Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Ohio
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If you've recently moved to the state, or you just getting ready to take the wheel for the first time ever, you must obtain a driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle on Ohio roads. The state provides the following types of licenses:
- Class D (regular driver's license)
Younger than 18―You'll need to provide proof that you've completed a suitable driver's education class before applying for a license.
18 and older―Despite the fact that taking a driver's education class isn't required for those in this category, doing so can make you a better driver. These courses teach safe driving techniques and inform you about all the driving laws.
Visit your nearest driver examination station to take your written and driving tests.
Although appointments aren't taken for written tests, you'll need to make an appointment for your driving tests. You may do make an appointment through the driver exam station or by going online to the appointment site.
On the day of the test be ready to:
- Show two acceptable proof of identification documents, one of which contains your Social Security number.
- Complete an application.
- Take a vision test.
- Have either your parent or guardian with you to sign the paperwork (if you're younger than 18).
- Pay any applicable fees.
NOTE: The written test is available in seven languages. Interpreters are available, too. Contact your nearest driver exam station for more information.
You must furnish a car that's safe to operate in order to take the road exams. Otherwise, the examiner will refuse to administer the tests. If you need to find a suitable car and are considering buying a used vehicle, it's smart to obtain a vehicle history report prior to purchasing the vehicle. That report could show you if a car has a clear title, if it has been flood-damaged, or if it has been used as a taxi or shuttle.
You can't drive without having proof of financial responsibility. The easiest way to accomplish this is by having a car insurance policy. See what the best rates are for you.
In most cases, if you currently hold a valid driver's license from another state, the BMV will waive the driving test requirement. However, if you have any driving restrictions place on your current license, you may have to take the tests.
Everyone who needs to take the driving tests must make an appointment beforehand.
Once You Pass
If you pass the test, you'll be given a completion certificate from your examiner. Within 60 days take that to a license agency, where you'll be issued your license on the spot. (You should do this as soon as possible.) Your license fee will vary depending on your situation.
If You Fail
If you don't pass both the maneuverability and road tests, you'll have to wait seven days before trying again. You'll only have to take the test you failed. If you fail a test four times, you'll have to wait six months and then begin the application process over by getting your driver's permit.
The BMV now allows drivers to register their emergency contact information with the agency. By doing so, you enable law enforcement officials to more quickly notify a family member, guardian, or friend if you're seriously injured in an accident, or are unable to communicate. Register for this service online or at any license agency location.
If you're visiting Ohio and hold a valid driver's license from another country, you may drive in the state for up to one year. Be sure to have your license with you whenever you're driving.
It might be a good idea to get an International Driver's Permit issued by your home country. The permit translates your license to make it easily readable to U.S. officials, and it should be carried with you at all times.
To apply for an Ohio license, you need to provide proper evidence of your legal presence to be in the country. These licenses expire whenever your legal presence document expires, or in four years, whichever period is shortest. These licenses cannot be renewed, or transferred to another state.
If you become a resident of the state, you may apply for a standard Ohio license. These licenses expire either on the fourth birthday after license issuance, or when your green card expires, whichever period is shortest.
No matter your situation, you'll need to pass the standard driver's license written, vision, and road tests to obtain your Buckeye license.
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We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.