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How to Apply for a New Driver's License in Virginia

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By law, a Virginia drivers license must be obtained by any driver who wants to operate a motor vehicle in the state. A VA DMV drivers license gives you permission to drive on public roadways, and also serves as an official identification document, recognized and accepted by all government agencies. Driving applicants must pass a drivers ed course, and fulfill the requirements devised by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before receiving a new drivers license.

Did you know? More than half of all driving applicants fail the written driving test on the first try. Feel confident and fully prepared on test day by studying with our DMV practice exam.

How to Apply for a Virginia Driver's License:

  • Visit an VA DMV location.
  • Provide proof of completing a driver education course (if younger than 18).
  • Present the required documentation.
  • Pass the two-part written DMV exam.
  • Take and pass the driving test.
  • Pass the vision exam.
  • Pay Virginia driver's license fees.

The topics below cover what you need to know about getting drivers licenses in Virginia.

Types of Drivers Licenses in Virginia

The first step in obtaining a Virginia drivers license is filling out a drivers license application. Qualified candidates can apply for either a standard VA drivers licenses or a CDL drivers licenses.

  • Learners permit - Issued to teen drivers or new drivers who may operate a vehicle, under certain restrictions.
  • Drivers license - Issued to drivers who operate a non-commercial vehicle that weighs less than 26,001 pounds.
  • Motorcycle learner's permit- Issued to drivers who are learning how to operate a motorcycle under certain restrictions.
  • Motorcycle license - Issued to drivers who operate a motorcycle.
  • Commercial Drivers License (CDL) - Class A, B or C driving license - Issued to drivers who operate commercial vehicles.

First-Time Driver (Under 18) in Virginia

Drivers licenses are required of all Virginia residents who wish to operate a motor vehicle in the state. A new drivers license is issued only when a driver fulfills all of the requirements set by the VA Department Motor Vehicles. Getting drivers license privileges in Virginia depends upon the successful completion of a series of exams, as well as the driving applicant's ability to provide proof of identity and residential address.

For more information, visit our Learner's Permit page.

Virginia New Drivers (Over 18)

The VA DMV requires residents who want a non-restricted, adult Virginia drivers license to hold a learners permit for at least 60 days or show proof of completion of a state-approved driver's education program before you apply for a drivers license.

VA Driver's Study Guide and Driver's Practice Test

New drivers who are 18 or older who have not taken the written driver's test can benefit from reviewing a study guide and taking a practice permit test. Our Virginia DMV practice test covers a wide range of road-related topics in order to prepare you for your official exam day.

How to Apply for Drivers Licenses in VA

When applying for a drivers license in VA, driving applicants must visit a local DMV to present the necessary documentation. New drivers license applicants are required to show the following documents:

  • Proof of identity.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Proof of legal presence in the United States.
  • Proof of Virginia residency.

VA Drivers License Eligibility Requirements

Virginia DMV drivers license candidates must be at least 16 years and three months old. Additional eligibility requirements include providing the proper documentation and passing a written driver's exam, a driving skills exam and a vision exam. Males younger than 26 years of age must be registered for Selective Service, or authorize the VA DMV to send your information to the Selective Service.

VA Written/Driving Test

A VA drivers license will only be issued to driving applicants who receive a passing score on their written driver's test. To receive a full Virginia drivers license, new drivers will also need to pass a driving skills test. Taking a practice permit test is one of the best ways to prepare for your DMV exam, since a DMV practice test contains similar questions to the ones you'll encounter on the actual exam.

VA Driving Test

The purpose of the Virginia driver's test is to assess a driving applicant's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and follow road rules. Drivers who attend a state-certified driver's education course will have the road skills test administered by a driver's ed instructor. Drivers over 18 who opt to hold a learners permit for at least 60 days will take the road skills test at the VA DMV. The VA road skills test will examine:

  • Your ability to park the car.
  • Your ability to effectively stop and yield to other vehicles.
  • Your ability to turn and change lanes.
  • Your ability to maneuver curves and intersections.

Driving applicants must provide a vehicle that has a valid safety inspection sticker, license plate and registration. The car's breaks, seat belts, horn, lights, turn signals, mirrors and speedometer must be in safe working order. Once receiving a passing grade and paying any necessary fees, you will receive your new driver's license.

Drivers have the option of completing a behind-the-wheel course for additional practice.

New Virginia Resident

If you are a new Virginia resident, you must transfer your out-of-state driver's license by visiting a local DMV branch within 60 days of establishing residency. You will be required to show proof of identity, residency, Social Security Number and legal presence in the U.S. Your vehicle will also need be examined in order to receive a mandatory vehicle safety inspection sticker (to be renewed annually), and to ensure your car meets Virginia's emissions standards.

Furthermore, drivers will need to provide proof of transferred car insurance, car title and vehicle registration. Before your car can be registered in Virginia, it may have to pass an emissions inspection. The following cities and counties require that vehicles (excluding motorcycles) undergo an emissions inspection every two years: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William and Stafford. Emissions inspection can be done at:

  • A certified emissions inspections station.
  • A RAPIDPASS on-road emissions test site.

Your VA DMV vehicle record will be automatically updated with the results of the emissions inspection within 24 hours.

Replace Driver's License in Virginia

If you need a VA replacement drivers license, you can submit a request for a duplicate drivers license online or at a nearby DMV customer service center. For information about duplicate driver's license fees and application process, click here.

Locate a DMV in Virginia

To find the VA DMV location nearest you, visit our VA DMV locations page to review a selection of different branches in your area and obtain office contact information.

Submitted by Tduck on 14th Apr 2016

What do I need to do to

What do I need to do to exchange my WV license for a Va license? I am 59 years old.

Submitted by IBR on 5th Aug 2015

I need some info about

I need some info about exchanging my valid french license for an american one. Is it possible to do that in VA?

Thank you

Submitted by Bonfardiner on 18th Jun 2015

My son completed the driver

My son completed the driver education program at Culpeper High this past school year. He did not receive a certificate of completion or any type of certificate to prove he completed the course. Do we need to prove he completed a class in school? What do we need to get his permit and when does he actually go to the driver's training course. New to this...terrified. Do you recommend a driver's training company in the Culpeper area?

Submitted by tghlidag on 8th May 2015

I am Asylum Seekers, I

I am Asylum Seekers, I applied the driving license on 05/06/2015, the customer service staff start the process and assigned customer number A64286000. She scanned my Original Passport, Bank statement and Asylum Form I-797c. After this process she sent my data for the concerned department to check my Asylum Status. Finally she said with in 48 hours somebody contact you by phone. But still now no body contact me, How can I start the process. Please give me the feed back and process my driving license.

Submitted by nashmanjm22 on 9th Apr 2015

hi i just moved here and my

hi i just moved here and my old license from new york has expired but they said all i need was my driving records to prove i had one will i be able to bring in my abstract and get a virginia drivers license after i take road test or will i have to get permit ?

Submitted by yulichka7 on 20th Mar 2015

Hi, I am 18 going to be 19 in

Hi, I am 18 going to be 19 in June of 2015. I had waited to get my learners until Feb 2015. Mainly because of a lot of personal issues going on and just not wanting to drive. I have been driving with parents ever since I got my permit. I have taken the drivers education course back in high school so I have my green card that they give you, I have not taken behind the wheel, and was told I don't have too, since I am 18, so could I just go to dmv and take the test and get my license?

Submitted by MadMasterSkittles on 25th Feb 2015

Hi um im 22 soon to be 23 and

Hi um im 22 soon to be 23 and i want to get my drivers licenses in Virginia and then go for my CDL. what steps can i take to get my license and my CDL quickly? Ihave tried to call my local DMV but keep being sent to this website.

Submitted by Anth109 on 23rd Feb 2015

So... I am currently 21. When

So... I am currently 21. When I was 16 I failed my VA learners test 3 times so I couldn't get my license. (I'm not dumb, just rushed because I hate taking tests) Now that I am 21 I am curious as to how I obtain my Drivers permit? I call my local DMV and they give me the runaround to the website and I never find what I'm looking for. Any ideas?

Submitted by Zillion on 21st Oct 2014

Hello I just got a written

Hello

I just got a written permit from New York. But I got a job in Virginia, So i had to move.Can i be able to convert my Newyork Learners permit to Virginia's Permit?

Submitted by TheAnswerIsYes on 19th Feb 2015

yes

yes

Submitted by bratany101 on 8th Sep 2014

Hi, I will be 19 in october

Hi, I will be 19 in october of 2014. I heard that some states allow you, after you've turned 19 of course, to go in if you have never had a license and take the written test. Then they have you hold it for a day and you can go in the next day and take the drivers test then receive your license. Is this the case for VA? I have been looking on the website and have not found it stated clearly.

Submitted by TheAnswerIsYes on 19th Feb 2015

yes

yes

Submitted by waylons on 22nd Feb 2014

hello , i am 16 almost 17 and

hello , i am 16 almost 17 and i have held my blue paper for almost 4 months and still have not received a court date to get my hard copy license is this due to the weather or have i just been lost within a stack of papers?

Submitted by Duyen (not verified) on 17th Jul 2013

I have learner's permit in

I have learner's permit in Maryland . Now I'm going to moving to Virginia . So I have to get learner's permit in Virginia or I can use mine now for driving test. Or what should I do?

Submitted by Shiva Prasad acharya on 12th Sep 2014

I have learner's permit in

I have learner's permit in Maryland . Now I'm going to moving to Virginia . So I have to get learner's permit in Virginia or I can use mine now for driving test. Or what should I do?

Submitted by LITTLEFISH on 16th Jun 2014

change from maryland learners

change from maryland learners permit to virginia lincense

Submitted by _tiffany_renea_ (not verified) on 17th May 2013

if i was born on November 20

if i was born on November 20 1997 when can i get my learners permit?

Submitted by PorshaBenford (not verified) on 8th Sep 2013

When you turn 15 and 3 Months

When you turn 15 and 3 Months so any time after February 20th 2012

Submitted by ryan5241 on 10th Dec 2012

i have a chinese driver's

i have a chinese driver's license which is translated and notarized.

i live in my cousin's house and i have bank account bill can proove it.

i have my passport and visa witch is can make me stay here for 6 months.

but i don't have ssn. can i apply a driver's license if i dont have SSN?

thx a lot.

Submitted by Carlos Cuevas on 11th Apr 2014

I have the same condition

I have the same condition more or less

Submitted by aprilgayle (not verified) on 2nd Oct 2012

i am turning 18 on the 15th

i am turning 18 on the 15th of this month, i will have had my learners for 90days on the 6th of this month, i have did the classroom part of drivers education, can i do the driving part at the dmv when my 90 days are up or i turn 18?

Submitted by Susan Dixon (not verified) on 9th Sep 2012

I live in Nevada and have a

I live in Nevada and have a license here now, if I move back to Virgina, do I have to take the test over again or tranfer it to Virginia?

Submitted by addieaddie123 (not verified) on 15th Jun 2012

im 16 and 3 months but i

im 16 and 3 months but i havent gotten my permit can i just get my license now or do i need to get my permit first?

Submitted by TheAnswerIsYes on 19th Feb 2015

yes ofcourse

yes ofcourse

Submitted by elijah2010 (not verified) on 15th Aug 2012

you will have to get your

you will have to get your permit first sweety!

Submitted by Chamorro8 (not verified) on 6th Jun 2012

What do i need to do to

What do i need to do to transfer my Texas licence to a Virginia licence?

Submitted by johanne (not verified) on 4th Dec 2012

bring that licence to a dmv

bring that licence to a dmv in virginia along with proof of virginia residency and you can change it. Also you will need to bring a secondary proof of identity and legal us residency and your social. There will be a fee

Submitted by jwall (not verified) on 11th May 2012

In wa state if ur 15 and a

In wa state if ur 15 and a half u don't have to take the course and u only need the permit for 4 months. I am moving to va when I turn 16 and you are telling me I have to go through all this???? That is crazy!!!! If I had known I wouldn't have waited.

Submitted by Andrewd458 (not verified) on 12th Apr 2012

Inthought you can be 15 and 3

Inthought you can be 15 and 3 months is this true

Submitted by NIJE (not verified) on 16th Mar 2012

My mom has recently come over

My mom has recently come over from Scandinavia. She's 68 and has been driving since she was 18. She’s a Resident Alien/Green Card holder, but is retired. What are the steps that she needs to take to get a VA drivers license. Does she have to pass the vision, written, and driving tests as well? The non-US citizen section was somewhat unclear....thanks

Submitted by armystrong (not verified) on 16th Feb 2012

i have a VA license but i

i have a VA license but i moved...how do i change the address on my license? and how much will it cost?

Submitted by Cynthia Huff (not verified) on 12th Jun 2012

I have a Virginia License but

I have a Virginia License but have moved. How do I change my address?

Submitted by grannydinga@yah... on 23rd Apr 2014

need to change my dmv address

need to change my dmv address for car and voters reg

Submitted by garretts20 (not verified) on 14th Feb 2012

im 18, and completed behind

im 18, and completed behind the wheel, my mother doesnt want to sign the dmv driver training certificate, but since im 18 i didnt think that i needed her signature in order to get my license, do i need her signature or dont i?

Submitted by elijah2010 (not verified) on 15th Aug 2012

no u dont your grown

no u dont your grown

Submitted by mjmkng1 (not verified) on 13th Feb 2012

We are moving to Virginia, my

We are moving to Virginia, my husband is 68, he has been driving since he was 16. What are his requirements to obtain a Virginia lience. He has one for New Hampshire.

Submitted by antonettejane (not verified) on 6th Feb 2012

I'm 18 and I'm planning on

I'm 18 and I'm planning on getting my license. What is the deal with behind the wheel? Do I have to take it or not?

Submitted by Dan114 (not verified) on 25th Jan 2012

Help I am not sure as to how

Help I am not sure as to how to get to take the test. I have my Learners permit. Do i need to make an appointment to get to take the behind the wheel test?

Submitted by Ha NEUL (not verified) on 17th Jan 2012

This is HA NEUL( First name

This is HA NEUL( First name :NEUL , Last name :HA)

DOB :11/19/1986

I have been to dmv 3 times to apply for exhanging driver's licence from korean driver's licence.In addition , I called DMV costmer sevice center to check how It was progressing. They were supposed to give me a call back. but They didn't do .

I don't understand why i have not recived a letter from DMV. I even presented korean drver's licence notarized from the embassy of korea.

I need virgina licence as soon as possible. Because I should let an insurace company my driver's licence number. please make it work.!!

Submitted by aveek84 (not verified) on 4th Jan 2012

Where can I get the manual to

Where can I get the manual to study for the LEARNERS LICENSE ??? I got one link from this page which gave me a manual for the Escort Drivers. Do I need to study that or something else? Please let me know. I want to take the exam this Saturday.

Submitted by zorro99 (not verified) on 16th Dec 2011

I failed the written test 3

I failed the written test 3 times. ( I didn't study !) There is a new law that requires me to take about 30 hours of classroom instruction just TO BE ELIGIBLE to test again. I have now studied, and almost 2 years ago I took drivers ed in school. Is there any way to get around this classroom requirement?

Submitted by Tater9311 (not verified) on 14th Dec 2011

iam 25 years old and i had a

iam 25 years old and i had a virginia drivers license and i move to north carolina and got a northcarolina license and now iam back and i need to get my virginia licenses back will i have to take the test over or can i just get them.

Submitted by AStone (not verified) on 5th Dec 2011

Can anyone tell me HOW to get

Can anyone tell me HOW to get a PIN number to change my address online?! I'm going crazy!

Submitted by allartiscollaboration (not verified) on 21st Nov 2011

Okay so i failed my permit

Okay so i failed my permit test 3 times already, i went to take it in sept/august. I'm not sure when i actually went but it was between those months. I was 16 at the time and i just turned 17 last month, would i be able to take my test over again without taking a class? i took a drivers ed class last year. Help!?! Please.

Submitted by Rosasayywhaa (not verified) on 30th Nov 2011

Yes you can. You are able to

Yes you can. You are able to retake the permit test 15 days after you fail it. If you need help studying go to the DMV website and do the pretest. Since you don't have your certificate you'll probably need to take the class over. DMV has a list of schools that are approved in which you can obtain a new certificate from. The class is no more than $60. You will still need to hold your permit for 9 months or until you turn 18 which ever comes first.

Submitted by srowe06hd (not verified) on 20th Oct 2011

I have a Virginia drivers

I have a Virginia drivers license do i have to a more than that to drive a roll back tow truck or regular tow truck?

Submitted by nico12345 (not verified) on 18th Oct 2011

im 18 and i have a drivers

im 18 and i have a drivers license from the philippines, and i am residing now in virginia, what test will i have to take, thanks

Submitted by Rosasayywhaa (not verified) on 30th Nov 2011

You will have to take a

You will have to take a vision test and also a written and signs test plus the behind the wheel test.

Submitted by Rosasayywhaa (not verified) on 30th Nov 2011

You will have to take a

You will have to take a vision test and also a written and signs test plus the behind the wheel test.

Submitted by wilgocrazy (not verified) on 20th Sep 2011

I'm currently 17, i got my

I'm currently 17, i got my drivers permit when i was 16 instead of the 15 years and 6 months. I've had my permit for well over a year and want to know if i still need the completed drivers ed requirement because i completed it 2 years ago but i have no way of getting my certificate of completion. What i am asking is if i can just go to the DMV and take the tests to get my drivers license at age 17 without the drivers ed requirement (even though i have completed it 2 years ago). Help?