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  • Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in Virginia

    SUMMARY: How to Apply for a Virginia Driver's License

    Obtain a VA driver’s license by applying in person at a DMV office. In addition to showing various documents—including proof of your identity, SSN, and VA residency—you must pass a vision screening, knowledge exam, and driving test. A driver’s license will cost $4 per year. 

    Continue reading this page to learn how to obtain a driver’s license from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

    NOTE: If you are younger than 19 years old, please follow the application instructions on our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) page.

    New to Virginia?

    If you’re new to Virginia and have an out-of-state driver’s license, you must have it transferred within 60 days of becoming a resident of the state.

    To obtain a Virginia driver’s license, you will need to visit your local VA DMV office and:

    • Pass the vision exam.
    • Show proof you’ve held your out-of-state driver’s license for 60 days or longer.
    • Submit a completed Driver’s License and Identification Card Application (Form DL 1P).
    • Submit proof of your:
      • Identity (e.g. U.S. passport, out-of-state driver’s license, birth certificate).
      • Legal U.S. presence (e.g. foreign passport with visa and I-94 print out, permanent resident card, U.S. citizenship certificate).
      • Virginia residency (e.g. mortgage statement, recent utility bill, pay check stub).
      • Social Security number (SSN) (e.g. Social Security card, pay check stub, Social Security statement), if you have one.
      NOTE: A complete list of accepted documents can be found on the VA DMV website.
    • Surrender your out-of-state driver’s license.
    • Pay the $32 fee ($4 per year for 8 years).
      • Depending on your circumstance, you may be issued a driver’s license for 5 years at $4 per year.

    NOTE: While your written knowledge and driving tests are usually waived, there may be special circumstances where the VA DMV requires you to pass these. 

    Types of VA Driver’s Licenses

    Depending on your age and the type of vehicle you want to drive, there are different types of licenses you can apply for in Virginia.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Before you can apply for a driver’s license in Virginia, you must have either:

    • Successfully completed a DMV-approved driver’s education course.
      OR
    • Held a VA learner’s permit for 60 days or longer.

    You can find instructions for obtaining a learner’s permit on our Driver’s Permits in Virginia page.

    Apply for a Driver’s License in Virginia

    To obtain a VA driver’s license, you will need to apply in person at your local DMV office (except for the Fair Oaks Mall office). You will need to:

    • Provide documents to prove your:
      • Identity (e.g. birth certificate, passport, government-issued ID card).
      • Legal presence in the U.S. (e.g. U.S. passport, permanent resident card, foreign passport and I-94 print out).
      • VA residency (e.g. rental agreement, recent bank statement, recent paycheck stub).
      • SSN, if you have one (e.g. Social Security card, paycheck stub, Social Security statement).
      • Name change, if applicable (e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order).
      NOTE: See the VA DMV’s list of required and accepted documents.
    • Show you’ve completed an approved Driver’s Ed course, if you haven’t held a learner’s permit for at least 60 days.
    • Pass the VA DMV tests:
      • Vision.
      • Knowledge.
      • Driving.
    • Pay the $32 fee.
      • Based on $4 per year for 8 years. In certain circumstances your driver’s license may only be valid for 5 years and you’ll pay the same yearly fee.

    The VA DMV will send you your driver’s license by mail.

    Knowledge and Driving Tests

    Before you will be issued a driver’s license, you must pass both the written knowledge exam and driving test.

    Knowledge Exam

    Before taking the knowledge test, you should study the Virginia DMV’s Driver’s Manual. The questions will be based on information found within this manual. It’s also wise to try a few practice tests before you take the actual exam.

    The test is split into the following parts; traffics signs and general knowledge. You must correctly answer all 10 questions in about traffic signs before you will be allowed to take the general knowledge quiz.

    You need to correctly answer at least 80% of the general knowledge questions to pass the knowledge test.

    If you fail, you can try again, but will need to pay a $2 if you want to re-take it within 15 days. If you fail the exam 3 times, you will need to complete the classroom component of a Driver’s Ed course before you will be allowed to attempt the test again.

    Road Skills Test

    You will need to provide your own vehicle to take your road test in. It must have a valid safety inspection sticker, license plates, and be in good working condition. You will also need to provide:

    • Your current registration card.
    • Proof you have completed a Driver’s Ed course.

    If you fail your driving exam, you must wait 2 days before re-taking it. If you fail 3 times, you will need to complete the driving component of a Driver’s Ed course before you can attempt it again.

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