Applying for a learners permit in Washington D.C. is an important step for novice drivers who are starting their driving careers. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues its drivers permit credentials within the framework of its Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) program.

Participating in the GRAD program is a mandatory step for drivers younger than 21 years of age. The goal of the GRAD learning license is to allow its holder to gradually gain driving experience in safe environments.

To successfully obtain a DMV learners permit in D.C., applicants will be required to meet certain eligibility criteria, which will vary based on factors such as the driver’s age and whether or not he or she is getting a REAL ID credential. Note that when driving with a learning permit, beginner motorists will have to abide by certain driving restrictions. Continue reading the following sections to get more information about the learner’s credential and its application process.

Did you know? To become a part of the only 3 out of 10 drivers who pass knowledge exam on their first try, take a practice driving test. With our Washington DC online practice driving test the odds are in your favor for learning the information you need for a successful first attempt at the DC knowledge test.

Washington D.C. Learners Permit Eligibility Guidelines

The DMV will issue you a drivers learners permit in Washington D.C. only if you meet the applicable eligibility criteria. The standard drivers permit requirements are outlined below:

  • You are a Washington D.C. resident and lawfully present within the country.
  • You are at least 16 years of age.
  • You have the permission of your parent or guardian to apply for a permit, if you are younger than 18 years of age.
  • You are physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle.
  • You can prove that you have the knowledge necessary for safe vehicle operation.
  • You have the applicable documents and fee payments.

One of the most important steps when getting a D.C. learners permit is collecting the full set of paperwork needed to prove your eligibility. First, you must submit evidence of identity and age with an original document bearing your name and date of birth, such as a valid U.S. passport or a birth certificate.

Noncitizens and drivers present within Washington D.C. on a temporary basis will be required to choose the corresponding immigration document, such as a foreign passport with a visa, an employment authorization document or a permanent resident card.

The remaining documents needed for a learning license are two proofs of state residency and evidence of a Social Security Number. You can prove your street address with documents that contain your full name and residential address, such as telephone bills, homeowner paperwork and financial statements. Finally, you will need your Social Security card or a tax statement displaying your full Social Security Number.

If you are unable to produce a Social Security Number, you will only be eligible for a limited purpose drivers permit. Unlike the REAL ID permit, this learning license does not allow you to designate certain options such as Selective Service eligibility, voting and veteran status.

How to Apply for a Learners Permit in Washington D.C.

The process of getting learners permit in Washington D.C. can easily be completed through any D.C. DMV service center. If you are wondering how to apply for learner permit credentials, note that you will have to follow these steps:

  • Fill out the D.C. Driver License or Identification Card Application before or after visiting a DMV site.
  • Have your parent or legal guardian fill out and sign the DMV Parental Consent Form to Obtain a Learner Permit or Identification Card, if you are younger than 18 years of age.
  • Submit the full set of supporting documents, as outlined above.
    • If you are applying for a limited purpose permit, you will also need to fill out the Social Security Number Declaration for Limited Purpose Credential and the 6-Month Residency Certification for Limited Purpose Credential.
  • Pass the vision screening and the knowledge test.
  • Have your photograph taken.
  • Pay the licensing fees.

After processing your D.C. learners permit application, the DMV will issue you a 45-day temporary permit, which you can utilize until you receive your actual permit by mail after 10 business days. Your new permit will be issued with a non-renewable validity of two years. If you are present within Washington D.C. on a temporary basis, you will receive a learners permit with an expiration date that coincides with the date of your stay termination.

The Washington D.C. Drivers Permit Test

Passing the DMV permit test in Washington D.C. is one of the more important steps in the application process, since you must prove that you have the necessary knowledge of safe driving practices. The drivers permit test checks whether or not you have sufficient knowledge of the road rules and regulations, traffic signs and driving safety rules. You can take this exam in several other languages in addition to English.

You are not required to schedule a visit for the D.C. learners permit test. However, you must visit the office at least 60 minutes before its closing time.

To ensure that you pass the written exam, you must carefully study the state driving manual. If you obtain a DMV practice permit test, you will greatly increase your chances of passing the test on your first attempt.

While the state DMV offers a practice exam via its website, you can also obtain a more comprehensive practice test via a third-party provider. Note that if you fail to pass the learning permit test, you must wait at least three days before retaking it

Washington D.C. Driving Permit Rules and Restrictions

You must abide by certain driving permit rules in Washington D.C. when driving with a learning license. For instance, when operating a vehicle with a learners permit, you must be accompanied by another licensed driver older than 20 years of age seated next to you. Also, you will only be allowed to drive between the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. If you have to operate your vehicle during restricted hours, you may be allowed to do so only for certain specific reasons, such as commuting to and from work, school or religious institutions.

Per the D.C. learners permit rules you will also have to wear your seat belt at all times and avoid using a mobile device. You are prohibited from carrying any additional passengers and driving for compensation as well.

Washington D.C. Learner Permit Fees

The last step when getting a DMV learners permit in Washington D.C. is arranging payment for the applicable fees. The current learner permit fee schedule is outlined in the following list:

  • DMV permit cost: $20
  • Duplicate learner permit: $20
  • Knowledge test: $10

Note: The D.C. DMV will accept your payment in the form of check, money order, cash or payment card.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.