Most first-time drivers in Nevada must complete a drivers ed course to learn how to drive safely. This step is required by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (NV DMV) to obtain a driving permit or a drivers license. Fortunately, it’s not difficult going through one of these courses, and there are plenty available to choose from.
Steps to Getting Your Nevada License
If you’re looking to get your Nevada drivers license, we’re here to help. Welcome to our step by step guide to get you off of your couch and out onto the road. We know you have a lot of questions, so let’s get going.
No matter your age, getting your license can be an exciting, scary, and confusing time, sometimes all at the same time. First off, let’s clear up some Nevada DMV terms. In some cases, it seems they’ve gone out of their way to make it confusing.
Terms (and abbreviations) you should know:
- Classroom Driver Education—A.K.A. “drivers ed.” A state-approved course that will cover driving law and basic driving skills.
- Instruction Permit—A.K.A. “Learners Permit” or “Driving Permit.” This will allow you to practice drive legally before applying for your license.
- Class R License—The license you’re shooting for, allowing you to drive any vehicle besides a motorcycle or commercial vehicle.
- Knowledge Test—A.K.A. “Written Driving” or “Permit” Test, it’s the one you’ll have to pass to get a permit.
- Driving Skills Test—A.K.A. “Road Skills Test” or just plain ‘ol “Driving Test,” it’s the one you’ll have to pass to get your license.
- GDL—A.K.A. “Graduated Drivers License.” A “Class R” with some restrictions. These restrictions will apply if you are under 18.
Who Must Take Nevada Drivers Ed?
No matter your age, it’s probably not a bad idea for anyone to take a drivers ed course before getting their first license. However, Nevada only requires drivers ed for driving candidates younger than 18. You can enroll in drivers ed at age 15. You will need to provide a Certification of Attendance (DMV 301) to prove school attendance. This form must be completed according to the following guidelines:
- Students attending high school must have the principal or other school official complete Section 1 of the form.
- Students who are excused from attendance requirements because of disability or homeschooling must have a parent or guardian complete the first part of Section 2.
- Students who have completed high school or the equivalent must have a parent or guardian complete the first part of Section 2, complete the second part of Section 2, and provide a diploma or Certificate of High School Equivalency.
There is only one way for driving candidates younger than 18 to skip drivers ed. This would apply only if there is no classroom course offered within a 30-mile radius of your residence, and you do not have access to the internet. If you meet these requirements, you can substitute 100 hours of practice driving in place of a drivers ed course.
The Path to a Nevada License in a Nutshell
The quick and dirty looks like this:
- Take drivers ed
- Get a learner’s permit
- Complete 50 hours of practice driving
- Pass a road skills test
Now let’s take a look at what it’ll take to get those four steps done.
Step 1—Take Drivers Ed
A Nevada drivers ed course is comprised of either:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction
- 15 hours of classroom instruction and 5 hours of behind the wheel instruction
The classroom portion teaches topics like:
- Alcohol safety and drug abuse awareness
- Nevada traffic laws
- Required vehicle equipment and how to use and maintain it
- Sharing the road with other users like pedestrian and bicycles
- Driving in Hazardous Conditions
- Driving in Emergency Situations
- Know Your Vehicle
- Driving in Traffic
Nevada drivers ed can be completed online, at an approved driving school, or, if it is offered, your high school.
At the end of your course, you will receive a certificate of completion. Hold on to it. You’ll need it when you apply for your license.
Perhaps the easiest way is to complete the classroom portion of drivers ed is online. Taking drivers ed online means you can complete this portion at a pace and on a schedule that works best for you.
If you think completing a course online might be a good fit, here’s a list of some great Nevada online drivers ed providers.
Best Nevada DMV Approved Online Drivers Ed Course Providers
I Drive Safely
Aceable Drivers Ed
Online Driver’s Ed Course by Improv
Teen Driving Course
National Driving and Traffic School
Nevada Driving Schools
Las Vegas NV Driving School
Teen Road Rules
NV Drivers Ed
Cantor’s Driving School
ABC Drive Safe
All American Driving School
Online Drivers Ed
If you (or your folks) would prefer a traditional driving school experience, check out our guide to selecting the best driving school.
Step 2—Getting Your Permit
If you are 15 1/2 and have completed drivers ed, you can apply for your instruction permit.
When you arrive, be sure to have the following:
- Drivers Ed Certificate of Completion
- Certification of Attendance (from your school)
- Minor Affidavit & Information Sheet (DP-38)
- Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card (DMV 002) Also available in Spanish and Tagalog
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Address
For most applicants, proof of identity and address can be supplied by showing a certified, U.S. issued Birth Certificate, your Social Security Card, and two documents to prove your address.
Check out the NV DMV list of acceptable documents to see exactly what you should bring. We’ve also provided a list of links to all of the documents mentioned on the DMV list at the bottom of this post.
- You’ll also need to bring
- Your eyeballs (for a vision test)
- Check, cash, or credit card to pay your application fee.
After you have shown all of this to the folks at the DMV, hold on to it! You’ll need much of it again when you apply for your license.
Now it’s time for your written permit test.
The test will include questions about:
- Driving laws and their penalties, including traffic, liability insurance, alcohol-related, pedestrian, and implied-consent laws
- Differences between highway driving and city driving, including speed limits
- Procedures to be used in accidents or emergencies
- Distinguishing various signs and their meaning based on color and shape
- Meanings of pavement markings on both highways and streets
To pass the 25-question multiple-choice test, you’ll need to score 80%. Here are some suggestions on how to prepare.
Another way to give yourself a leg up on passing the permit test is to consider one (or more) of the following:
- Study the Nevada Drivers Manual
- Take a driver prep course, a great way to get you ready for your license. (Learn more)
- Quiz yourself with a Nevada permit practice test
A permit practice test has everything the “real” test does, except the pressure. That’s because practice tests feature questions taken from actual DMV exams. It’s like seeing all the answers before the test even begins! Don’t head for your test without a dress rehearsal; you want to pass the first time.
What If Your Test Didn’t Go Like You Planned?
What if you get to the testing center and, despite all your best preparation, your nerves get the best of you, and you wind up failing the test? First, don’t panic. Nearly 1 out of 3 test-takers fail on their first attempt.
If you do happen to fail, the DMV will give you two more chances, but there are some rules.
- You will have to wait until at least the next day for another attempt
- You may be subject to an additional fee
Step 3—50 Hours of Practice Driving
Now it’s time to put that learners permit to good use, and you are required to use it for six months before you can apply for your license.
Before you can take a driving test, you’ll have to complete 50 hours of practice driving, and at least 10 of those will need to happen after dark. You’ll need to record these hours on a Beginning Driver Experience Log.
Your permit does come with some restrictions. You must be accompanied at all times by a licensed driver who is:
- 21 or older
- Has had their license for at least one year
- Riding in the front passenger seat
While you might be nervous at first, do your best to enjoy this time and always pay close attention to what’s going on around you. You never know the kinds of things, good and bad, that you might learn from the drivers around you. Also, do yourself the favor of driving in as many conditions as you can, places like:
- On the highway
- In neighborhoods
- On winding or hilly roads
- In downtown areas
- In bad weather
It’s better if you don’t see these things for the first time on your own.
Since you’ll be using your permit for six months, there’s no reason not to drive WAY more than 50 hours! It can only do you good.
BTW—If you are planning a family road trip, you may get the chance to do some practice driving in another state. Check this out to see if you can.
Step 4—Pass a Driving Test
Finally, the last hurdle, your driving test. It’s all good. You got this.
You must be 16 years old to apply for a full license. You must also have:
- Held a valid instruction permit for at least six months
- No at-fault crashes in those six months
- No moving violation convictions in those six months
- No alcohol or drug convictions of any kind in those six months
You must schedule an appointment with the DMV for a driving test. You can either call or schedule online. You will need your instruction permit number or Social Security number available when you make the appointment.
When you arrive for your appointment, be sure to have the following with you:
- Parent/Guardian (to sign a Financial Responsibility Statement and Affidavit for Minor to be Licensed)
- Instruction Permit
- Completed Beginning Driver Experience Log (DLD 130) or RoadReady log printout
- Proof of Identity
- Drivers Education Certificate of Completion or high school report card/official school transcript showing Drivers Ed
- Application for Driving Privileges or ID Card (DMV 002) available in English | Spanish | Tagalog
- Check, cash, or credit card to pay your application fee
- A vehicle to take the test in. The vehicle must:
- Be insured
- Be properly registered
- Be able to pass a visual safety inspection
Told you that you wanted to hang on to all the stuff from when you got your permit!
The examiner will give you instructions on where to drive for the test. Serious traffic violations such as speeding or failure to yield will result in automatic failure. Examiners use a point system to grade other aspects of performance. If you fail the test, the examiner will explain why and instruct you on how to re-take it. A 30-day time limit can be imposed.
After you pass your test, you will return to the DMV to have your new license processed. The DMV will punch a hole on your instruction permit and return it to you along with a document that certifies your driving privilege. The actual license will be mailed to you within 10 business days.
In case you want to see what your license will look like, check out the Driver License Designs page.
Using Your New License
Per the rules of the Nevada Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Program, your new license will come with some restrictions concerning when you can drive and who you can have in the car with you.
If you are under age 18, you can’t drive state-wide from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M. except when driving:
- To or from work
- To or from school
- To or from an event sponsored by a civic, religious, or public organization. If you are pulled over, the officer may ask for satisfactory evidence of the event.
There are some individual municipalities with curfews stricter than the state rules. While they don’t apply specifically to driving, you should still know them.
- Las Vegas Strip and Downtown—9 P.M., unless accompanied by an adult
- Elsewhere in Las Vegas—10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; Midnight on Friday and Saturday
- Reno Downtown Gaming District—9 P.M., unless accompanied by an adult
- Elsewhere in Reno—Midnight all weekdays
If you are under age 18, you may not transport any passengers under age 18 for the first six months after receiving your license. This rule does not apply to passengers who are family members.
A Final Note
Any licensed driver will tell you that you will never face a driving situation as complicated, nerve-wracking, and time-consuming as getting your license. By no means should you let your guard down once you’re behind the wheel but, rest assured. You’ll never face anything on the road that will compare with the process it took to get you your license.
Good luck as you work your way through this. Can’t wait to see you out on the road!
A Final Final Note
If you’ve made it this far, may we suggest you bookmark this page? You’ll probably be coming back to it often as you work your way through this!
A Few More Helpful Items from the Nevada DMV
Additional Time Sheets to add to your driving log
Links to the Items on the List of Acceptable “Proof Documents”
Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240)
A Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or Form N-570)
A Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or Form N-561)
Permanent Resident “Green” Card (Form I-551)
Certification of Nevada Residency (DMV 005)