How to Apply for a Drivers License in Virginia
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 Class D Virginia drivers license allows residents to operate passenger vehicles on public roads in the state. As a general rule, applicants must be at least 16 years and three months of age to apply for a DMV license. However, young motorists must obtain a learner’s permit before they are issued a driving credential with full privileges. Typically, VA licenses are valid for eight years and expire on the birthday of their holders.
Residents must apply for a new drivers license in person at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Depending on your age, the steps required to acquire a driving credential will differ. As such, age and residency restrictions may result in higher license fees and longer application periods. In any case, the Virginia DMV mandates for all motorists to carry a valid DMV license at all times when operating a vehicle on public highways. To learn more about how to get a drivers license in VA, read the sections below.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in Virginia as an Adult (18 or Older)
If you are 18 years of age or older and a first-time motorist, you must have held a learner’s permit or completed the state’s required driver’s education program in order to request a new VA license. As such, new drivers who are 18 years of age or older have the option of either holding a permit for 60 days or completing a state-approved driver’s ed course. In any case, additional testing requirements may apply to motorists under certain circumstances.
Virginia Drivers License Requirements for Adults
General drivers license requirements in Virginia state that all new motorists must present valid proof of identification when visiting a DMV office to apply for a driving credential.
If you do not submit an appropriate form of ID, you will not be eligible for a license. Therefore, any DMV license applicant who is older than 19 years of age must provide:
- Proof of identity, such as a passport or a certified birth certificate
- Proof of legal status in the U.S., such as a passport or permanent residency card
- Proof of residency presented in two forms, such as a utility bill and postmarked mail
- Proof of a Social Security Number (SSN), if applicable
All forms of identification required for a DMV driver’s license application must be submitted as their original versions. However, Virginia DMV proof of residency documents may be submitted as photocopies. Furthermore, you cannot hold a Class D license to drive if you already hold a commercial driver’s license or an ID card. In addition, be mindful that you will need to prove your VA residency and age in order to apply for a driving credential.
Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Virginia as an Adult
If you are 18 years of age or older and applying for a new drivers license for the first time, you must either purchase a learner’s permit or complete a driver’s education course. Below are the two options available to first-time motorists.
- Hold a Virginia learner’s permit for 60 days. After which, drivers must pass a road skills test. Generally, the cost of a permit application will cover both the permit fee and the licensing fee. First-time motorists must submit the proper identification and residency paperwork to the DMV office upon when they apply for a driver’s license.
- Provide proof of a completed driver’s ed course, thus avoiding the need to hold a permit. In this case, you must submit a completed driver’s license application form, proof that you have gone through the driver training course, all applicable identification documents and a payment method for the licensing fee. In certain instances, further testing may be required.
Moving to Virginia: Drivers License Transfers for New Residents
New residents must apply for a driver’s license in Virginia within 60 days of establishing residency in the state. If you hold a valid out-of-state license, you may simply transfer your license to VA for a state credential. To do so, applicants will be required to surrender their out-of-state licenses and submit documents verifying their Social Security Numbers (SSNs), identity, legal status in the U.S. and state residency. Minimum driver’s license education requirements must also be met. On the other hand, motorists may not be required to complete knowledge exams, road skills tests or driver’s education courses if they already held a valid DMV license from another U.S. state, Canada, France, Germany or South Korea. Nonetheless, all applicants transferring from out of state must complete a vision screening at a DMV office.
Note: The Virginia DMV may not issue you with a new driver’s license if your out-of-state driving credential has been revoked or suspended.
How to Apply for a Driver’s License in Virginia as a Teen (Younger Than 18)
As a general rule, the application form provided by the Virginia DMV covers both learner’s permits and the full driver’s licenses. Moreover, fees for both credentials must be paid for upfront when applying for a permit. Regardless of the situation, applicants who are younger than 18 years of age must complete all applicable tests, educational courses and knowledge exams before receiving a license. Furthermore, driving restrictions are placed on new drivers who are younger than 18 years of age even if they hold a full DMV license. Failure to comply may result in suspensions.
Virginia Drivers License Eligibility Requirements for Teens
As a general rule, you must be at least 15-and-a-half years of age in order to apply for a DMV license such as a learner’s permit. In addition, you will be required to submit written consent from a parent or legal guardian along with your application form. If you are younger than 18 years of age, you must complete a Virginia-approved driver education program and hold a permit for nine months prior to applying for a full driver’s license. Moreover, parents or legal guardians are required to sign the education certificate and confirm that you have completed 45 hours of driving in the presence of a licensed adult. Fifteen of the 45 hours must be completed after sunset.
FAQ: How old do you have to be to get your license in Virginia? While you must be at least 15 to get a learners permit in VA, drivers must be a minimum of 16 years and 3 months of age in order to get a license.
For answers to other common questions, check out our FAQs page on Virginia DMV topics.
Drivers Ed Requirements to Get a Drivers License in Virginia
Driver education courses are part of the process for obtaining a VA driver’s license, and are available to students of all ages. Overall, these programs are run through public and private schools, as well as through the DMV and third-party testing centers. State-recognized driver’s ed programs must consist of 36 classroom periods that cover the following topics:
- Alcohol safety
- Drug abuse awareness
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Pedestrian and bicycle safety
- Handicapped parking
- Fuel efficiency
- Motorcycle awareness
- Organ and tissue donation
Aside from the abovementioned driver training requirements for the purposes of applying for a DMV license in Virginia, these programs must include 14 practical classes comprising of in-car experience and observational tasks. A final road exam must also be completed. While applicants cannot purchase a driver’s license online, the state does offer certain components of educational courses over the internet. Once completed, a certificate of completion is sent to the DMV and becomes part of your license application.
Steps to Obtain a New Drivers License in Virginia as a Teen
First-time motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must apply for a permit in person at a DMV office, which is the first step for obtaining a new driver’s license with full privileges. To do so, be mindful of the following steps:
- Complete the DMV application form and have it signed by your parent or legal guardian.
- Undergo a vision screening at the DMV office.
- Complete the two-part driver’s license knowledge exam.
- Pay for any applicable fees.
Note: To save time, you can set up a DMV appointment with VA’s office ahead of time.
Your DMV license will be mailed to your address on file with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Once received, you must complete the driver’s education course, along with 45 hours of behind-the-wheel practice driving. Once a certificate of completion has been issued, a parent or legal guardian must sign it. In any case, permit holders are only allowed to carry one passenger who is younger than 21 years of age at a time. However, be mindful that these restrictions do not apply to family members. After you have held a DMV permit for at least nine months, have submitted your driver’s ed certificate of completion and have reached 16 years and three months of age, you may be issued a full license.
Additional restrictions apply to new drivers license holders who are younger than 18 years of age. For instance, these motorists are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., unless the journey is related to work, supervised by a licensed driver who is 18 years of age or older, or is the result of an emergency. In addition, young motorists are not allowed to use hand-held or hands-free cellphones, unless in an emergency.
Virginia Drivers License Costs
The driver’s license cost in Virginia varies according to the length of each driving credential. See below the breakdown of all licensing fees in the state.
- Driver’s license and permit combination – $3, plus $4 per year for the driver’s license
- Driver’s license only – $4
- Eight-year DMV license – $32
- Real ID license – a one-time payment of $10
- 90-Day temporary driver’s license – $10