The state of Rhode Island uses a graduated driver’s license program which requires all new drivers to begin driving with a learner’s permit, in order to practice safe driving under supervision before getting their full driver’s license. To receive the initial learner’s permit, you must follow certain steps. Here is a simple guide to getting a Rhode Island driver’s instruction permit:

Learner’s permit

There are two types of learner’s permits in Rhode Island. The first, and most common, is the limited instruction permit, which is issued to drivers who are between 16 and 18 years old, and have completed a driver’s education course. This permit is valid for one year, or until the driver turns 18, whichever comes first. After driving with the limited instruction permit for at least six months, the driver may apply for a provisional driver’s license.

The second type of learner’s permit is called the instruction permit, and is issued to drivers who are at least 18 years old, who have never held a license or whose license has been expired for more than five years. In order to receive this permit, drivers do not have to take driver’s education courses.

While driving with the limited instruction permit, drivers must be accompanied at all times by a driver who is at least 21 years old, and have held a valid driver’s license for at least five years. During this time, the driver must log 50 hours of driving practice while under supervision, ten hours of which must take place at night.

How to apply

In order to apply for either learner’s permit in Rhode Island, a driver must bring the following documents to the DMV when they take their written exam:

  • A completed application (those under 18 years old must have this form signed by a parent or guardian)

  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or valid passport

  • Proof of Social Security number, such as a Social Security card or a W-2 form

  • Proof of Rhode Island residency, such as a current bank statement or a mailed bill

They must also take a vision test, and pay the required fee. A limited instruction permit carries a fee of $11.50; the standard instruction permit carries a fee of $6.50.

Passing the exam

Those who apply for the limited instruction permit will take the written exam as part of their driver’s education exam, and do not need to take the exam again.

Those who are applying for a standard instruction permit must take a written exam, which covers all state-specific traffic laws, road signs, and other driver’s safety information. The test is timed, and drivers have 90 minutes to complete it. The Rhode Island DMV provides a driver’s manual which includes all the information that student drivers need to pass the written exam. There are also many online practice exams, which potential drivers can use to gain the confidence they need to ace the exam.

This article originally appeared on as How to Get a Rhode Island Driver's Permit and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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