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  • Drivers Permits in Ohio

    Getting Your Permit

    The road to receiving your first driver's permit should begin by obtaining a copy of the Digest of Ohio Motor Laws handbook online or at a Ohio BMV branch office. (A Spanish version is also available.)

    Keep in mind, though, that you'll have to be at least 15 years and 6 months old at the time you apply for your permit. But, there's no harm in beginning the learning process before that.

    Be sure to thoroughly study the manual, as to obtain your permit you'll need to pass a written test based on the manual. Luckily, DMV.org provides practice tests online.

    (Under certain circumstances, you may be able to get your permit at a younger age. But, you'll have to meet strict guidelines to qualify for a Hardship License. Check the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) FAQ page for details on this matter.)

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    Obtain the Temporary Permit Packet

    After you feel confident in your knowledge of the material, go to a State Highway Patrol exam station. You'll need to bring 2 forms of acceptable identification identification, and have your picture taken for testing purposes. No appointment is necessary, and the testing is free.

    You'll be asked some questions to determine if you have any physical or mental issues that might affect your ability to drive safely. If you do, you will be instructed as to what additional steps you'll have to take to obtain your permit. The BMV addresses these issues on a special page.

    Take the Knowledge Test

    While at the exam location, you'll need to pass both a vision and written knowledge test before you'll be granted your driver permit package.

    If you're successful, visit a deputy registrar's office, where you'll obtain your temporary permit packet for $22. Be sure to bring the same documentation you showed at the exam office.

    Also, if you're younger than 18 years old, you must have a parent, legal guardian, or someone with legal custody co-sign for the packet at the office. If you can't have a parent or legal guardian with you, then you'll need to have someone who meets the Ohio legal definition of a "responsible" person to co-sign for the packet. Anyone who co-signs for the packet must also have 2 forms of acceptable documentation with them.

    Once you have the packet, be careful with it. If you lose it or damage it anywhere along the way to getting a license, you'll have to start the application process over.

    You must keep the permit for 6 months before being allowed to take your road skills test and obtain your regular license.

    Lost Permits

    If you've lost your permit, you'll need to follow the same procedure and bring the same types of proof of identification that you used to apply for your permit packet. And, yes, this means bringing a parent or guardian with you to co-sign if you're under 18 years old. They'll also need to have proper identification, as we described in the previous section.

    You'll then be able to purchase a replacement packet for $22. If your test scores can be confirmed, your scores will be transferred. If they cannot, you'll need to take the tests over.

    Expired Permits

    You'll have 1 year from the time you purchase your permit packet to complete the licensing process. If you don't receive your license within this period, your permit will expire. You'll then need to apply for a new permit by following the procedures outlined in the first section.

    It'll cost $22 to replace your packet within 6 months of the expiration date. The cost rises to $25 if you need to replace your packet after your permit has been expired between 6 months to 2 years.

    Next of Kin Notification

    The Ohio 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.

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