Apply for a License (Under 18) in Ohio

Applying for a New Teen Driver's License in Ohio

If you're a teenager applying for your first driver's license, you'll need to complete each step of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) graduated driver licensing (GDL) program.

Completing each step of the Ohio GDL program will help you build the skills necessary to pass your DMV road test and become a safe driver.

On this page you'll find information about the Ohio BMV GDL program requirements and the steps you'll need to complete to obtain your first unrestricted driver's license.

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 are younger than 18 years old, have recently moved to Ohio, and wish to transfer your out-of-state driver's license, visit your local Ohio BMV office (if you are required to take a road test, you will need to go to a Driver Exam Station) and:

  • Have your parent or legal guardian with you.
  • Present your out-of-state Driver's Ed completion certificate.
  • Pass a vision exam and DMV written test.
  • Provide proof of your name, date of birth, Social Security number, legal presence, and Ohio residency with documents such as your:
  • Pay your driver's license fee by cash, check or money order.

Your first Ohio driver's license will cost:

  • $24.25, if you are 16 years old.
  • $23, if you are 17 years old.
  • $21.75, if you are 18 years old.

NOTE: The DMV driving test is usually not required when you transfer a valid out-of-state driver's license. If you need to take a road test, schedule an appointment with your local Driver Exam Station.

Ohio GDL Program & Restrictions

The Ohio GDL program is made up of the following phases:

  • Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC), or learner's permit, which allows you to drive:
    • When supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor.
    • With any licensed driver who is at least 21 years old, if you are at least 16 years old.
  • Probationary license:
    • See Driving Restrictions below for more information.
  • Full, unrestricted driver's license.

Age Requirements

The minimum age requirements to begin each step of the Ohio BMV GDL program are as follows:

  • Temporary Instruction Permit (Learner's permit): 15 1/2 years old.
  • Probationary license: 16 years old.
  • Full driver's license: 18 years old.

Ohio Learner's Permit

When you turn 15 1/2 years old, you'll be eligible for your Ohio learner's permit. Before heading to a licensing agency to apply, though, you'll first need to pass the written and vision exams.

Visit your local Ohio BMV Driver Exam Station with your parent or legal guardian and make sure to bring proof of your:

  • Full name.
  • Birth date.
  • Social Security number.

Once you've passed your exams, you'll be ready to apply for your temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC). Visit your local deputy registrar license agency with the following items:

  • Proof of your:
    • Identity (name and birth date).
    • Social Security number.
    • U.S. citizenship/legal presence.
    • Ohio residency:
      • 2 documents for a federally compliant REAL ID permit.
      • 1 document for a non-compliant permit.
  • Documents verifying your parent/legal guardian's identity.
  • Payment the $22 temporary permit fee.

Pass the Written Test on Your First Try

If you need to prepare for the written test, the DMV offers a basic practice test. We suggest you take your studying a step further with an online practice test from our certified partner. These tests are designed to help you pass on your first attempt.

With your learner's permit, you'll be able to begin your supervised driving practice and complete your driver's education program. For more information about your driver's education requirements, please visit our page on Driver's Ed in Ohio.

Driving Restrictions & Behind-the-Wheel Requirements

While on your learner's permit, you may only drive when supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or certified driving instructor.

NOTE: If you are at least 16 years old, you may drive with any licensed driver as long as they are at least 21 years old.

Before moving on to your probationary Ohio driver's license, you'll need to complete 50 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours at night.

Probationary License

You'll be able to move on to the next step of the Ohio BMV GDL program by obtaining your probationary license if you:

  • Are at least 16 years old.
  • Have had your temporary instruction permit for at least 6 months.
  • Have the certificate proving you completed an OH driver's education course.
  • Have completed at least 50 hours of supervised driving with 10 hours completed at night and submit a Fifty Hour Affidavit (Form BMV 5791).

Once you meet the requirements above, contact the Ohio BMV to schedule your driving test, or schedule one online.

For the driving test, you must:

  • Provide your own car.
  • Bring your Driver's Ed certificate of completion.
  • Pass both the driving and maneuverability portions of the test.
    • 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.

After you pass the BMV road test, submit the following to your local Ohio deputy registrar office:

  • Your OH learner's permit.
    • If you wish to upgrade to a REAL ID-compliant license at this time, make sure to bring the extra proofs of residency that are required.
  • Payment for your first-time probationary driver's license fee:
    • 16 years old: $24.25.
    • 17 years old: $23.
    • 18 years old: $21.75

Do I Need a REAL ID License?

That depends! Though it's not mandatory, the REAL ID will make it easier for people who often travel or need to get on military bases or other federal facilities. So—do you want to use your license to fly on an airplane? Do you often need to get into federal areas? If the answer to either of those questions is "yes," then the REAL ID is for you!

Driving Restrictions

During the first 12 months of holding a probationary Ohio driver's license, you may:

After the first 12 months, if you're under 18 years old, you may:

Full Unrestricted Ohio Driver License

You must follow the Ohio BMV probationary license driving restrictions until you are at least 18 years old. See “Ohio GDL Program & Restrictions" above for details. When you turn 18 years old, these driving restrictions will be lifted and your probationary driver's license will convert to a full, unrestricted OH driver's license. Track and share yourprogress when you follow our new license checklist for Ohio.

Forms

BMV 5791
Fifty Hour Affidavit
Fill out this form when you have completed 50 hours of supervised driving as part of earning your Ohio drive's license.
BMV 2825
Employer Approval for Probationary Driver License Holders Driving Within Restricted Hours
Submit this form to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to drive with a probationary driver license OUTSIDE of restricted hours. For work purposes ONLY.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review