Apply for a License (Drivers 18+) in Virginia
COVID-19 Effects on Licensing Services
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, state DMVs nationwide have closed driver licensing offices, extended license and registration expiration dates, and/or limited the transactions they are processing. If possible, residents should use the DMV's online services to complete any relevant transactions. Follow the DMV's most recent updates for the latest information.
SUMMARY: How to Apply for a Virginia Driver's License
Obtain a VA driver's license by applying in person at a DMV office. In addition to showing various documents—including proof of your identity, SSN, and VA residency—you must pass a vision screening, knowledge exam, and driving test. A driver's license will cost $4 per year.
Continue reading this page to learn how to obtain a driver's license from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
NOTE: If you are younger than 18 years old, please follow the application instructions on our Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) page.
REAL IDs in Virginia
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles now issues both federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses as well as non-compliant licenses. A REAL ID license allows you to use your license as approved identification for activities such as boarding an airplane or entry into federal and military buildings.
You can choose to apply for a REAL ID or a non-compliant ID—details are outlined below.
New to Virginia?
Find all the information you need to finish your moving requirements with the DMV.
If you're new to Virginia and have an out-of-state driver's license, you must have it transferred within 60 days of becoming a resident of the state.
To obtain a Virginia driver's license, you will need to visit your local VA DMV office and:
- Pass the vision exam.
- Show a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory, France, Germany, South Korea, or a Canadian province.
- You may also be required to show proof you've held your out-of-state permit for at least 60 days or show proof you completed an approved driver education course.
- Take the knowledge exam or the road skills test.
- Submit a completed Driver's License and Identification Card Application (Form DL 1P).
- Submit proof of your:
- Identity (e.g. U.S. passport, out-of-state driver's license, birth certificate).
- Legal U.S. presence (e.g. U.S. Passport, U.S. birth certificate, foreign passport with visa and I-94 print out, permanent resident card, U.S. citizenship certificate).
- Virginia residency (e.g. mortgage statement, recent utility bill, pay check stub).
- Social Security number(SSN) (e.g. Social Security card, pay check stub, Social Security statement), if you have one.
- Surrender your out-of-state driver's license.
- Pay the $32 fee ($4 per year for 8 years).
- Depending on your circumstance, you may be issued a driver's license for 5 years at $4 per year.
NOTE: While your written knowledge and driving tests are usually waived, there may be special circumstances where the VA DMV requires you to pass these.
Types of VA Driver's Licenses
Depending on your age and the type of vehicle you want to drive, there are different types of licenses you can apply for in Virginia.
- Regular driver's license: For the operation of non-commercial vehicles.
- Learner's permit: Allows supervised driving practice.
- Commercial driver's license (CDL).
- Motorcycle license.
Before you can apply for a driver's license in Virginia, you must have either:
- Successfully completed a DMV-approved driver's education course.
- Held a VA learner's permit for 60 days or longer.
You can find instructions for obtaining a learner's permit on our Driver's Permits in Virginia page.
Apply for a Driver's License in Virginia
Once you've met your permit and/or driver's education requirements, you can then apply in person at your local DMV office (except for the Fair Oaks Mall office). You will need to bring documents to prove your identity, SSN, and residency based on whether you want a standard license or REAL ID-compliant license.
Applicants must bring proof of your:
- Proof of your:
- Identity (1 document).
- For a REAL ID, you MUST bring either your birth certificate or U.S. passport.
- Legal presence (1 document).
- Virginia residency (2 document).
- Social Security number.
- Identity (1 document).
- Your permit and/or your Driver's Education certificate.
- Payment for the applicable license fee.
You'll also need to pass the VA DMV tests outlined below. Once you have, the VA DMV will send you your driver's license by mail.
Knowledge and Driving Tests
Before you will be issued a driver's license, you must pass both the written knowledge exam and driving test.
Before taking the knowledge test, you should study the Virginia DMV's Driver's Manual. The DMV also offer a basic practice test. Our suggesting is to check out that test and then take a look at our online practice tests offered by our certified partner.
The test is split into the following parts; traffics signs and general knowledge. You must correctly answer all 10 questions in about traffic signs before you will be allowed to take the general knowledge quiz.
You need to correctly answer at least 80% of the general knowledge questions to pass the knowledge test.
If you fail, you can try again, but will need to pay a $2 if you want to re-take it within 15 days. If you fail the exam 3 times, you will need to complete the classroom component of a Driver's Ed course before you will be allowed to attempt the test again.
Road Skills Test
You will need to provide your own vehicle to take your road test in. It must have a valid safety inspection sticker, license plates, and be in good working condition. You will also need to provide:
- Your current registration card.
- Proof you have completed a Driver's Ed course.
- You can also provide a completed In Car Maneuvers Observation Record (Form CSMA-19).
If you fail your driving exam, you must wait 2 days before re-taking it. If you fail 3 times, you will need to complete the driving component of a Driver's Ed course before you can attempt it again.
- DL 1P