Maryland's Graduated Licensing System
A provisional license is the next stage of the Rookie Driver graduated licensing system process. After gaining experience driving with a learner's permit for a minimum of 9 months, maintaining a conviction-free driving record and completing a Maryland MVA licensed and approved standardized driver education course, new drivers are eligible for a provisional license.
For people who previously held a driver's license less than 18 months, it's a two-stage system; a provisional license, then a full driver's license.
Note: U.S. Armed Forces Military Operators Permits must be accompanied by acceptable proof that the holder currently has or has held a driver’s license in a U.S. State or country (valid or expired). If the applicant is unable to provide acceptable proof of ever holding a license from another state or country, they must be processed as a NEW driver and must complete all of the required GLS licensing requirements.
- Minimum age is 16 years and 6 months.
- Applicants must successfully complete a Maryland MVA licensed and approved standardized driver education course. Effective January 1, 2009, all driver education providers will electronically submit the applicant's course completion information directly to the MVA, eliminating the issuance of paper driver education certificates.
- Out-of-State Driver’s Education certificates are not typically accepted by the MVA. Currently, the MVA has only approved certain specific certificates issues by the Delaware Board of Education, that physically state that the certificate has been Approved by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. No other out-of-state certificates are currently accepted.
- A qualified supervising driver (parent, guardian, or mentor) must submit a completed and signed Practice Skills Log documenting a minimum of 60 hours of supervised driving for applicants. A qualified supervising driver is a licensed driver, 21 years of age or older, with at least 3 years of driving experience. At least 10 of the practice hours must occur during the period beginning 30 minutes before sunset and ending 30 minutes after sunrise. For more information on this law...
- Provisional license holders under 18 are only authorized to drive without supervision between the hours of 5 am to midnight. From midnight to 5 am they must be accompanied by a supervising driver who is 21 or older, and has held a license for a minimum of 3 years.
- Provisional license holders under the age of 18, during the first 5 months (151 days) of the provisional period, are not allowed to have passengers under the age of 18, unless accompanied by a qualified supervising driver or the passengers are direct family members. Direct family members can be a spouse, daughter, son, stepdaughter, stepson, sister, brother, stepsister, or stepbrother of the provisional license holder, or a relative of the license holder who lives at the same address. For more information on this law...
- Convictions or "Probation Before Judgment" (PBJ) for moving violations while holding a provisional license will require the completion of a driver improvement program and/or the suspension/revocation of your driver's license. Convictions also restart the 18-month minimum waiting period.
In addition to other sanctions applied by the courts, these Administrative sanctions listed below are also imposed:
- 1st Conviction = driver improvement classes
- 2nd Conviction = 30-day suspension of license
- 3rd Conviction (or Subsequent Conviction) = 180-day suspension or revocation of license
- Provisional license holders under 18 and all the passengers in the vehicle they are driving must use proper restraints.
Provisional license holders under the age of 18 are restricted from driving between 12 midnight and 5 a.m. unless:
- The driver is accompanied or supervised by a licensed driver, 21 years of age or older, with at least 3 years of driving experience.
- The driver is driving to, from, or during employment.
- The driver is driving to or from an official school activity.
- The driver is driving to or from an organized volunteer program.
- The driving is driving to or from participation in an athletic event or related training session.
Upon becoming 18, a provisional license holder is no longer bound by this restriction and may drive at any hour.
Note: Effective October 1, 2012 an individual at least 25 years old who holds a (Graduated Licensing System - GLS) learner’s permit and has not been convicted of, or granted Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) for a moving violation, is eligible to take a skills driving test after holding this permit for a minimum of 45 days if they:
1. Have completed a Maryland MVA approved standardized driver education program consisting of at least 30 hours of classroom instruction and at least 6 hours of behind the wheel instruction training and;
2. Have completed an additional minimum of at least 14 hours of supervised behind the wheel driving (3 hours of which must occur during the period beginning 30 minutes before sunset and ending 30 minutes after sunrise) and
3. Have an eligible supervising driver complete a Practice Skills log and certification page.
- If the applicant has been convicted of or given a PBJ for a moving violation, they are required to hold the permit for a minimum of 9 months following the most recent date the individual was convicted of,or granted a PBJ for a moving violation, and meet the rest of the GLS requirements listed in the paragraph above before they are eligible to take a skills driving test.
- If an applicant is under 25 years old when they obtain their first GLS learner’s permit and then turns 25 afterwards, the MVA will permit the applicant to take a skills driving test if they have held the permit at least 45 days (the 45 days may include the days the applicant held the permit before they turned 25), they have completed at least 14 hours of supervised driving as described in the paragraph above as well as the required driver’s education program and have an eligible supervising driver complete a Practice Skills Log and certification page.
- If the applicant has been convicted of or given a PBJ for a moving violation, they are required to hold the permit for a minimum of 9 months following the most recent date the individual was convicted of, or granted a PBJ for a moving violation, and meet the rest of the GLS requirements in the note above before they are eligible to take a skills driving test.
Basic Requirements for Provisional Licenses Issued to Persons Who Previously Held a Driver's License from Another State or Country:
Maryland's provisional license is a probationary-type license. It requires conviction-free driving prior to obtaining a full driver's license. It is issued to drivers after they gain experience driving with a learner's permit and to previously licensed drivers with less than 18 months of driving experience.
- Issued to persons who previously held a driver's license from another state or country who have less than 18 months of driving experience, regardless of their age.
- If under 18, it prohibits driving between 12 midnight to 5 a.m. unless supervised or certain conditions are met.
- Must be held the minimum time periods specified below with the driver free of moving violation convictions:
- Previously licensed 0 to less than 6 months
Driver must hold Maryland provisional license for 18 months minimum and be conviction-free.
- Previously licensed 6 to less than 12 months
Driver must hold Maryland provisional license for 12 months minimum and be conviction-free.
- Previously licensed 12 to less than 18 months
Driver must hold Maryland provisional license for 6 months minimum and be conviction-free.
- If convicted of a moving violation, the driver must restart an 18-month waiting period with no additional moving violations. Only then can a driver become eligible to convert to a full driver's license.
If suspended or revoked the driver must restart an 18-month waiting period from the date the driver's license is reinstated. The driver must complete the 18-month period with no additional moving violations. For more information...Notes:1. Like Maryland, some states grant an extension of the driver’s license validity period to active duty U.S. military personnel and/or their dependants. However, Maryland law does NOT make any provisions for the MVA to accept and transfer an Out-of-State driver's license that has been expired for one (1) year or more, unless the applicant retests and passes the Vision, Knowledge and Skill tests.2. Maryland no longer acknowledges an Out-of-State license holder’s military extension for licensing purposes. If the applicant’s Out-of-State license has been expired for one (1) year or more and the applicant states that their license was renewed or physically extended by their licensing state (but they do not have the current/new license in their possession), then the customer must provide the MVA with a certified copy of their out-of-state driving record that was issued within the last 30 days, which states a current valid license expiration date. If this document is accepted, then the retesting will not be required. If the customer is unable to provide this document, then they will be required to retest if they wish to transfer their out of state license.
Converting to a Full Driver's License
If your provisional license was issued on July 1, 2004 or after and you successfully meet all requirements, the MVA automatically converts the license to a full driver's license status. An attachment card showing the conversion to a full license is mailed to the driver. The card is carried with the provisional license to show the change in licensing status. The attachment card is no longer needed when the provisional license expires. The driver comes in for a license renewal, pays the renewal fee and then is issued a full license. The minimum age for conversion is 18 years, 0 months. Provisional license holders under 18 must have the application co-signed by a parent.
If your provisional license was issued prior to July 1, 2004, you must appear in person at a MVA office to convert from the provisional to a full license.
Parents Please Note
- If a new driver under 18 is cited for a moving violation, the MVA will notify the cosigner.
- Drivers under 18 may have their license suspended if the parent, guardian, or cosigner withdraws their consent. Contact the MVA for details.
Things to Remember
- To obtain a learner's permit, provisional license or driver's license, visit any of our Full service MVA office in Maryland.
- Your driver's skills test for a provisional license must be scheduled in advance. Click here to access the MVA's Central Scheduling System to make a skills test appointment. Applicants must pass a skills test administered either in traffic or on a course or both.
- Obtain a free copy of the Maryland Driver's Handbook and How to Apply brochure. Each offers valuable information for new drivers.
- The State of Maryland requires all registered owners to carry liability insurance, uninsured motorist, and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
- If drivers change their name and/or Maryland address, Maryland law requires them to notify the MVA within 30 days. Address changes for a noncommercial license or ID card may be changed by mail or in person. Name changes MUST be done in person at any MVA office. CDL license and learner's permit holders MUST apply for a corrected license or permit in persona at any FULL service MVA office. For name changes, drivers are required to submit acceptable documentation to substantiate the change.
Note: Customers must also be sure to change their name with the Social Security Administration (SSA) prior to coming to the MVA. The license, learner's permit or ID card will not be issued if the new desired name change does not match the SSA records and is not automatically verified by the SSA files. It may take a minimum of 48 hours or longer for the SSA to update their records with your name.Customers may obtain a Change of Address form (VR-154) at any MVA office, online or the form may be mailed to you. To have the form mailed, please call the MVA Customer Service Center at 1-410-768-7000 or 1-800-492-4575 TTY for the hearing impaired.
To obtain a corrected provisional license, drivers must report in person to any of our office locations. Applicants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to co-sign the application.For more information, please call 410-768-7000 to speak with a customer service representative.TTY for the hearing impaired: 1-800-492-4575 or visit: www.MVA.Maryland.gov.