Applying for a New License (Drivers 18+) in West Virginia
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Whether you've just moved to West Virginia and need to transfer your out-of-state license, you've lived here forever and need to apply for your first license, or you're a teenager ready to begin the graduated licensing program, we can help you with the process for applying for a West Virginia Driver's license.
The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers the following kinds of licenses:
- Graduated Driver's Licenses (GDLs) include Level 1 Instruction Permits and Level 2 Intermediate Licenses for teens younger than 18 years old.
- Class E Instruction Permits and Licenses are for drivers 18 years old and older and are discussed here.
- Motorcycle Instruction Permits, F Endorsements, and Licenses are for drivers who want to have motorcycle endorsements or obtain motorcycle-only driver's licenses.
- Commercial Driver's Licenses (CDLs} include Class A, B, and C licenses for driving commercial vehicles.
- Class D Licenses are non-CDL "for hire" licenses for driving taxis, shuttles, and buses as well as for chauffeurs.
NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old, you must complete the graduated licensing program. At this point, please visit our Drivers Permits section for instructions specific to you.
West Virginia doesn't require drivers of any age to take a driver's education course; however, many high schools throughout the state offer driver's education courses and it's a good idea for any applicant to take a supplemental course.
Your local DMV Regional Office handles most all driver's permit and license transactions. You don't need to make an appointment, but it's always a good idea to call ahead and find out what kind of queue you're up against.
Class E Licenses
In addition to passing your written or driving test, be prepared to:
- Submit a Driver's License Application.
- Pay the required fees (Class E instruction permits are $5, Class E licenses vary depending on age, and endorsement transfers for out-of-state licenses are $5 each).
- Present proof of identity (generally a certified birth certificate, but West Virginia provides a list of other acceptable documents).
- Present two proofs of physical residency.
- Present your Social Security card.
- Pass a vision test with 20/40 in both eyes, with or without corrective lenses.
- Take a brief alcohol awareness course (if you're transferring an out-of-state license).
NOTE: If you're new to West Virginia and need to transfer your out-of-state license,you don't have to take the written test unless you're younger than 18 or your out-of-state license is expired (in which case you must take all tests). You do have to meet all other requirements listed above.
Class D Licenses
The test-day process for Class D licenses is similar to that for a Class E license, including the fee which will vary depending on age; however, most Class D licenses require the driver to carry a "long physical form" with them at all times, and you'll need to obtain that from your nearest DMV Regional Office.
If you're new to West Virginia, you don't have to take the written test unless you're younger than 18 or your out-of-state license is expired.
If you're a first-time applicant or your West Virginia license has been expired for more than six months, you do have to take the written test. In addition to a supplemental driver's education course, the Driver Licensing Handbook is a great tool for studying
NOTE: West Virginia DMV Regional Offices offer audio testing. While they like for applicants to attempt the test once without audio help, they generally don't require it. If you opt to take the test without audio assistance, but fail due to your special needs, the DMV won't charge you to retake the test using the audio format.
Once You Pass
Once you pass the written test, the DMV will issue you a Class E instruction permit. The permit is valid for 90 days, and if you've never held a Level 2 intermediate license you must wait 30 days before you take your driving test.
If your permit expires, you may renew it after taking the vision and written tests again.
If You Fail
If you fail the written test, your examiner will give you a retest date. You can't take the written test twice in one week, and your date to retest is normally the following week.
Your driver's education course or supplemental training course will provide a vehicle during class, but you'll need your own once it's time to take your test and make use of your new license.
Consider your budget, your lifestyle, and the area in which you live when you shop for a car. For example, purchasing a used vehicle may be a great way to save money and still have reliable transportation, and getting a vehicle history report can help you learn more about the car you want to purchase.
You don't simply need a vehicle for your driving test and for getting around once you have your license; you also need a vehicle covered under a car insurance policy that meets West Virginia's minimum insurance requirements.
Our Insurance Center can help you make sure your car insurance policy meets West Virginia's requirements under the Compulsory Insurance Law.
If you're new to West Virginia and your current out-of-state license isn't expired, you don't have to take the driving test. You simply have to take the vision test and a brief alcohol awareness course.
Drivers with expired out-of-state licenses must take all tests, and drivers with suspended or revoked out-of-state licenses must first get cleared with the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS).
All first-time drivers must take the driving test. As with the written test, you don't have to make an appointment but it's a good idea to call ahead to find out testing times.
You must provide your own vehicle for testing and you must show up with a licensed driver who is at least 21 years old. Make sure you're prepared to show proof of insurance, and make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Your examiner will check for both.
Once You Pass
Once you pass your driving test, you'll head back to the office, smile for the camera, and immediately receive your new West Virginia driver's license.
If You Fail
If you fail the driving test, your examiner will tell you which areas you need to work on and give you a retest date. You can't take the driving test twice in one week, and your date to retest is normally the following week.
If you're a non-citizen and at least 16 years old, you can use your out-of-country license to drive in West Virginia for up to 90 days from the day you enter the state. After that, you need a West Virginia driver's license.
How to Apply as a Non-Citizen
The process to apply as a non-citizen depends largely on your legal status. The WV DMV suggests following these steps to get started.
- Call your nearest DMV Regional Office or the main WV DMV office.
- Have your visa and INS Form I-94 readily available.
- Be prepared to inform the DMV employee of your legal status.
- Wait for further instructions.
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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.