Idaho 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?

If you are an Idaho driver, or would like to become one, you will need an Idaho driver’s license. To get the license, you will have to collect the documentation required, pass vision, knowledge and skills tests and pay the fees. To save you some time, here is a step by step guide that you will need to follow to get a driver's license in Idaho.

Get an instruction permit

Allows you to practice driving under supervision.

Get an underage 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 Idaho

For each license type there's a corresponding type of instruction permit
Idaho Class D Driver's License
Class D
It is the basic non-commercial driver's license. It allows you to operate a regular car with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) that does not exceed 26,000 pounds, does not carry more than 16 persons including the driver, and is not marked for the transport of hazardous materials. You may also operate military, recreational and farm vehicles, firefighting and emergency equipment. Read the ID Driver's Manual or take a free ID practice test.
Idaho Class A/B/C Driver's License
Class A/B/C (Commercial)
It allows you to operate different types of commercial vehicles. A commercial vehicle is a vehicle that either has a manufactured GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more, is placarded for hazardous materials, or designed to carry 16 people or more. Read the ID CDL Manual or take a free ID CDL general knowledge practice test.
Idaho Motorcycle Driver's License
Class M (Endorsement)
It is required to be added to your driver's license if you wish to operate a motorcycle on public roadways. A motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle that has a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and is designed to travel with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. Tractors and mopeds are not classified as motorcycles. Read the ID Motorcycle Operator's Manual or take a free ID motorcycle practice test.

How to Apply for Your Class D Driver License

This is your complete step-by-step plan of action depending on your age.

How to Apply for Your Idaho Supervised Instruction Permit

For drivers under 17, the instruction permit is the first stage of Idaho's Graduated Driver's License (GDL) program. It allows you to practice driving, supervised by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age who is sitting in the front seat next to you. You must hold a supervised instruction permit for at least six months after completing Driver's Ed or until your 17th birthday (whichever comes first).

1APPLY IN PERSON

You can apply at a driver's licensing office close to you. Use this map to locate DMV offices. Not all offices offer driver license services, so check before you go.

2PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

You must verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (unless you are a temporary foreign national who isn't authorized for employment)
  • Your US citizenship (or your lawful presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
  • Your residential address in Idaho

Use the interactive Add the Star tool to choose the correct documentation easily.

If you have legally changed your name so that it no longer matches that on your documentation, you must also have the Social Security Administration update your name before you go and bring the legal proof of your new name (e.g., a certified marriage certificate, certified divorce decree, etc.).

3VERIFY YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION (IF UNDER 18)

Prove that you are enrolled in or have graduated from secondary school or the equivalent. Provide one of the following:

  • A high school diploma
  • A GED diploma
  • Proof of enrollment in a GED program
  • Proof of enrollment in a postsecondary school

4GET A CONSENT OF YOUR RESPONSIBLE ADULT (IF UNDER 18)

Your parent, guardian or spouse (of at least 18 years of age) must accompany you to the DMV office and sign their consent. If this person is not your birth parent, also provide documentation verifying your relationship (such as adoption records, court guardianship documents, or a marriage certificate).

5COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FORM

The forms are not available online, instead, you must get it at the DMV office.

6PASS A VISION TEST

You must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses.

7PAY THE FEES

$3.00 for the knowledge test and $15.00 for the permit paid by card (American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, or Visa), cash, check or money order.

8PASS A KNOWLEDGE TEST

The test doesn't require an appointment. Make sure you practice online before you go. If you fail the test, you'll wait at least 3 days before trying again and pay another test fee.

10GET YOUR TEMPORARY PERMIT

Your plastic permit should be mailed to you within three weeks. You may practice driving supervised at all times. Your Class D instruction permit is valid for 180 days. If you haven't obtained a driver's license by the time your permit expires, you may renew your instruction permit once only to keep driving. After that, you will have to apply for a new permit.

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How to Apply for Your Underage Driver’s License

The Class D underage driver's license is the second stage of Idaho's Graduated Driver's License (GDL) program. An underage driver's license allows you to drive unsupervised but with some restrictions:

For the first six months, you may not carry more than one passenger younger than 17 years of age who is not a member of your family. This restriction will last until you turn 17.

If you are younger than 16 years of age, you may drive unsupervised only during daylight hours. At all other times, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age and is sitting next to you in the front seat. No passengers other than this supervising driver are allowed in the front seat.

  1. HOLD YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR AT LEAST 6 MONTHS

    Note that you mustn’t have any moving traffic violations during this time.

  2. COMPLETE A STATE APPROVED DRIVER’S ED COURSE

    You can take one at a secondary school (you don't have to be enrolled in that school to take a course) or choose a commercial driving school. The course must include at least 30 hours of classroom instruction, 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and 6 hours in-car observation.

    If you've already taken a comparable Driver's Ed course in another state, the Idaho DMV may give you credit for it if you provide the DMV with the certificate of completion.

  3. APPLY IN PERSON

    You can apply at a driver's licensing office close to you. Use this map to locate DMV offices. Not all offices offer driver license services, so check before you go.

  4. CERTIFY 50 HOURS (10 AT NIGHT) OF PRACTISED DRIVING

    The responsible adult (parent, guardian, or spouse) who gave written consent to your driving must now also certify in writing that you have practiced driving for at least 50 hours, including 10 hours at night. He or she must also grant permission to the DMV to issue you a driver's license.

  5. PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

    You must verify the following:

    • Your identity, including your full name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your Social Security number (unless you are a temporary foreign national who isn't authorized for employment)
    • Your US citizenship (or your lawful presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
    • Your residential address in Idaho

    Use the interactive Add the Star tool to choose the correct documentation easily.

  6. PASS A SKILLS TEST

    The DMV office will give you a list of available certified skills testers when you submit your application for the license. You can also see the list of testers here. Some skills testers only test commercial drivers, so choose a nearby skills tester carefully and make an appointment.

    Provide your own vehicle in good working order, complete with license plate, registration, and proof of liability insurance, a photo ID and the receipt for the county portion of the skills test fee.

  7. PAY THE FEES

    There are two fees required: $6.50 (county fee paid in advance) + $17.50 (skills tester fee).

  8. SURRENDER YOUR INSTRUCTION PERMIT

    The DMV office will issue you a temporary underage driver's license. Your plastic license should be mailed to you within about three weeks.

When you turn 17, all restrictions on your unsupervised driving will be lifted, and your underage driver's license will provide you the same driving privileges as a full unrestricted driver's license.

Your underage driver's license will expire five days after your 18th birthday. You will have to renew it during those five days (which doesn't give you much time). When you do so, you will be issued a full unrestricted Class D driver's license.

How to Apply for Your Full (Adult) Driver License in Idaho

To apply for a Class D full (unrestricted) driver's license, you must pass a vision test, a written knowledge test, and a skills (road) test. If you are older than 17, you can apply for an Idaho class D driver's license without holding a supervised instruction permit first. However, you can still choose to apply for the permit if you want to get some supervised driving practice.

First timer? Start with Step 1.

Got an instruction permit? Start with Step 7.

Got an underage driver's license? It will expire 5 days after your 18th birthday. You will have to renew it during those five days (which doesn't give you much time) at a DMV office. When you do so, you will be issued a full driver's license, valid for 3 years.

1APPLY IN PERSON

You can apply at a driver's licensing office close to you. Use this map to locate DMV offices. Not all offices offer driver license services, so check before you go.

2PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

You must verify the following:

  • Your identity, including your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your Social Security number (unless you are a temporary foreign national who isn't authorized for employment)
  • Your US citizenship (or your lawful presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
  • Your residential address in Idaho

Use the interactive Add the Star tool to choose the correct documentation easily.

If you have legally changed your name so that it no longer matches that on your documentation, you must also have the Social Security Administration update your name before you go and bring the legal proof of your new name (e.g., a certified marriage certificate, certified divorce decree, etc.).

3VERIFY YOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL EDUCATION (IF UNDER 18)

Prove that you are enrolled in or have graduated from secondary school or the equivalent. Provide one of the following:

  • A high school diploma
  • A GED diploma
  • Proof of enrollment in a GED program
  • Proof of enrollment in a postsecondary school

4GET A CONSENT OF YOUR RESPONSIBLE ADULT (IF UNDER 18)

Your parent, guardian or spouse (of at least 18 years of age) must accompany you to the DMV office and sign their consent. If this person is not your birth parent, also provide documentation verifying your relationship (such as adoption records, court guardianship documents, or a marriage certificate).

5COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FORM

The forms are not available online, instead, you must get it at the DMV office.

6PASS A VISION TEST

You must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses.

7PASS A KNOWLEDGE TEST

The test doesn't require an appointment. Make sure you practice online before you go. If you fail the test, you'll wait at least 3 days before trying again and pay another test fee. The knowledge test fee is $3.00 paid by card (American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, or Visa), cash, check or money order.

8PASS A SKILLS TEST

The DMV office will give you a list of available certified skills testers when you submit your application for the license. You can also see the list of testers here. Some skills testers only test commercial drivers, so choose a nearby skills tester carefully and make an appointment.

Provide your own vehicle in good working order, complete with license plate, registration, and proof of liability insurance, a photo ID and the receipt for the county portion of the skills test fee ($6.50).

The skills test fee paid to the skill tester is $17.50.

9RETURN TO THE DMV OFFICE

Here you will:

  • Surrender the instruction permit if you have one.
  • Have your picture taken.
  • Pay the license fee by card (American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, or Visa), cash, check or money order.

The license fee varies depending on the period of validity of the license:

  • One-year license (age 17): $15.00
  • Three-year license (ages 18-20): $25.00
  • Four-year license (ages 21 and older): $30.00
  • Eight-year license (ages 21-62 at your choice): $55.00

10RECEIVE YOUR TEMPORARY LICENSE

Your plastic license should be mailed to you within about three weeks.

Idaho Knowledge Test (aka Written Test)

Take a free practice test
What does the test include?
The test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions that cover Idaho traffic laws, road signals and signs, pavement markings, and equipment required on motor vehicles. All the questions are based on information in the Idaho Driver's Manual.
How many questions should I answer correctly to pass the test?
The passing score is 34 correct answers out of 40. Note that there can be more than one correct answer out of four options given. Your job is to choose the best answer.
How can I prepare for the test?
Study the Idaho Driver's Manual as all questions are based on the information provided in it. Take free practice tests available here. When you feel comfortable with your score, you are ready!
Is there a mobile Idaho practice test app available?
Yes, and it's free and great for all your studying needs. You can get it at Google Play or App Store.
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 take the test in any other languages but English?
Yes, the test is also available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Vietnamese and American Sign Language.
Can I use the driver’s manual or other aids to complete the test?
Absolutely NOT! 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. No aids (written, audio, or electronic) are allowed to be used.
What happens if I fail the test?
You must wait three days before you may take it again. Each time you attempt the test, you must pay another test fee ($3.00).

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Road Test

Step-by-Step Guide
What to expect during ID skills test
Road Test FAQ

The skills test lasts about 30 minutes and consists of 2 parts: the pre-drive check and the road test.

DMV offices do not provide skills tests. You must make an appointment with one of certified skills testers. You can find skills testers' locations and phone numbers here. You will have to make an appointment by phone. Please don't call before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Speak clearly and include your phone number when leaving a message. If you find a more convenient appointment than the one you first scheduled, be sure to cancel any other appointment(s) you have made with another tester(s).

Before the test

Bring the following:

  • Vehicle in good working order, complete with license plate and registration
  • Proof of vehicle's liability insurance
  • Your photo ID
  • Receipt for the county portion of the skills test fee ($6.50).

You will also have to pay the fee of $17.50 to the skills tester.

Note several basic rules:

  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Make sure that your vehicle is clean and safe to operate.
  3. Unless you already have a license, you must come to the skills test in a vehicle driven by a licensed driver.
  4. The following people may ride in the vehicle with you during the test if they sign a Waiver of Liability:
    • A foreign language translator
    • A sign language interpreter
    • Your parent or guardian (if you are under 18)
  5. Cell phones must be turned off or disconnected.
  6. No pets are allowed in the vehicle.
  7. There shouldn't be any loose or valuable items in the vehicle.
Pre-drive check

Your examiner will ask you to identify, locate, and demonstrate that the following items are in good working order:

  • Tires
  • Brakes, including emergency brake
  • Head lights, brake lights, and turn signals (front and back)
  • Windshield and wipers
  • Defroster
  • Gauges
  • Seat belts
  • Horn
  • Rear view mirror(s)
  • Driver window in good working order
  • Emergency flashers
  • Passenger door (must open and close)

You may be asked to demonstrate arm signaling for turning and stopping as well.

On the road

    Listen carefully to the examiner's instructions and follow them. The tester will not ask you to perform an illegal or unsafe maneuver during the test. Your job is to show that you can safely operate the vehicle and obey traffic laws. The tester will be making various marks on the score sheet, but do not be distracted by it as she/he will be marking both good and bad points of your driving.

    The tester may ask you to demonstrate the following:

    • Street parking and backing
    • Parking lot driving
    • Business and residential driving
    • Freeway or highway driving
    • 4 right turns and 4 left turns
    • 8 intersections
    • A curve
    • Lane changes
    • Checking traffic properly
    • Appropriate speed, acceleration and deceleration
    • Stopping at appropriate stopping distances
    • Lane position
    • Vehicle spacing
Critical Driving Errors

    To pass the test, you should make 15 or fewer errors.

    However, you will fail the test immediately if you:

    • commit any dangerous action
    • cause a collision or near collision
    • show a serious or persistent violation of law
    • exhibit a lack of cooperation
End of the Test

    Your tester will explain your mistakes and inform you whether you pass or fail. If you pass, you will receive the sealed envelope with the results to return to the driver's license office.

    If you do not pass the skills test, you may reschedule. You will be required to wait for 3 days and obtain another receipt for $6.50 and pay another skills test fee of $17.50.

How to Replace or Renew Your Driver License in Idaho

  • You may renew your driver's license in person at any driver’s licensing office. To locate a nearby office, use this map.

    However, if any of the following applies to you, you must renew your license in person at a DMV office:

    1. You are younger than 21 years of age.
    2. You are older than 69 years of age.
    3. Your license expired more than 25 months ago.
    4. You obtained an extension of your current (expiring) license.
    5. You already renewed by mail at least once within the last 8 years.

    Plan of Action:

    1. APPLY IN PERSON

      You can apply on a walk-in basis at a driver's licensing office close to you. Use this map to locate DMV offices. Not all offices offer driver license services, so check before you go.

    2. PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED

      You must verify the following:

      1. Your identity, including your full name
      2. Your date of birth
      3. Your Social Security number (unless you are a temporary foreign national who isn't authorized for employment)
      4. Your US citizenship (or your lawful presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
      5. Your residential address in Idaho

      Use the interactive Add the Star tool to choose the correct documentation easily.

      If you have legally changed your name so that it no longer matches that on your documentation, you must also have the Social Security Administration update your name before you go and bring the legal proof of your new name ( e.g. a certified marriage certificate, certified divorce decree, etc.).

    3. COMPLETE AN APPLICATION FORM

      The forms are not available online, instead, you must get it at the DMV office.

    4. PASS A VISION TEST

      You must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses.

    5. PAY THE FEE

      Pay by card (American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, or Visa), cash, check or money order. The license fee varies depending on the period of validity of the license:

      1. Three-year license (ages 18-20): $25.00
      2. Four-year license (ages 21 and older): $30.00
      3. Eight-year license (ages 21-62 at your choice): $55.00

      If you are not a US citizen, the license may expire earlier at the end of your lawful stay in the US.

    6. SURRENDER YOUR EXPIRING LICENSE AND RECEIVE A TEMPORARY ONE

      Your plastic license should be mailed to you within about three weeks.

    If your license expired no longer than 25 months ago, you should still be able to renew it without taking additional tests.

    If your license expired more than 25 months ago, you will be required to pass a written knowledge test and a skills (road) test again.

  • You can renew by mail only if all of the following apply to you:

    1. You are at least 21 years of age but younger than 70 years of age.
    2. Your license did not expire more than 25 months ago.
    3. You have not renewed by mail within the last eight years.
    4. You did not obtain an extension of your current (expiring) license.

    If you are eligible to renew by mail, the DMV will send you an application for renewal by mail. To renew by mail, do the following:

    1. Fill out the application for renewal by mail.
    2. Request an eight-year driver's or a usual four-year license.
    3. Mail the application, your payment of the renewal fee, and your payment of an additional sheriff's administrative fee (for renewing by mail) to the address provided on the application. The fees are as follows:
      1. Sheriff's administrative fee: $1.00
      2. Four-year license (ages 21 and older): $30.00
      3. Eight-year license (ages 21–62 at your choice): $55.00

      Pay with a check, money order, or credit card (MasterCard or Visa). However, if you pay by credit card, there may be an additional service charge.

    4. You will receive your new plastic license in the mail. Destroy your expiring license because it will no longer be valid.
  • Idaho driver’s licensing offices do not offer online renewal at this time.

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

When you become an Idaho resident, you must convert your driver’s license within 90 days.
Out-of-state license Foreign license
Not sure if you are a resident of Idaho?
Are you an Idaho resident?

Idaho defines a resident of the state as either of the following:

  • A person whose domicile has been within Idaho continuously for at least 90 days, other than a full-time student who is a resident of another state.
  • A spouse or dependent child of an Idaho resident, who resides in that person's domicile.

However, you can legally declare your residency in Idaho earlier than 90 days by submitting a Certificate of Idaho Residency along with supporting documentation to the Idaho DMV.

I’ve Got a Valid Out-of-State License

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

If you hold a noncommercial driver's license issued by another US state or Washington, DC, you will be required to convert it to Idaho driver’s license by submitting documentation, passing a vision and knowledge test and paying the appropriate fees.

Plan of Action
  1. Apply in person on a walk-in basis at a driver's licensing office close to you. Use this map to locate it.
  2. Bring the documentation to verify the following:
    • Your identity, including your full name
    • Your date of birth
    • Your Social Security number (unless you are a temporary foreign national who isn't authorized for employment)
    • Your US citizenship (or your lawful presence in the US if you are not a US citizen)
    • Your residential address in Idaho

    Use the interactive Add the Star tool to choose the correct documentation easily.

  3. Fill in the application form (not available online).
  4. Pass a vision test.
  5. Pass a written knowledge test. It doesn't require an appointment. Make sure you practice online before you go. If you fail the test, you'll wait at least 3 days before trying again and pay another test fee.
  6. Pay the fees by card (American Express, Discover Card, MasterCard, or Visa), cash, check or money order.

    The written test fee is $3.

    The license fee varies depending on the period of validity of the license:

    • One-year license (age 17): $15.00
    • Three-year license (ages 18-20): $25.00
    • Four-year license (ages 21 and older): $30.00
    • Eight-year license (ages 21-62 at your choice): $55.00

  7. Surrender your out-of-state driver's license and have your picture taken.
  8. Receive a temporary license. Your plastic license should be mailed to you within about three weeks.

If your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for more than a year, you will most probably have to take a skills (road test) as well.

driver's license in Idaho

Your Class D full driver's license will normally be valid for four years and expires on your birthday. However, you may request an eight-year license instead as long as you pay the appropriate fee.

I've Got a Valid Foreign License

Moving from another country? Welcome to Idaho!

If you hold a valid driver's license from Taiwan, Germany or South Korea, the procedure of transferring your driver's license is the same as transferring an out-of-state driver's license. However, if you choose not to surrender your license from Taiwan, Germany or South Korea, or your foreign license expired more than one year ago, you will also have to pass a skills (road) test.

If you hold a driver's license from another country, you won't be required to surrender it, but the procedure of transferring your foreign license will be similar to applying for a new license.

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