Applying for a New 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.

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.
    A complete list of accepted documents can be found on the BMV website.
  • 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 (up to 4 years).

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. Our Driver's Permits in Ohio page has application instructions and applicable fees.

NOTE: You will need to pass a written knowledge and vision screening test in order to obtain your instruction permit.

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.

When you're ready to take your road test, 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.
  • 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): $23.
  • 20 years old: $19.25.
  • 19 years old: $20.50.
  • 18 years old: $21.75.

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

Accepted Payment Methods

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) accepts payment by:

  • Cash.
  • Personal check.
  • Money order.
  • Certified cashier check.
  • Traveler's check.
  • County agency voucher.
  • Intra-state agency voucher.
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