Rhode Island Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your RI License
  • Preparing for the RI Permit Test
  • Taking the RI Permit Test?
  • Preparing for the RI Driving Test
  • Taking the RI Driving Test
  • Renewing Your RI License
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Applying for Your RI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Teen drivers in Rhode Island are required to progress through three stages to receive their unrestricted driver’s license. Those stages and their age requirements are:

  • Limited Instructional Permit (Learner’s Permit) – 16 with driver’s ed completion
  • Limited Provisional Driver’s License – held Learner’s Permit for at least 6 months
  • Unrestricted Driver’s License – 17 years old

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Rhode Island?

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of residency
  • Driver’s ed certificate of completion
  • $11.50 for permit fee

Visit the RI DMV for a complete list of acceptable documents to submit as proof of the above.

Where do I file my RI driver’s license application?

You should file your application at a local DMV branch office.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://www.dmv.ri.gov/locations/ for office locations and contact information.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, to receive your Limited Learner’s Permit you need to complete an approved 33-hour driver’s education course.

What if I am new to Rhode Island?

If you are new to RI, you have 30 days to transfer an out-of-state license to a Rhode Island License. To do this, visit your DMV office, submit your license and provide proof of identity and residency. You will also need to pay a fee of $34.50.

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Preparing for the RI Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The Rhode Island written test covers motor vehicle laws and rules of the road. All questions are taken from the state’s driver’s manual. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you could be tested on:

  • Drivers at risk of becoming drowsy behind the wheel include: drivers on long trips; drivers lacking sleep; drivers with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders; drivers on the road during the body’s natural “low” times; drivers on the road after extended wakefulness; young drivers; and shift workers.
  • Hand signals for turns are: for a left turn, put your left hand and arm straight out, keeping hand and arm still. For a right turn, put your left hand and arm up, keeping hand and arm still.

How is the test formatted?

The Rhode Island test is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

No, questions are taken from the Rhode Island Driver’s Manual and are written to test your knowledge of traffic laws, signs and safe driving practices. Study the manual thoroughly to ensure you don’t find any question “tricky” or “surprising.”

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 50 questions on the test and you must answer at least 40 of them correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

You should study the Rhode Island Driver’s Manual very carefully. You can also take practice tests online to get a better idea of what areas you have good knowledge of and which areas you need to study more.

Where can I get a free Rhode Island Driver’s Manual to study?

Free copies are available on this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

When studying the driver’s manual be sure to pay close attention to measurements, distances and lengths. Also, be sure to study the drinking and driving section. To get a better idea of the type of questions you will face on the test, take a practice test.

What should I do the night before the test?

The ideal scenario is to have study so much beforehand that you are able to just do a light review (browse the driver’s manual, take a practice test) on the night before the test and then get a good night’s sleep. This will help ensure you are rested and at your best when it comes time to take the test.

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Taking the RI Permit Test?: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Your local DMV office may accept appointments, contact them to find out. If they accept appointments, it is recommended that you make one.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local DMV office.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of residency
  • Driver’s ed certificate of completion
  • $11.50 for permit fee

Visit the RI DMV for a complete list of acceptable documents to submit as proof of the above.

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a fee of $11.50.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The test has 50 questions covering signs, traffic laws and safe driving practices. You will need to answer at least 40 of them correctly to pass. When taking the test you cannot refer to any notes, use the driver’s manual or get help from anyone else. To familiarize yourself with the test format, take a practice test.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Junior Learner’s Permit and can begin supervised driving practice. You must complete 50 total hours of driving practice with at least 10 of those hours completed at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

You can retake the test.

How soon can I retake the written test?

You are allowed to retake the test as soon as the next business day.

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Preparing for the RI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

Your Limited Instructional Permit will allow you to being supervised driving practice. For these practice hours you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over who has held their license for at least five years. You will need to complete a total of 50 hours of driving practice with at least 10 of those hours coming at night.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You can apply for your Limited Provisional License after you have held the Learner’s Permit for six months and have completed all 50 hours of the required supervised driving practice time.

Can I drive anywhere in Rhode Island with my Learner’s Permit?

As long as you are accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older who has had their license for at least five years, you can drive on any Rhode Island public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you are required to complete at least 10 of your 50 supervised driving practice hours at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

You must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or over who has held their license for at least five years.

What should I do if I have a lost Rhode Island Learner’s Permit?

You can replace the permit by visiting a DMV office with proper identification.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

The test includes pre-driving procedures, driving in traffic, parking, making proper turns and other common driving experiences – be sure to practice all of these things extensively.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

You should practice parking, including parallel parking; turns, including a three-point turnabout; making quick stops; backing; driving in traffic; and more.

How can I simulate the driving test?

Be sure to practice maneuvers like parking, stopping, turning and backing. Also be sure to practice driving in traffic where you need to respond to cars around you and use good defensive driving skills. Examples of good defensive driving skills would be following at a safe distance, using signals and obeying traffic signs.

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Taking the RI Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Road tests should be scheduled as far in advance as possible. You can schedule a test online or by contacting a branch office.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test at a local DMV branch office.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • Your original permit
  • Signed and notarized affidavit of 50 hours driving practice
  • License of the supervising driver
  • Notarized letter allowing use of vehicle when registered owner is not present (where applicable) or notarized letter from the owner/president of a corporation acknowledging use of a corporate vehicle
  • Vehicle with a center emergency brake.
  • Proof of valid Rhode Island registration

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will be asked to complete both common vehicle maneuvers such as parking, backing and stopping, as well as to drive in traffic. You will need to show good control of your vehicle as well as good awareness of cars, pedestrians and road signs and signals.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Common reasons for failure include leaving the designated roadway; getting a “moving” violation; lack of cooperation with the License Examiner; and collision or contact with any other object.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Not using proper hand position on the steering wheel
  • Over-correcting on a turn
  • Failing to park properly
  • Not obeying a traffic sign or signal
  • Going over the posted speed limit

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You will have to call or visit a DMV office to schedule a new test.

How soon can I retake the test?

You must wait at least 30 days before you can retake the test. If your permit expires, you may have to take the written test again and get a new permit.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Limited Provisional Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a Rhode Island license?

  • Cannot drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless you are accompanied by a supervising driver or traveling to/from work
  • Cannot drive with more than one passenger under 21 years of age unless they are immediate family members

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in RI?

Drivers in Rhode Island are required to meet the following minimum car insurance requirements:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per incident
  • $25,000 for property damage
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Renewing Your RI License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

Rhode Island driver’s licenses need to be renewed every five years – or every two years if you are 75 or older. A renewal form with instructions will be sent to you before the expiration date.

You can replace a lost or stolen license by visiting a DMV office with proper identification. You will need to pay a $26.50 duplicate license fee.

Where can I renew my Rhode Island driver’s license?

You can renew your Rhode Island Driver’s License in person at a DMV office or, if you are eligible, online.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

No, a vision test is not required. The state says visual acuity of 20/40 or better is necessary to drive safely without corrective lenses. If you believe you do not meet that vision standard make an appointment with an optometrist right away.


The Rhode Island DMV Test — What You Need to Know

Wouldn’t it be great if you had your Rhode Island learners permit? No more begging your friends or family to take you where you want to go.

Before you can be issued a permit, you will need to pass a written knowledge test administered by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  More commonly known as the permit test, this test was created to determine if you have the knowledge to be a safe and courteous driver. The test will evaluate your awareness of the rules of the road, signs and signals, and Rhode Island motor vehicle laws.

Get a Feel for the Real Exam With RI DMV Practice Tests

Most people become uneasy at just the thought of taking a test, and this can often lead to failure. In fact, statistics tell us that 2 out of 3 people fail the written test every year!

Don’t worry!  We’re here to help.

You’ll find that we’ve done all the painful work of gathering the critical study resources for you. Here you’ll find a list of exactly what you need to study. Our free Rhode Island practice permit test will give you a better idea of what the real test format will look like while providing important feedback. You’ll also find a copy of the official Rhode Island Driver’s manual.  Getting your motorcycle permit?  We have test prep resources available for that too.