Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Virginia
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Whether you’ve just moved to Virginia or you’re a teen ready to get behind the wheel, you’ll have to apply for a new license. The state offers:
- Regular driver’s license for passenger cars or pick-up trucks
- Commercial License (Class A,B,C)
- Motorcycle Licenses (Class M)
NOTE: If you’re under 18, you must complete a state-approved driver education program, and get the driver education certificate completion certificate, before you apply for a license. You must also hold a learner’s permit for nine months before taking the road test.
Younger than 19― You must hold a driver’s permit for at least nine months and show proof of completing the driver education program, before you take the road test.
19 or older― You must hold a learner's permit for a minimum of 60 days. However, the state will trim this 30-day requirement if you complete a state-approved driver training class while holding the permit.
The DMV doesn’t offer appointments, but try to go in during their off-hours. The busiest hours tend to be at lunch time or just after work hours.
Before you head to the DMV, be prepared to:
- Prove your identity (two forms of proof if you are 19 or older).
- Show legal presence in the United States.
- Show Virginia residency.
- Show your Social Security card.
- Pass a vision test.
- Complete an application (only available at the DMV).
- Pay a fee of $3 for a permit, plus the driver’s license fee of $4 per year (up to eight years).
While you’re at it, you can register to vote and become an organ donor at the same time.
You must get a Virginia driver's license within 60 days of moving here.
Those 19 and older who hold a valid license from another state can get a license with usually just a vision screening and the above documents.
If you’re like most people, once you have a license, you’ll want to get a car. It’s time to do some serious shopping. Think about whom you need to drive and how far you’ll be going regularly.
Used cars tend to be the most economical route. But before you decide, look up the car’s VIN on a Vehicle History Report first. For one fee, you can look up all the cars you want for a full month, which is plenty of time for most people to decide on a car.
A report tells you whether the car has a flood or salvaged title and whether it’s been in a major accident. This saves you time and money.
After you pick out your wheels, you’ll have to get adequate car insurance. Shop around. Some cars cost more to insure than others.
If you’re 19 or older, take your road test at any DMV customer service center except Fair Oaks Mall and Springfield Mall.
If you are under age 19, the skills test is given as part of the required driver education course, and you will receive your license later on through the mail.
Bring your own, safe (it will be inspected) vehicle with valid license plates and registration and a valid safety inspection sticker, and a driver in case you fail.
Once You Pass
Your driver's license will be issued through the mail. Driver's licenses expire on your birthday in the year that you turn an age divisible by eight (32, 40, and so forth).
If you are under 18, your license will expire on your 20th birthday.
If You Fail
You may only take the test once per business day and three times during three months.
The process for obtaining your Virginia license varies according to a number of factors, including your age, the length of time you've been in the state, and your driving experience.
If you’re from Canada, France, or Germany, you can exchange your driver’s license license for a Virginia driver's license. Usually you just need to pass the vision test. If you are 19 or older and have a valid license from a different country other than those listed, you must still pass the knowledge exam, road skills test, and vision screening. You might not have to show proof of driver education or hold a learner's permit for 30 days, however.
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