Community members and activists gather in the State Capitol rotunda on January 30, 2023, to support the Driver's Licenses for All bill. The bill, which would allow undocumented Minnesotans to obtain driver's licenses, was passed in the Minnesota House that night. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

Undocumented Minnesotans can start making appointments at Driver and Vehicle Services sites across the state to begin the process of obtaining a driver’s license, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety announced Thursday.

The Driver’s Licenses For All legislation that was signed into law earlier this year goes into effect October 1. It ends a requirement that applicants must show proof of legal residence in the United States in order to apply for a state driver’s license or identification card. 

“We’re excited about it,” said Jody-Kay Peterson, a director for the state’s Driver and Vehicle Services. “We’re only three weeks and three days away from implementing.”

Minnesota joins 18 states and Washington, D.C., in allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Peterson said that Driver and Vehicle Services will not share names or personal information from state driving databases with immigration law enforcement officials. 

Peterson discussed the application process for undocumented Minnesotans at a news conference Thursday morning. 

How do I make an appointment?

Appointments can be made up to 30 days in advance and can be scheduled on the department’s website. You can also call (651) 284-1000 to make an appointment.

Do I need to bring documents?

Applicants must still provide certain documents to apply for a license. A list of accepted documents can be found on the Driver and Vehicle Services website

Peterson said that documents in foreign languages must be translated into English by a certified translator before applicants arrive for their appointments at Driver and Vehicle Services offices.

How can I get on a waitlist for an appointment?

Appointments are currently available, Peterson said, but they usually fill up quickly. Appointments for all Minnesotans at Driver and Vehicle Services offices will be in higher demand now that an estimated 81,000 undocumented Minnesotans are newly eligible to apply for a driver’s license, Peterson said. 

When appointment slots fill up, applicants, undocumented or not, can subscribe to a waitlist to find out when an appointment opens up. 

What tests do I need to pass to get a driver’s license?

Applicants will need to pass a knowledge test before receiving a temporary permit. Applicants 19 years and older will need to practice driving with a permit for three months before scheduling a road test where they will drive a car under supervision. 

Applicants 18 and younger have to practice for six months under a permit before they are eligible for a road test.

Peterson said it can take three to six months to complete the process and receive a license, depending on how many times the applicant needs to take the necessary tests. 

“I can tell you some of my peers, even some of my relatives, have taken the knowledge test multiple times,” Peterson said. “It depends on how prepared and how well they studied for both exams.”

Can I take the knowledge test in a language other than English?

The knowledge test is available in eight languages: English, Somali, Hmong, Vietnamese, Russian, Karen, Spanish, and American Sign Language. 

The knowledge test can also be completed orally, and test-takers can bring an interpreter if needed. Applicants can also access a pre-recorded audio feature and listen to the questions in English. 

Peterson said she advises applicants to study the driver’s manual, which is available in English, Spanish, and Somali, before completing their knowledge test. She added that the state is looking to make the manual available in other languages.

How is the state handling the expected increase in applications?

Driver and Vehicle Services will hire 12 examiners and four license issuers to expand capacity. 

“Hiring for that has been going well,” Peterson said. “We’ve had some of those brand new positions started and going through training. And so we are expected to be able to meet the demand.”

Where can I go to find more information?

Applicants can visit for more resources. The state website also allows users to send questions through the website in English, Hmong, or Spanish. It can also translate the state’s Driver and Vehicle Services website into other languages.

Sahan Journal also compiled this guide about the process.

Hibah Ansari is a reporter for Sahan Journal covering immigration and politics. She was named the 2022 Young Journalist of the Year by the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. She’s a graduate...