Real ID requirements will be in place on October 1st, 2021. If you intend to get a REAL ID, you will likely need to visit a DMV in person.

Read More >

Important Notice About Real ID Implementation

Read More >

Washington DC Frequently Asked Questions about Drivers Licenses

What type of noncommercial license will I need?
If you do not need a commercial driver’s license and do not drive a motorcycle, you will need a standard driver’s license. In the District of Columbia, this is the Class D driver’s license with no additional endorsements. To obtain this license, you must pass the standard written drivers test, road skills test and visual exam.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in Washington DC

How do I apply for a drivers license?
The first step to complete when applying for a driver’s license in Washington, D.C. is visiting a DC DMV center near you. You must bring proper documentation such as proof of identity and residence. There may be additional requirements depending on the type of license you are obtaining. Most licenses require applicants to successfully pass knowledge and road skills tests. Once all of these steps are complete, you must pay all applicable fees and take your photograph.

For more information: How to Apply For a Driver’s License in Washington, D.C.

What tests will I need to take for my driver’s license?
To obtain a driver’s license, you must meet all the testing requirements. That means you must pass a writing driver’s test, a road skills test and a vision exam. The written driver’s test includes information from the driver’s handbook, such as road signs and road markings. The road skills test is to determine your practical knowledge and ability to comply with the rules of the road. The vision exam determines whether you will be required to wear vision-correcting lenses or not while driving. You can complete all three at once at the DMV. However, if you have already held a learners permit or a driver’s license from another state, you will not have to retake the exams.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in Washington DC

Where can I get a new driver’s license?
To apply for a new driver’s license, you must gather all the necessary documents and bring them to a local DMV office. However, the DC DMV does not accept walk-in applications. Therefore, before you visit a DC DMV, you should make an appointment to apply for a new driver’s license.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in Washington DC

What documents do I need to get my drivers license?
When applying for a drivers license in Washington DC, you must present the following items at the DMV:

  • Your Driver License/Identification Card Application
  • Proof of your ability to drive, such as a valid permit
  • Proof of your Social Security Number
  • Two documents providing proof of residency
  • Proof of your age and identity
  • A signed medical certification and card, if you are 70 years or older
  • The $47 licensing fee

In order to complete the knowledge and road skills tests, expect to pay an additional $10 each.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in Washington DC

How does the DMV check my vision?
At the DMV a representative will determine the status of your vision by administering a vision test. During this test, you will look through a machine and read lines of letters and numbers aloud. If you fail the DMV vision screen, you must have your vision tested by an eye care professional and submit an Eye Report to the DMV.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in Washington DC

How can I renew my drivers license?
When your license is nearing its expiration date, you will receive a driver’s license renewal notice 60 days prior to the date. From there, you must complete the renewal via mail, online or in person by simply paying the fee. However, if you have an expired license of more than a year, you must retake the knowledge test or take the online traffic school course. If it has been more than 545 days since its expiration date, you must retake the road skills test as well.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

Will I get a driver’s license renewal notice in the mail?
If your address is up to date, you will receive a driver’s license renewal notice in the mail. It will be mailed 60 days before your current driver’s license expires. If your address is not up to date, the renewal notice may not be sent to the correct address. Make sure to perform a change of address whenever you move to insure you get important documents such as renewal notices.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

What documents do I need to present to renew my drivers license?
To apply for drivers license renewal in Washington DC, you must prepare the following documents along with your application:

  • Your current license
  • Proof of residency in the district
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Proof of your identity
  • The $47 fee for renewal

If you are 70 years or older, you must renew in person and provide additional documents. Once you undergo the mandatory examination by a licensed physician, include the signed medical certificate and card with your renewal application.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

How do I renew my license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
Military personnel stationed outside of D.C. may renew drivers licenses online or by mail. You are only eligible for online or by mail renewal if your current driver’s license is a REAL ID or Limited Purpose license. You also cannot have recently changed your name or D.C. address.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

What should I do if I have not received my renewed license?
If you have not received your renewed driver’s license in the mail, visit your local DC DMV office. Bring a receipt for the driver’s license renewal if you have it, and your current driver’s license or temporary paper driver’s license. You must carry the temporary paper license until you receive your renewed driver’s license. If you are caught by police officers driving with an expired license and no temporary license, you may be fined.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

Is there an age limit to renew your license?
The process to renew a drivers license in Washington DC does not involve any age restrictions. Licenses can be renewed either online, by mail or in person up to 60 days before expiration, or up to 364 days after expiration. However, drivers who are 70 years of age or older are required to apply for drivers license renewal in person, in addition to meeting other requirements.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

What are requirements for seniors to renew a driving license?
If you are 70 years of age or older, you are required to complete the renewal process in person. DC drivers license renewal requires proof of your identity, residency and Social Security Number along with your current license. In addition, you must submit a completed medical and vision form from a licensed physician.

For more information: Senior Drivers in Washington DC

Will I be required to take a vision test for a driver’s license renewal?
In general, you do not have to take a vision test to renew a driver’s license. You only have to take a vision test to apply for a new driver’s license or learner’s permit. However, if you are 70 years of age or older, you will have to provide additional medical certification. After 70 years of age, you must renew your driver’s license in person and provide a vision report form from your physician.

For more information: Senior Drivers in Washington DC

How soon can I renew my driver’s license?
While you must renew your drivers license every eight years, you may renew before the expiration date. The DMV will send you a renewal notice 60 days before your license expires. However, if you renew after the expiration date you may have to retake pass the knowledge test.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

When will I need to renew my license?
A REAL ID driver’s license is valid for eight years from the issue date. You should renew your driver’s license before it expires. You can renew your license as soon as six months before the expiration date printed on the license. You will receive a renewal notice in the mail when the expiration date approaches.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

What penalties will I face if I do not renew my expired driver’s license?
If you do not renew your driver’s license, you will not be able to drive until your license is renewed. If you are caught driving with an expired driver’s license, you may be subject to penalties and fines. If your license is expired for more than a year, you must retake the written driving test or take an online traffic school course. Additionally, if your license is expired for more than 545 days, or 1.5 years, you must retake the written driving test and road skills test.

For more information: How to Renew a Washington DC Driver’s License

How do I obtain a duplicate license?
You may obtain a duplicate drivers license by mail, in person at a DMV service center or online. However, online services are only available to drivers whose licenses are REAL ID compliant or are valid Limited Purpose licenses, full licenses with conditions or provisional licenses. Otherwise, you must request a new license in person and provide additional documentation to acquire a REAL ID compliant license.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

What documents will I need to present to replace my drivers license?
The DC drivers license replacement process requires many of the same documents needed for a new license. Overall, the documents required include:

  • The license number on your original document
  • Proof of age and identity
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Proof of residency
  • The $20 fee for replacement

Applications for replacement are accepted online, by mail and in person. However, if you are unable to provide your original license number, you must apply at your nearest DMV.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

How do I replace my license if I am a non-U.S. citizen?
To obtain a drivers license replacement if you are a non-U.S. citizen, you must follow the same process as a U.S citizen. These steps involve filling out a renewal application form online, by mail or in person and submitting payment for fees. As a non-citizen you may have to provide additional documentation such as proof of identity, your DC residency and Social Security Number.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

How do I replace my license if I lost it out of state?
You can replace a lost drivers license online, by mail or in person at a DC DMV center. If you plan to remain out of state for a while you may apply for a replacement online or by mail only if your current license is REAL ID compliant. Otherwise, you will have to apply in person.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

How do I get a replacement license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
Military personnel, who are located outside of the district, are able to replace a drivers license by mail or online. You may do this as long as your current ID is REAL ID compliant or is a valid Limited Purpose ID driver license. To obtain a replacement driving license by mail, military personnel can send in their application along with a check or money order to a DC DMV office.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

When will I receive a replacement license after applying?
How quickly you receive a driver’s license replacement depends on a number of factors, including how you applied. If you request a driver’s license replacement by mail, it will take longer to arrive than if you had requested it in person or online. You will be able to use a temporary license certificate for up to 45 days while you wait for your duplicate license to arrive.

For more information: Washington DC Driver’s License Replacement

Do I need to file a police report if my license was lost or stolen?
The DC DMV does not require motorists to report their stolen or lost drivers license. However, this leaves you at risk of identity theft. As such, it is highly suggested that you file a police report as soon as possible. This will help protect you and your identity in the future. To replace your lost drivers license, you can do so in person, online or via mail.

For more information: Washington DC Driver’s License Replacement

What are the fees for a duplicate drivers license?
If your license becomes lost, stolen or damaged, it is necessary to apply for a replacement as soon as possible. The cost of drivers license replacement in DC is $20, which you must submit with your application. When you are ready, you can complete this process easily by mail, online or in person at a DMV office. Keep in mind that debit and credit card transactions may involve an additional service or convenience fee.

For more information: Washington DC Drivers License Replacement

What address will my replacement license be mailed to?
When you complete the DC drivers license replacement process, your new document is mailed to the address that is currently listed on file at the DMV. If this address is outdated or incorrect, you must apply for an updated document instead. According to DMV policy, you are required to change the address on your drivers license within 60 days of moving. This service is completed online, by mail or in person and involves a $20 fee.

For more information: Drivers License Address Changes in Washington DC

How do I apply for a learner’s permit?
Applying for a driver’s permit in Washington, D.C. requires meeting eligibility requirements, notably being over 16 years of age, and passing a knowledge test. Applicants can only complete the process in person at the DMV and bring documentation including proof of DC residency and proof of identity. There are two types of permits: real ID permits and limited purpose permits. The type of DC driver’s permit you get will depend on whether you have a Social Security Number.

For more information: How to Apply For a Driver’s License in Washington, D.C.

What test do I need to take for my learners permit?
When you apply for a learners permit, you will need to take a vision screening test and a written driver’s test. The vision test determines whether you will require mandatory accommodations, such as glasses, to drive. The knowledge test will question you on principals in the driver’s handbook. You can prepare for the knowledge test by taking the DC DMV driver’s ed course first.

For more information: How to Apply for a Washington D.C. Learner Permit

What is the passing score for a written test?
The written driver’s test issued by the Washington DC DMV includes 25 questions. Applicants must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions to pass the driving test. There is a 60-minute time limit to complete the written test. If you fail the test, you must wait at least 72 hours to take it again.

For more information: Washington DC Practice Tests

What languages is the written test available in?
The DC written driver’s test is available in multiple languages to accommodate applicants who speak foreign languages. In addition to English, the test is available in Amharic, Arabic, Cantonese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese.

For more information: Washington DC Practice Tests

What documents do I need to get a learner’s permit?
In order to apply for a DC learners permit you must provide documentation to prove your eligibility. In addition to your Driver License or Identification Card Application, make sure to bring the following with you to the DMV:

  • Proof of your Social Security Number
  • Proof of your age and identity
  • Two documents with proof of your local residence
  • Proof of parental consent, if you are younger than 18

You must also prepare to pay $10 fee for the written driver test, as well as the $20 permit fee.

For more information: Applying for a Washington, D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

Who can sign for my permit or license if I am under 18?
Teens younger than 18 years of age interested in obtaining a learners permit or drivers license must provide proof of permission. Either a parent or legal guardian must sign the Parental Consent Form required for drivers younger than 18 years of age. Other adults who are not legal guardians may not sign the form.

For more information: Applying for a Washington D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

How long do I need my learners permit before I can get my drivers license?
Young drivers who obtained their drivers permits at age 16 may graduate to provisional licenses after six months. They also must have passed the road skills and knowledge tests. Then, they must accumulate at least 40 hours of driving experience in one year before they can apply for a full drivers license with conditions. In total, it takes at least 18 months to graduate from a learners permit to full license.

For more information: Applying for a Washington, D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

What are the learners permit restrictions during my first year?
In order to maintain driving privileges, underage drivers must abide by certain restrictions.According to DC learners permit rules, teen drivers are only permitted to drive between the hours of 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM. However, certain circumstances are considered exceptions to this rule, including:

  • When a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old is present in the vehicle.
  • For work, school, athletic or religious events.

For more information: Applying for a Washington, D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

How do I renew my driving permit?
Driving permits can be renewed online, by mail or in person at a local DMV center. If your provisional license is more than 365 days expired, but less than 545 days, and you have not received any traffic violations, you must pass the knowledge and road skills test and submit your 10-hour night driving certification form to receive a full license with conditions. If your permit is more than 545 days expired then you must submit your 10-hour night driving certification of eligibility form instead.

For more information: Applying for a Washington, D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket with a driver’s permit?
If you receive a violation that results in points on your permit, you may lose eligibility to move on to the provisional license.

Common reasons: driving during restricted hours without a licensed passenger who is at least 21 years old, or using a cellphone while driving.

If you have acquired any points on your permit within the last year, you are not eligible to apply for a provisional license.

For more information: Applying for a Washington, D.C. New Drivers License (Under 18)

What are some violations that may constitute a suspended license?
There are several types of violations that result in suspension of your driving privileges. The most common reasons for a suspended drivers license in Washington DC include failure to pay child support or traffic tickets, DUI/DWI charges and obtaining 10 or more points on your license. The length of the suspension depends on the nature of the incident, with more serious violations leading to drivers license revocation for a minimum of six months. In order to restore your driving privileges, you must complete the necessary steps for reinstatement.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

Where can I check to see if my license is suspended?
You can check the status of your driver’s license in a number of places. You can order a copy of your driving record to see the current status of your license. Additionally, you can verify the status of your driver’s license online on the DC DMV website.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Driver’s License

What are the reinstatement fees I will have to pay for a suspended license?
The fee to reinstate a suspended drivers license in DC is $98. However, before you can apply for reinstatement you must complete all other requirements outlined by the DMV and the court. This includes paying associated tickets, passing required traffic school courses and reaching the minimum period of suspension or revocation.

Then when you are ready to pay the drivers license reinstatement fee, you must provide a check, money order or credit card number to complete the transaction. Payments are accepted online, by mail and in person at the DMV.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

What are the consequences of driving with a suspended license?
Driving with a suspended drivers license in Washington DC has serious consequences. Drivers charged with violating this law will receive 12 points on their license, which causes automatic revocation of driving privileges. Additionally, those caught driving while under drivers license suspension or revocation face up to one year in jail, and are also subject to a fine of $5,000.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

What are the penalties of being convicted of driving under the influence?
In Washington DC, DUI and DWI charges are considered major moving violations. As a result, the penalties for convictions are severe, and vary based on the recorded blood alcohol level and number of previous offenses. First-time offenders can expect DUI consequences such as the following:

  • Accumulation of 12 license points
  • Automatic license revocation for six months
  • Jail time for a maximum of 180 days
  • A fine of up to $1,000

For more information: Washington DC DUIs and DWIs

How long will I have a suspended license for not taking a chemical test?
The length of your drivers license suspension depends on the severity of your violation and the amount of points assessed. Your license will be suspended at least until you pay your fine or 90 days if you have a mandatory suspension period. However, your license could be suspended for six months to one year.

For more information: Washington DC DUIs and DWIs

How do I reinstate my license if I refused to submit a breath/urine/blood test?
If you were arrested and charged with a DWI or DUI following your refusal to submit a breath/urine/blood test, then you must first complete the revocation period and pay all necessary fees. Then you can request a reinstatement hearing to reinstate your revoked drivers license where you must provide proof of participation in a substance abuse course. After being cleared to receive a license you must complete the entire process of acquiring a new license.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

What are the suspensions eligible for a hardship license?
Depending on the nature of your DC drivers license suspension, you may be eligible for a limited occupational license. This type of restricted license allows you to drive to and from work while your regular license is suspended. However, a limited occupational license is not provided for mandatory revocations or for CDL purposes.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

How do I get a hardship license?
Hardship, or limited occupational, licenses are offered in Washington D.C. for those who need to maintain a license for their livelihood. A certified letter with company stationary or letterhead must be provided by your employer to Adjudication Services. This can be completed online, in person or by mail. Within the application you must include your driver’s license number, day and hours of your employment, address of your employer and some additional information if requesting to operate a company vehicle.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

How do I reinstate my suspended license?
After paying your violation fees and completing your suspension period you can pay the reinstatement fee online or at any DC DMV center in person to reinstate your suspended drivers license. For less serious violations you may be able to have your license reinstated after paying the fees for the violation.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

If my driver’s license was confiscated at the time of my DUI/DWI arrest, how do I get it back?
If your license is confiscated due to a DUI/DWI infraction, you must complete the drivers license reinstatement process in order to restore your driving privileges. Depending on whether your license is revoked or suspended, this may involve different steps. For a suspended license in DC, you must pay a reinstatement fee. Revoked licenses require you to attend a reinstatement hearing, and then complete the application for a new license.

For more information: Washington DC DUIs and DWIs

What must I do to reinstate my driver’s license as a result of a DUI/DWI?
If your license was suspended as a result of a DUI, you must pay the appropriate reinstatement fee with the DMV. However, you cannot pay the reinstatement fee until a minimum amount of time set by the judge has passed. For example, if your driver’s license suspension was for three months, you cannot pay a reinstatement fee after one month and receive your license again. If your license is revoked as a result of a DUI, you must petition for a revoked driver’s license reinstatement hearing. You can do so through the DC DMV Adjudication Services office.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Driver’s License

Will I have to take an alcohol awareness class to reinstate my driver’s license?
To reinstate your suspended driver’s license after a DUI, you must provide proof that you completed a substance abuse course. The DC Department of Behavioral Health hosts substance abuse courses for drivers. You cannot reinstate your suspended driver’s license without completing the substance abuse course.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Driver’s License

When can I reinstate my license after it has been suspended?
When you can reinstate your licenses following a suspension period depends on the original court order. Some driver’s license suspensions come with a mandatory suspension period. If there is a mandatory suspension period on your driver’s license, you may not reinstate it until the end of that time frame. If there is no period of mandatory suspension, then you can reinstate your license by paying the necessary reinstatement fee. You can pay the fee online, by mail or in person at a DMV office.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Driver’s License

How do I reinstate after a revocation as a Habitual Traffic Offender?
To reinstate a revoked drivers license, you must first pay your fines and wait out your revocation period which is at least six months. Then, you must attend a reinstatement hearing. You can schedule a request by mail or in person at an adjudication office. Once you pass the hearing, you must undergo the process of acquiring a brand new license including passing the knowledge and driving tests.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

Will I have points against my driver’s license if I get a ticket?
You may receive points on your driver’s license if you are issued a traffic ticket. How many points you receive depends on the severity of the offense. For example, if you receive a ticket for tailgating a vehicle, you may incur two points on your license. If you are charged with reckless driving, you may receive six points on your license. Some offenses, such as aggravated reckless driving, result in a 12-point accrual and automatic revocation of your license.

For more information: Washington DC DMV Point System

How many points can I get on my driving record before my driver’s license is suspended?
The maximum number of points that DC drivers can accumulate on their records before they have a suspended drivers license is between 10 and 12. However, a suspension can also result from failing to pay violation fines regardless of the number of points accumulated.

For more information: Suspended Washington DC Drivers License

How do I remove points from my driver’s license?
Points can be removed from a driving record by completing an approved defensive driving course. However, you must first attend a hearing in which you will be approved or denied the ability to attend traffic school. You will have 30 days from the date of the hearing decision to complete the course and 15 days to pay your traffic violation ticket. Points can only be removed from a current traffic violation, not any previous violations.

For more information: Washington DC DMV Point System