get a learner’s permit and pass a road test. This is your plan depending on your age.

How to Apply for Your Teen Learner Permit

For drivers under 18 the teen learner's permit is the first stage of Connecticut Graduated Driver's License Program. The permit allows you to practice driving, supervised by a licensed driver who is at least 20 years of age.

1COLLECT THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

Choose documents from this list for a regular learner's permit or this list for a Drive Only permit. Your documents must verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (or proof of ineligibility if you are a noncitizen)
  • Your legal presence in the US, if you were not born in the US ( for a regular permit)
  • Your home address in Connecticut

2PROVIDE PARENTAL CONSENT

Complete and provide a Certificate of Parental Consent (form 2D), which must be signed by your parent or guardian in front of a DMV employee or notarized (if your parent cannot visit DMV with you).

3SCHEDULE YOUR KNOWLEDGE TEST APPOINTMENT AND PAY THE FEE

No walk-ins are accepted at DMV HUB offices, you are required to schedule your test appointment online and pay the testing fee of $40.00. (It covers knowledge, vision and road tests). Note that you have to pay this fee each time you retake the test.

4COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

Bring completed Application for Non-Commercial Learner's Permit and/or Driver's License with the supporting documents mentioned above and a copy of your appointment verification.

5PASS A VISION EXAMINATION

Your minimum vision acuity should be 20/40 or better, with or without corrective lenses.

6PASS THE LAW (KNOWLEDGE) TEST

It's a 25-question multiple-choice test. If you fail it, reschedule online, but your new date must be no earlier than 7 days from your failed knowledge test date.

7PAY THE PERMIT FEE AND HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

$19.00 paid be card, cash, check or money order.

8GET YOUR LEARNER’S PERMIT

Your teen learner's permit will be valid for two years, starting on the date on which it was issued, or until you turn 18, whichever comes first. If you don’t get your driver’s license by this time, your learner's permit will expire and you will have to renew it.

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How to Get Your CT Teen Driver’s License

A teen or intermediate driver license is the second stage of Connecticut Graduated Driver's License Program. A teen driver license allows you to drive unsupervised but with significant restrictions at first (they will be lifted when you turn 18):

  • You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The only exceptions to this restriction are employment, school, religious activities, medical necessity, or if you are an assigned driver in a safe ride program.
  • You may not use a cell phone or other wireless communication device (whether hand-held or hands-free) while you drive, except in an emergency.
  • During the first six months, you may not drive with any passengers except a licensed driving instructor, your parents or guardian, if at least one of them is licensed, and with no more than one other person aged 20 or older.
  • During the next six months, you may also drive with other members of your immediate family.
  1. COMPLETE YOUR DRIVER TRAINING

    1. Classroom training. Choose one of the following options:
      • High school or a commercial driving school: 30 hours of classroom training, including the 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course and 2 hours of parent or guardian training
      • Home training: 22 hours of classroom training plus an 8-hour Safe Driving Practices course at a commercial driving school or high school, which includes 2 hours of parent or guardian training
    2. Behind-the-wheel training. You must log at least 40 hours of practice driving by any combination of commercial/high school/parent instruction. Your parent can download the training log for home training here.

  2. HOLD YOUR INSTRUCTON PERMIT FOR 120 OR 180 DAYS

    You can apply for the license after 120 days if you get at least 30 hours classroom and 8 hours behind-the-wheel practice with a CT licensed commercial or high school.

    If you are home trained, you must wait for 180 days before applying for the license.

  3. SCHEDULE THE ROAD TEST

    Choose a DMV HUB office and make an appointment online in advance. Alternatively, you can take the road test at a commercial or high school. If you pass the road test at your school, wait for 48 hours before providing the DMV with your passed Road Test Evaluation Report.

  4. BRING THE FOLLOWING FOR THE ROAD TEST

    • Learner's permit
    • Proof of completing 8-hour safe driving course, driver training, and parental training (CS-1 form)
    • A properly registered and insured vehicle
    • Valid Motor Vehicle Registration Certificate
    • Connecticut Insurance card
    • Your qualified trainer who will sign a form stating that you have fulfilled all driver education requirements

  5. PASS THE ROAD TEST

    If you fail the road test, wait at least 14 days before taking it again and pay the $40 retesting fee.

  6. PAY THE LICENSE FEE

    $72.00 by card, check or cash when you pass the road test.

  7. GET YOUR TEEN DRIVER’S LICENSE

    You will receive a temporary card in the office. DMV will mail you the permanent driver's license within 20 days. You can track the delivery of your card here. When you turn 18, the restrictions on your unsupervised driving will expire, and your teen driver license will be effectively a full adult driver license. When your license expires in six years, renew it and you will be issued a new adult driver license.

How to Get Your CT Adult Driver’s License

Before you get the license, you must apply for a learner’s permit regardless of your age. In most cases you will have to hold the permit for 90 days prior to taking a road test.

First timer? Start with Step 1.

Teen license holder? When you turn 18, the restrictions on your unsupervised driving expire, and your teen driver license is effectively a full adult driver license, so there is no need to exchange it.

Learner's permit holder? Start with Step 8.

1COLLECT THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

Choose documents from this list for a regular learner's permit or this list for a Drive Only permit. Your documents must verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (or proof of ineligibility if you are a noncitizen)
  • Your legal presence in the US, if you were not born in the US ( for a regular permit)
  • Your home address in Connecticut

If you have changed your name, you must also have Social Security update your name, fill out and provide a Change of Name or Name Correction Request (Form E-78) to the DMV and certified documentation that verifies your change of name (such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree).

2SCHEDULE YOUR KNOWLEDGE TEST APPOINTMENT AND PAY THE FEE

No walk-ins are accepted at DMV HUB offices, you are required to schedule your test appointment online and pay the testing fee of $40.00 (It covers knowledge, vision and road tests). Note that you have to pay this fee each time you retake the test.

3COMPLETE THE APPLICATION FORM

Bring completed Application for Non-Commercial Learner's Permit and/or Driver's License (form R-229) with the supporting documents mentioned above and a copy of your appointment verification.

4PASS A VISION EXAMINATION

Your minimum vision acuity should be 20/40 or better, with or without corrective lenses.

5PASS THE LAW (KNOWLEDGE) TEST

It's a 25-question multiple-choice test. If you fail it, reschedule online, but your new date must be no earlier than 7 days from your failed knowledge test date.

6PAY THE PERMIT FEE AND HAVE YOUR PICTURE TAKEN

$19.00 paid be card, cash, check or money order.

7GET YOUR PERMIT

Now you may practice driving supervised by a licensed adult as you prepare to pass your road test for an adult driver license. You must be supervised at all times while you drive. Your adult learner's permit will be valid for two years, starting on the date on which it was issued.

8HOLD YOUR LEARNER’S PERMIT FOR 90 DAYS

However, you are not required to hold it for 90 days if any of the following apply to you:

  • You held a teen learner's permit for more than 90 days, and it expired when you turned 18.
  • You are on active duty in the military out of state. If so, you must provide your orders and military ID card.
  • You have held a driver's license before. Any expired Connecticut license, out-of-state license, or foreign license will do, as long as you can provide it or an abstract of it.

9TAKE SAFE DRIVING PRACTICES COURSE

You must take an eight-hour Safe Driving Practices course offered by a commercial or secondary driving school and receive a certificate of course completion (Form CS-1). You do not have to do it if you held a Connecticut driver's license once before and it expired more than two years ago.

10SCHEDULE THE ROAD TEST

Choose a DMV HUB office and make an appointment online in advance. Alternatively, you can take the road test at a commercial or secondary school. If you pass the road test at your school, wait for 48 hours before providing the DMV with your passed Road Test Evaluation Report.

11BRING THE FOLLOWING FOR THE ROAD TEST

  • Learner's permit
  • Proof of completing 8-hour safe driving course (CS-1 form)
  • A properly registered and insured vehicle
  • Valid Motor Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Connecticut Insurance card

12PASS THE ROAD TEST

If you fail the road test, wait at least 14 days before taking it again and pay the $40 retesting fee.

13PAY THE LICENSE FEE

$72.00 by card, check or cash when you pass the road test. If you are at least 65 years of age and qualify for a regular driver license (not a Drive Only license), you may request a two-year driver license, for which the license fee is $24.00.

14GET YOUR ADULT DRIVER’S LICENSE

You will receive a temporary card in the office. DMV will mail you the permanent driver's license within 20 days. You can track the delivery of your card here. A regular adult driver license is valid for six years and will expire on your birthday.

Connecticut Knowledge Test

You can take you CT Law (Knowledge) Test at one of DMV HUB offices, where you are required to schedule your test appointment online. The testing fee is $40.00 and it covers vision, knowledge and road tests. Alternatively, you can take the test at your high school or a commercial driving school.
Take a free practice test
What does the test include?
The knowledge test consists of 25 multiple-choice questions and you need 20 correct answers to pass. The test is based solely on the information contained in the CT DMV Driver's Manual. Most importantly, you should be well aware of signs, signals, road markings and the rules of the road.
How to prepare for the test?
Study the CT DMV Driver's Manual and take free practice tests available here. You can also download our free DMV Genie app to study on the go. Get it on the App Store or on Google Play.
Can I take the test in any other language but English?
Yes. You can take the test in Spanish, Polish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Russian. Audio headset testing is also available for all knowledge tests.
What common mistakes should I avoid?
The most common mistake comes from not knowing enough information out of the manual. This happens when people study solely with practice tests. Make sure you read the manual first. Another problem is rushing through questions. Take your time and remember what you have studied.
Can I use the driver’s manual when taking the actual test at a DMV office?
No. This is not an open book test. The purpose of the test is to make sure you understand and apply the rules of the road.
How long are knowledge test results valid?
For two years. If you don’t get your driver’s license by then, you will have to take the knowledge test again.
What if I fail?
You will have to pay another testing fee of $40.00 and reschedule online. Note that your new testing date must be no earlier than 7 days from your failed knowledge test date.

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during CT road test
Road Test FAQ

This exam will test your ability to drive safely and accurately. The test will last 15-20 minutes.

You are required to make an appointment online in advance. Road tests are offered at Bridgeport, Danbury, Enfield, Hamden, Old Saybrook, Waterbury, Wethersfield and Willimantic DMV offices. If you are unable to keep your driver's license road test appointment, you must reschedule online, otherwise you will lose your prepaid testing fee.

Before the test

Bring the vehicle that satisfies the following requirements:

  • Mechanically safe. You can't use the car with illegal tint, defective brake/signal light, defective seat belts, defective speedometer, and any other defective equipment.
  • Has a valid registration certificate.
  • Has proof of insurance.
  • Not a rented car.
  • If you are using a vehicle that is registered out-of-state, its insurance policy must meet Connecticut minimum insurance requirements.
Pre-trip inspection
  • Before entering the car, check nearby cars, people and objects that could prevent you from putting your car in motion safely.
  • Make sure you can see clearly through the windows and in the mirrors.
  • Follow the directions given by the examiner.
  • Be ready to show how to adjust your seat, mirrors, steering wheel.
  • Buckle up.
  • Show that you know the meaning of warning lights that may be displayed on your instrument panel.
  • Apply the brake before you shift the car into gear from the park position.
  • Be ready to demonstrate how to operate:
    • windshield wipers and washers
    • heater and defroster
    • parking brake
    • headlights and high beams
    • horn
During the test
  • Accelerate and/or shift smoothly, maintaining good control of the vehicle.
  • Bring the car up to driving speed in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Use the turn signals every time it is appropriate and be able to demonstrate hand signals.
  • Be alert to what is happening around you, show awareness of other traffic and pedestrians.
  • Maintain an appropriate space cushion around your vehicle.
  • In normal conditions stop by smoothly and safely applying your brakes.
  • Adjust your speed for turns.
  • Determine what your best course of action should be in a particular driving situation.

The examiner may also ask you to perform any of the following maneuvers:

  • Turning into correct lanes and choosing lanes appropriately while driving
  • Yielding right-of-way appropriately
  • Stopping for a yellow traffic signal
  • 3-point turn
  • Parking on a curb, parking on a hill
  • Backing into a parking space at the end of the road test (you have 3 attempts.)
  • Parallel parking (3 attempts). Examiners ask for this type of parking very rarely, but they can do it.
Critical Errors

These errors mean you fail your test on the spot

  • parallel parking failure after 3 attempts
  • reverse parking failure after 3 attempts
  • failure to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles and while turning to the left
After the test
At the end of the test you will be given your evaluation report which states your minor and/or critical errors. If you fail the road test, you will be able to make an appointment within 14 days. If you pass, you will receive your temporary license in the DMV office.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver’s License in Connecticut

  • You can renew your license as early as 6 months prior to its expiration. Note that there is a late fee for renewal an expired license.

    Normally, you must renew your driver license in person, either at any DMV office or at an AAA office that handles renewals of Connecticut licenses.

    You must renew at a DMV office if

    1. you have a Drive Only License
    2. you are not a US citizen but want to get a verified driver's license.
    3. you are requesting a gender change.

    Plan of Action

    1. Bring the required documentation:
      1. Your license.
      2. Your renewal application form that you received in the mail. If you have not received a renewal notice, call the License Processing Unit at 860-263-5148. Have your license number available when you call.
    2. Pay the renewal fee of $72.00. If your old license already expired, you will be charged an additional $25.00 late fee. If you renew at an AAA office, you will be charged an additional $5.00 convenience fee. If you are at least 65 years of age, you may request a two-year driver license, for which the license fee is $24.00.
    3. Receive your temporary card. Your new license will arrive in mail. You can track its delivery here.

    If you have changed your name, you must also have Social Security update your name, fill out and provide a Change of Name or Name Correction Request (Form E-78) to the DMV and certified documentation that verifies your change of name (such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree).

    If you don't have a gold star "verified" license but want to get one, you should also present the following at the DMV:

    1. 2 forms of identification
    2. SSN
    3. Proof of residency
    4. Proof of legal presence in the US ( Non-US born)

    Choose the documents with the help of this list.

    To request a gender change, fill out Part 1 of the Gender Designation Change Form and have a medical professional fill out Part 2. Provide the form to the DMV.

    If your license expired more than two years ago, you will have to apply for a new driver's license as if you've never had one.

  • You can renew your regular license (not a Drive Only license) by email, mail, or fax, only if you are unable to appear in person at a DMV office or an AAA office for one of the following reasons:

    1. You are actively serving in the US armed forces.
    2. You have a major health condition.
    3. You are out of the state or out of the country.
    4. You are incarcerated.

    Plan of Action:

    1. Fill out a Form B-350.
    2. If you are renewing by mail because of a major health condition, also fill out Form CI-1.
    3. If you are renewing by mail because you are actively serving in the US armed forces, you may request a waiver of the renewal fee by also filling out Form B-88.
    4. If you are renewing by mail because you are incarcerated, provide your inmate number and the address of your facility. (That is the only address to which the DMV will send your new license.)
    5. Mail the documents and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the following address:

      Department of Motor Vehicles
      60 State Street
      Wethersfield, CT 06109
      Attention: Mail-in License Transaction Unit

      Or email the documents to DMV.CIU@ct.gov or fax them to 860-263-5591.

    6. Pay the $72.00 renewal fee with a check or money order payable to the DMV, mail it along with the documents. To pay by credit card, wait 5 business days after you have mailed the documents and then call the Mail-in License Transaction Unit at (860) 263-5401 to pay the fee with your credit card.

      If you emailed or faxed your documents, wait one business day and call the number above to pay the fee with your credit card.

    If the documents do not reach the DMV before your license expires, you will be responsible for paying an additional $25.00 late fee. Hence, you should send them to the DMV at least 10 days before your license expires.

  • Online renewals are not accepted at this time.

New Residents: How to Get the Connecticut Driver's License

If you hold an out-of-state driver’s license issued by another US state, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, you must normally apply for a Connecticut driver license within 30 days after you become a resident of Connecticut.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Connecticut?
Are you a Connecticut resident?
For purposes of motor vehicle licensing, Connecticut considers a person to be a resident of the state if the person is domiciled in the state for more than six months in a year.
Residing temporarily?
Are you visiting Connecticut

Good news! If either of the following applies to you, you do not require a Connecticut license:

  • You are a full-time student from another state who is temporarily residing in Connecticut.
  • You are currently in the US military and stationed in Connecticut or are the dependent of someone who is.
  • You are a foreign traveler residing in Connecticut on a visitor's visa. If you have a foreign license and an International Driver Permit (IDP), you may drive in Connecticut with that license for up to one year.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State License

Moving from another US state? Welcome to Connecticut!
Moving from another state?

You must transfer your out-of-state license in person at a DMV Hub (full-service) office on a walk-in basis (no appointment necessary). To locate a nearby DMV Hub office, you can use this map of DMV offices.

Plan of Action
  1. Complete and submit an Application for a Non-Commercial Driver's License (Form R-229).
  2. Surrender your out-of-state license. It must be currently valid or have expired less than two years ago.
  3. Bring documents from this list to verify the following:
    • Your identity, including your full name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your Social Security number (or proof of ineligibility if you are a noncitizen)
    • Your legal presence in the US, if you were not born in the US
    • Your home address in Connecticut

    If you have changed your name, you must also have Social Security update your name, fill out and provide a Change of Name or Name Correction Request (Form E-78) to the DMV and certified documentation that verifies your change of name (such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree).

  4. Pass a vision exam. Your minimum vision acuity should be 20/40 or better, with or without corrective lenses.
  5. Pay the license fee of $72.00 by card, check or cash. If you are at least 65 years of age, you may request a two-year driver license, for which the license fee is $24.00.
driver's license in Connecticut

You will receive a temporary card in the office. DMV will mail you the permanent driver's license within 20 days. You can track the delivery of your card here. A regular adult driver license is valid for six years and will expire on your birthday.

Transferring from US territories?

If you are transferring a license from Puerto Rico, the DMV will first have to verify your license. Wait to receive a letter from the DMV, stating that the verification of your license has been completed. Then return to the DMV office to continue transferring your license.

To transfer a license from American Samoa, Guam, or the US Virgin Islands, obtain an abstract of your driving record from there and provide it to the DMV.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Connecticut!

If you hold a valid driver's license from Canada, France, or Germany, your transfer procedure is similar to transferring an out-of-state driver's license. Follow our guide for transferring out-of- state licenses but note that you must also obtain an abstract of your driving record from your home country and provide it to the DMV.

If you hold a driver's license from another country, your procedure is similar to applying for a driver's license for the first time, which means that you are required to pass a knowledge test, purchase a learner's permit and pass a road test. The only difference is that you don't have to wait 90 days after getting your permit to pass the road test. You can do it straightaway. Follow this guide to applying for your CT driver's license.

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