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  • Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Washington DC

    Teen Drivers in Washington, D.C.

    Teenagers and young adults must complete the requirements of the Washington, D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) gradual rearing of adult drivers (GRAD) program to get their unrestricted driver's license.

    The GRAD program can help new drivers practice and develop valuable defensive driving skills and safe driving habits.

    On this page you'll find information about the WA, D.C. GRAD program requirements and your next steps towards your first driver's license.

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    New to Washington, D.C.?

    If you've recently moved to Washington, D.C. from another U.S. state, you must transfer your out-of-state driver's license within 30 days of moving.

    You will need to visit your local D.C. DMV office and:

    If your out-of-state driver's license has been expired for more than 90 days, you must also pass both written and driving tests in Washington, D.C.

    If you're under 21 years old, you will need to satisfy the requirements of the GRAD program. Read below for more information.

    GRAD Program Requirements & Restrictions

    The purpose of the graduated licensing program, or Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD), is to make sure drivers under 21 years old are properly educated and trained, and that they take on additional responsibilities only as they become able to handle them.

    The program consists of the following stages:

    • Learner's permit.
    • Provisional license.
    • Full driver's license.

    Age Requirements

    The minimum age requirements to begin each phase of the Washington, D.C. GRAD program are as follows:

    • Learner's permit: 16 years old.
    • Provisional license: 16 1/2 years old.
    • Full driver's license: 17 years old.

    Washington, D.C. Learner's Permit

    To receive your learner's permit, you must visit your local WA, D.C. DMV office and:

    Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions and Behind-the-Wheel Practice

    With your learner's permit, you can only drive when supervised by a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old and only between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

    You'll need to complete at least 40 hours of supervised driving before moving on to the next steps of the Washington, D.C. GRAD program.

    Provisional License

    Before moving on to your provisional driver's license, you must:

    • Be at least 16 1/2 years old.
    • Have had your learner's permit for 6 months with no traffic violations.
    • Have completed at least 40 hours of driving practice.

    To obtain your provisional license, you must visit your local Washington, D.C. DMV office and:

    Provisional License Driving Restrictions and Behind-the-Wheel Practice

    With your provisional driver's license, you can:

    • Drive unsupervised:
      • From 6:01 a.m. to 10:59 p.m., Monday to Thursday.
      • From 6:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., Friday to Sunday in September through June.
    • Drive unsupervised:
      • From 6:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. every day in July and August.
    • Only drive with 1 passenger who is 21 years old or older and has a valid driver's license, unless the passenger is an immediate family member.

    Before moving on to your full driver's license, you'll need to complete at least 10 hours of supervised driving at night.

    Full Washington, D.C. Driver License

    Before you can apply for your Washington, D.C. driver's license, you must:

    • Be at least 17 years old.
    • Have had your provisional license for 6 months.
    • Have had no traffic violations for the past 12 months.

    To obtain your full D.C. driver's license, you must visit your local WA, D.C. DMV office and:

    Until you are at least 18 years old, your full driver's license will still have a few restrictions. You can drive:

    • With no more than 2 passengers younger that 21 years old, unless they are your siblings.
    • Between 6:01 a.m. to 10:59 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 6:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Friday to Sunday in September through June.
    • Between 6:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. every day in July and August.
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