1.

New drivers licenses cannot be obtained online or by mail. Instead, you must apply for a new license in person at a local DMV. While there, you must pass a vision screening, a written exam and a skills test. To make sure that you are prepared, download our informative online drivers license guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to complete this application easily and quickly. In it, you will get in-depth details on how to complete other important licensing transactions, such as updating personal information on your license, renewing your license and replacing a lost one.

2. In Person at the DMV

To obtain a new drivers license at the DMV, you must submit identification documents and pass mandatory tests. A birth certificate or passport can verify your name and age, and a utility bill can prove your state residency. Generally, you must pass a written knowledge exam and a road skills test. You must also fill out a drivers license application form and pay the applicable fees. However, you may not know which forms to complete or if you are already eligible to take your exams. Arriving at the DMV unprepared may result in long wait times and potential mistakes, which could mean having to redo the process.


A drivers license in Washington D.C. allows residents to operate passenger vehicles on public roads. Overall, the district offers different DMV license credentials to eligible applicants, which vary depending on an applicant’s age. Moreover, it is important to note that REAL ID licenses are only issued to applicants who have a valid Social Security Number (SSN). Furthermore, motorists who are younger than 21 years of age must hold provisional licenses before a full license can be acquired.

Applicants who are between 16 and 18 years of age must apply for a permit before they can obtain a new drivers license in DC. After completing state-issued tests and application procedures, young motorists may apply for a provisional license. To do so, these motorists must adhere to the district’s restricted driving times when operating their vehicles. To learn more about how to get a driver’s license in Washington DC, read the sections below.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Washington D.C. as an Adult (18 or Older)

If you are 18 years of age or older and apply for a D.C. DMV drivers license, you will first be issued a learner’s permit and will need to complete all of the tests required by the district. Every new drivers license will be mailed to the address on file at the DMV once drivers pass the practical skills test and pay all applicable fees.

Furthermore, it is important to note that adults between 18 and 21 years of age will only be eligible for a provisional or a “limited purpose” license.

In order to apply for a drivers license in the District of Columbia, motorists must be D.C. residents. In addition, they must present the correct identification documents to the DMV during the application process. If a particular applicant is not able to provide a Social Security Number (SSN), he or she will only be eligible to receive a limited purpose license and permit. Furthermore, REAL ID drivers licenses are only issued to applicants who are 21 years of age or older.

Steps to Obtain a Washington D.C. Driving Permit

Before applying for a DMV license in Washington D.C., all motorists must obtain a permit. Depending on whether or not you have a Social Security Number, the permit you apply for may differ. Consider the following steps when applying for a license to drive at a DC DMV office:

  1. Complete the REAL ID driver’s license application form. This form may be printed online and completed prior to arriving at the DMV. Alternatively, you may complete a limited purpose permit application form if you do not have an SSN.
  2. Provide proof of your identity and age.
  3. Submit two documents proving your state residency.
  4. Provide proof of SSN, if applicable. If you are applying for a limited purpose permit, you must also include a Social Security declaration form.
  5. Undergo a vision screening at the DMV office.
  6. Take and pass the written knowledge test.
  7. Have your photograph taken.
  8. Pay for any applicable DMV driver’s license

Steps to Obtain a Washington D.C. Provisional or Limited Purpose License

All driver’s license applicants who are younger than 21 years of age are automatically enrolled in the GRAD license program. If you are at least 21 years of age, you are allowed to immediately apply for the road skills test and receive a DMV license with full privileges. Otherwise, if you are between 18 and 21 years of age, you must hold a permit for six months and apply for a REAL ID provisional license. If you do not have an SSN, you must apply for a limited purpose driving license nonetheless. To apply for a provisional or limited purpose driver’s license, be mindful of the following steps:

  1. Complete the provisional license eligibility form. This form confirms that you have completed 40 hours of driving experience alongside a licensed motorist.
  2. Complete the proper DMV license application form for a provisional or limited purpose credential.
  3. Present your learner’s permit.
  4. Pass the road skills test.
  5. Undergo the vision screening and have your photograph taken.
  6. Pay for the license fee.

Motorists may immediately apply for a DC DMV drivers license whenever they turn 21 years of age while holding a provisional license. At this point, applicants will be released from the GRAD program and may apply for a full license at a local DMV office. Otherwise, when your provisional credential expires, you will receive a DMV license with full privileges.

Getting a Washington D.C. Drivers License as a New Resident

New residents of Washington D.C. are required to apply for a drivers license within 30 days of moving to the district. As a general rule, applicants with out-of-state licenses must convert their current credentials to a DC document. To do so, follow the steps below.

  1. Complete the applicable driver’s license application
  2. Provide proof of identity, state residency and SSN, if applicable.
  3. Take the vision test and have your photograph taken.
  4. Pay for any applicable fees.

Your new driver’s license in Washington DC will be mailed to you. If you hold an expired out-of-state driver’s license, you may be required to take additional knowledge and driving skills tests.

How to Apply for a Drivers License in Washington D.C. as a Teen (Younger Than 18)

Motorists as young as 16 years of age may apply for a learner’s permit in order to begin their process of obtaining a DMV driver’s license. Then, motorists will become eligible for a provisional license, which they must hold until they are 21 years of age. Overall, young motorists will be automatically enrolled in the district’s GRAD program, which only allows them to operate a vehicle during certain restricted hours.

Washington D.C. Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens

When applying for a DMV driver’s license or permit in the District of Columbia, be mindful that you must be able to prove that you are a DC resident. In addition, you must be at least 16 years of age and be able to pass the vision and knowledge tests conducted by the DMV. If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will only be eligible for a limited purpose permit.

The Washington DC drivers license requirements state that parental consent must be given on all applications regarding motorists who are younger than 18 years of age. Furthermore, minors must complete a certain number of hours behind the wheel to qualify for a provisional license. A parent or legal guardian must supervise the minor and sign the certification form when the application is being submitted.

While driver education courses are not mandatory for motorists to apply for a drivers license in DC, residents are offered programs to help improve their skills. Driver education programs consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and eight hours of behind-the-wheel experience. Although driver’s ed programs are not required in the District of Columbia, all young motorists are required by law to complete 50 hours of supervised driving experience prior to applying for a provisional or limited purpose DMV license.

Steps to Obtain a Driving Permit in Washington D.C. as a Teen

If you are at least 16 years of age and a resident of D.C., you may apply for a permit and begin your path to obtaining a DMV driver’s license. However, these applicants will be required to include a completed parental consent form along with their applications. In general, permit holders will only be allowed to operate vehicles between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Once you have held your permit for at least six months, you may schedule a road skills test and apply for a provisional driver’s license. To do so, you may follow the steps mentioned in the previous section. Furthermore, young motorists holding a provisional license are only permitted to drive during the following times:

  • September to June
    • Sunday to Thursday between 6 a.m. and 10:59 p.m.
    • Friday to Saturday between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.
  • July and August
    • Every day between 6 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.

Washington D.C. Drivers License Costs

The Washington DC DMV accepts most debit and credit cards for applicants to pay for new driver’s license fees. At certain locations, cash is not accepted.

All applicants must pay for the applicable fees with the D.C. DMV before a license or permit can be issued. These fees include:

  • Learner’s permit – $20
  • Provisional license – $20
  • Driver’s license – $47
  • Knowledge test – $10
  • Road skills test – $10
Last updated on Tuesday, December 4 2018.

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