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Applying for a Learner's Permit

Age Requirements

To obtain a learner's permit in Virginia, you must be at least 15 years and 6 months of age.

Identification and Residency Requirements

Each time you apply for a learner's permit, you must present documents proving your identification and residency.

Information about documents that DMV will accept as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and social security number (SSN) is presented in Acceptable Documents for Obtaining a Driver's License or ID Card (DMV 141) en Espa´┐Żol. You can also use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents you will need to bring to DMV when you apply.

  • If you are age 19 or older, you must show two proofs of identity, one proof of legal presence and one proof of Virginia residency. Proof of your social security number (if you have been issued one) is also required; however, proof of your social security number is always required for a CDL. Use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents to bring with you.
  • If you are under 19 years of age, you will be required to show one proof of identity, one proof of legal presence, and one proof of Virginia residency, along with proof of your social security number (if you have been issued one). Use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents to bring with you.

All documents must be originals and will be subject to verification. Temporary documents and photocopies of documents will not be accepted. DMV will not accept a document as proof of identity, legal presence, residency or social security number when there is reason to believe it has been altered, fraudulently obtained or is fake, forged, counterfeit, or otherwise non-genuine or illegitimate.

Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency and social security number may change without prior notice. DMV may require additional documents.

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Additional Requirements

If you previously have been found not innocent of any offense by a juvenile and domestic relations court in Virginia or any other state, you must obtain approval to be licensed from that court or a court in the city or county where you live.

If you are from out-of-state, to obtain a Virginia learner's permit, you will be required to surrender your out of state learner's permit, complete a knowledge exam, meet the identity, legal presence, residency, and social security requirements and Virginia's driver education requirements, if applicable. The time in which you held your out-of-state learner's permit will be counted toward the Virginia minimum holding period for a learner's permit.

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Completing the Application

When applying for a learner's permit, you must complete an Application for a Virginia Driver's License (form DL 1P). You may complete this form before or after coming to DMV. Use your full legal name. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted.

If you are under age 18, your parent, custodial parent or legal guardian must provide written consent by signing your application. A court order showing that you are an emancipated minor is acceptable in lieu of written consent.

For your convenience, you also may apply to register to vote, change your voter registration address, or indicate your desire to become an organ donor when you apply for your learner's permit.

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Selective Service Registration

Generally males under age 26 must register with the Selective Service. If you are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service, you must authorize DMV to forward your personal information to the Selective Service unless you have already registered.

If you are under age 18, your parent or guardian must sign your application authorizing the Selective Service to register you when you turn age 18. Law prohibits DMV from issuing any type of driver's license or ID card to an applicant who is required by federal law to register with the Selective Service but who refuses to authorize DMV to send his information to the Selective Service. If you have questions about Selective Service registration, visit the Selective Service website at www.sss.gov or call 847-688-6888 (TTY: 847-688-2567).

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Fee

Driver's license fees will be based on how long your license will be valid (refer to the DMV Fee Chart for details). A learner's permit fee is $3.00 plus the yearly cost of a driver's license.

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Length of Time the Permit Is Valid

Your first driver's license will be valid for three to eight years, depending on your age when the license is issued, and will expire on your birthday. If you are under age 18, your learner's permit will expire on your 20th birthday.

Individuals required to register with the Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes Against Children Registry (Va. Code Chapter 9 of Title 9.1) will be issued licenses valid for five years.

For many individuals authorized to be in the U.S. temporarily (limited duration), a learner's permit/driver's license will be valid only for the amount of time that the individual is legally permitted to stay in the U.S. You will not be eligible to receive a limited duration learner's permit if your authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date of your application. The expiration of the permit/license will be the same as the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence. If the document does not show an expiration date, the permit/license will be valid for one year.

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Testing

You will need to take a vision screening and pass a two-part knowledge exam in order to receive your learner's permit.

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Issuance

DMV has converted to a new secure process for issuing driver's licenses, learner's permits, and ID cards, and has discontinued issuing them over the counter. Once you pass your required testing, your learner's permit will be mailed to the address in DMV's records. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward driver's licenses or learner's permits, so make sure that DMV has your current, correct address on record. If you have moved, notify DMV right away.

DMV will assign you a customer number which will display on your learner's permit. If you wish to change your DMV-assigned number in the future, you may be required to present documentation from law enforcement or the courts indicating that you may be a victim of identity theft.

If you are under age 19, you must hold your learner's permit for at least 9 months before you can receive a driver's license.

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Additional Information

For questions about driver fitness, refer to Medical and Mental Requirements

For driver's license and learner's permit examples, refer to images of driver's licenses and identification cards

Persons convicted of certain sexual offenses (as listed in Va. Code § (46.2-323) must register with the Virginia Department of State Police as provided in § 19.2-298.1.

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