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Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers in Virginia
Obtaining a learner's permit is generally the first step that a beginner driver takes toward becoming a fully licensed driver in Virginia. You are eligible to apply for a learner's permit if you are at least 15 years and six months old and:
- you have never been licensed to operate a vehicle, or
- you are a new resident of Virginia who has been licensed in another state, but your driver's license has been expired for longer than six months
HOW TO OBTAIN AN ORIGINAL LEARNER'S PERMIT
- Download a copy of the Virginia Driver's Manual, or get a hard copy by visiting a local Driver License Center.
- If you are under 18 years of age, your parent or guardian must accompany you to sign the application. (Not required if you are married or an emancipated minor in which case you must produce relevant documents).
- Visit your local Driver License Center to submit the application. You must bring with you:
- The completed application form (form DL 1P). (In Virginia when you apply for your learner's permit you will also complete the application process for your driver's license).
- Acceptable proofs of identity, legal presence and Virginia residency as specified by the DMV. If you have changed your name, you must bring documents that support and clearly indicate your current name.
- Your Social Security card.
- The correct fee. Since you make a combined application - for learner's permit and driver's license - you also have to pay both the fees. It is $3 for the permit and $4 per year for the license (depending on age your learner's permit can be valid from 3 to 8 years). You can pay by cash, check, money order, e-check or credit card.
- You will be given a written knowledge test and an eye screening at the Driver License Center. If you pass these tests, you will be issued a learner's permit, which is valid for three to eight years depending on your age.
When driving with a learner's permit you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age of 21 or older. The supervising driver can be 18 if he or she is your sibling or legal guardian. This person must sit beside you.
THE FULL DRIVER'S LICENSE
If you are under 19, you must wait at least nine months after being issued your learner's permit and successfully complete an approved driver education course before you can get your driver's license.
- Your parent or guardian must sign the certificate verifying that you have a minimum of 45 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, 15 of which was at night, (under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver).
- Applicants under 18 need parental consent.
- Applicants under 19 will be given driving skills test as part of the driver education course so you may not have to take one again.
First time license applicants 19 years of age or older can take the road skills test once they have held a learner's permit for 30 days provided they have completed an approved driver education course.
If you are under 18 years of age you are only permitted to carry one unrelated passenger under 18 during the first year. After that you may carry up to three unrelated passengers until you reach 18.
- For more information, see our Beginner Drivers section.
- See also Applying for a Drivers License.
- See also Driver's Education, Driving Schools and Practice Tests.
- Bear in mind that in order to drive legally in the state of Virginia, you must have valid auto insurance. See our Auto Insurance section for more information, or to obtain a competitive quote on car insurance.