Drivers Permits in Ohio
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio BMV has SUSPENDED all standard licensing transactions and CLOSED 181 locations. The five remaining open locations will process commercial license transactions ONLY. All expiring licenses are extended by 90 days after the end of the emergency. If possible, residents should use the BMV's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the BMV's most recent updates for the latest information.
Ohio Driver's Permits
How to get your permit (TIPIC) with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV):
- Be at least 15 1/2 years old.
- Pass the written permit test.
- Visit an Ohio BMV office.
- Provide proof of your ID, residency, birth date, and legal presence.
- Pay the $26.50 learner's permit fee.
For more details on the above and the next steps to take, please see below.
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, 2020, 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?
If you have recently moved to Ohio, you'll need to apply for an instruction permit using the same process outlined below for first-time applicants. You MAY be able to waive the knowledge exam—contant your local exam center first to find out specifics for your circumstances.
Ohio Learner's Permit Requirements
In order to get your Ohio learner's permit, or TIPIC, you'll need to be at least 15 1/2 years old. The first step is passing your written knowledge exam and a vision test (see Taking the Written Permit Test below).
Visit a driver license exam center with your parent/guardian, and make sure to bring proof of your:
- Name and birth date.
- Social Security number.
Is the REAL ID right for me?
Not sure which license is right for you? The REAL ID lets you board an airplane and enter federal buildings with just your license—a standard license won't serve as federal proof of identity, but is still perfectly valid to drive. When in doubt, the REAL ID is a safer bet (and only requires one extra document to submit).
After passing your tests, you're free to apply for your permit! Decide whether you want a REAL ID-compliant permit or a non-compliant document.
Then visit an OH BMV office and:
- Show documents proving your:
- Pass the vision exam.
- Pass the written permit test.
- Complete the medical packet, if you have any relevant medical conditions.
- Pay the $26.50 fee.
If you are under 18 years old, your parent, legal guardian, person with legal custody, or a responsible person who is willing to assume the legal obligations must accompany you. This person must also provide proof of his identification.
While you have your TIPIC, you can begin Driver's Ed. If you are under 18 years old, you MUST complete Driver's Ed in order to graduate to an intermediate driver's license (and eventually your full driver's license). See “Driver's Education Requirements" below.
Taking the Written Permit Test
The Ohio written exam consists of questions on:
- Motor vehicle regulations.
- Traffic signs.
The test has 40 questions (multiple choice) and you must answer 75% correctly to pass.
The permit test will cover information including:
- Rules of the road.
- Traffic signs and what they mean.
- Motor vehicle laws.
- Highway warnings.
Permit Driving Restrictions
While you have your TIPIC, you must follow certain driving restrictions depending on your age:
- 15 1/2 years old: You are only allowed to drive when accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor who is seated next to you.
- 16 years old: You may only drive with a valid licensed driver who is 21 years old or older.
- Under 18 years old: You cannot drive between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., unless your licensed parent or legal guardian/custodian supervises you.
Ohio Driver's Ed Requirements
Once you have your temporary learner's permit identification card, it's time to complete an approved Driver's Ed course that consists of:
- 24 hours of classroom instruction.
- 8 hours of driving with a certified instructor.
This course can be taken at a high school, from a licensed driver training school, or be provided by the military. For more information, please refer to our Driver's Ed in Ohio page.
Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements
If you're under 18 years old and have your Ohio learner's permit, in addition to completing Driver's Ed, you're also required to complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice (including 10 hours at night).
These hours must be certified by your parent or legal guardian, and you must submit a completed Fifty Hour Affidavit (Form BMV 5791) when you apply for your intermediate driver's license.
Next Step: Getting Your Probationary Driver's License
You can apply for your probationary driver's license once you have:
- Held your learner's permit for at least 6 months.
- Successfully completed a Driver's Ed course, if you're younger than 18 years old.
- Completed your supervised driving practice (see “Behind-the-Wheel Driving Requirements" above).
For more information, please refer to our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in Ohio page.
- BMV 5791