Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in Ohio

SUMMARY: How to Apply for an Ohio Driver's License

Before you can obtain a driver's license, you must have an instruction permit from the Ohio BMV. You must apply for your driver's license in person at a BMV office after passing a driving test and paying the required fee.

Read this page to learn how to apply for a driver's license from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

NOTE: If you're younger than 18 years old, please follow the instructions on our Applying for a Teen License page.

Ohio REAL ID Driver's License

The OH BMV issues federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in addition to non-compliant licenses. As of October 1, 2021, only the REAL ID will function as federal identification for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings—a standard license will not after this date.

You have the choice to apply for a non-compliant license or upgrade to a REAL ID license—we'll walk you through the requirements below. For more detail, visit the BMV's guide to REAL IDs.

New to Ohio?

Just Moved?

Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.

If you have just moved to Ohio and have an out-of-state driver's license, you'll need to have it transferred within 30 days. Visit your local Deputy Registrar agency and:

  • Submit proof of your:
    • Name (including name change, if applicable).
    • Date of birth.
    • Social Security number (SSN).
    • Legal presence in the U.S.
    • Ohio residency:
      • 2 documents for a REAL ID-compliant license
      • 1 document for a non-compliant standard license.
  • Pay the required fee.
  • Pass the vision screening.
  • Have your photo taken.

As long as your out-of-state driver's license is valid, your driving exam should be waived.

If you're not a U.S. citizen, your driver's license will be valid for the length of your legal stay ( 4 years or 8 years depending on your individual qualifications). 

Types of Driver's Licenses

The Ohio BMV offers different types of driver's licenses depending on the type of vehicle you will be driving.

Apply for an OH Driver's License

To qualify for a driver's license in Ohio, you must have practiced driving with your temporary instruction permit. To get your permit, you'll first need to pass a written knowledge exam, as well as a vision test. Our Driver's Permits in Ohio page has application instructions and applicable fees.

Pass the Written Test on Your First Try!

To help prepare you for the written test, the DMV has provided a basic practice test. We suggest you also try an online practice test offered from our certified partners. These state-of-the-art study assistants are designed to help you pass the test on your first attempt.

After holding your permit and practicing your driving skills, you'll then take your behind-the-wheel road test.

When you're ready, schedule a road test at an Ohio Driver License Examination Station. You will need to provide your own working vehicle for the driving exam.

Once you pass the exam, you will need to visit your local Ohio BMV office and:

  • Surrender your instruction permit.
    • If you didn't obtain a REAL ID-compliant permit, and you wish to upgrade now, make sure to bring all required documents.
  • Pay the required fee.

If you're younger than 21 years old, your new driver's license will expire on your 21st birthday; otherwise, it will expire on your birthday 4 years from the date of issue.

Driving Exam

Your road test will consist of the following parts:

  • Driving skills.
  • Maneuverability.

The driving skills component will test you on your ability to perform basic tasks, such as:

  • Starting and stopping.
  • Backing.
  • Turning around.
  • Proper lane usage.

The maneuverability component will require you to navigate your way through a given course. You will fail automatically if you hit any of the markers.

If you're 18 years old or older and fail the test, you MUST take an abbreviated driver's training course before attempting the test again.

For more information, visit the Ohio BMV website.

Fees for a Driver's License in OH

The fee for your Ohio driver's license will depend on your age and length of validity:

  • 21 years old or older (valid for 4 years): $24.50.
  • 20 years old: $20.75.
  • 19 years old: $22.
  • 18 years old: $23.25.

NOTE: If you're younger than 21 years old, your driver's license will be valid until your 21st birthday.

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