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Driver Education

Age Requirements

  • If you are a Virginia resident under age 18, you must hold your Virginia learner's permit for at least nine months and complete a Virginia state-approved driver education program. Your parent, guardian, or foster parent must provide his or her driver's license or state-issued identification card number and sign the driver education completion certificate. By signing the certificate, they attest to your academic standing and certify that you have driven at least 45 hours (15 of which occurred after sunset) and that the statements made and the information submitted on the certificate are true and correct. Certifying false statements can result in prosecution.
  • If you are a Virginia resident age 18 or older and have never held a license issued by any state, U.S. territory or foreign country, you must either:
    1. Hold a Virginia learner's permit for at least 60 days and complete a Behind-the-Wheel Checklist (Form CSMA 19). This checklist describes specific driving tasks that you may be asked to perform while taking the road skills test, to be administered by a DMV staff member. A licensed driver must certify on the form that he/she has been with you while you practiced your driving skills and that you have complied with all requirements for learner's permit holders while operating a motor vehicle. OR
    2. Show completion of a state-approved driver education program. Doing so will waive the requirement to hold your learner's permit for at least 60 days. In addition, as the road skill test will be administered as part of the driver education course, you will not be required to take the road skills test at DMV.

About Driver's Education

Driver education programs are available statewide to students, adults and out-of-school youths. Public and private school programs are approved by the Department of Education. Driver training schools follow the same course content and are licensed by DMV.

The program must present 36 classroom periods, including components about alcohol safety, drug abuse awareness, aggressive driving, distracted driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety, handicapped parking, fuel-efficient driving practices, motorcycle awareness, and organ and tissue donation awareness. The program must also include 14 in-car instruction periods - 7 periods of driving and 7 periods of observation, including the final road skills examination.

The course must be taken at a public or private driver training school unless you are home-schooled.

You will receive a driver education completion certificate when you successfully complete a driver education program. The driver education certificate of completion is considered part of the driver's license application. A copy of your certificate will be sent by your school instructor to DMV for issuance of a permanent driver's license.

Exchanging Your Out-of-state License (Juvenile Applicants Only)

DMV may exchange your out-of-state license for a Virginia license if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are at least age 16 and three months but under age 19 and hold a valid license; and
  • You have successfully completed a driver education program while residing in another state and the program meets a minimum of 30 classroom hours and six in-car instruction hours; and
  • You can present proof of legal presence, identity, Virginia residency, and your social security number. Refer to "Acceptable Documents for Obtaining a Driver's License or Photo ID Card" (DMV 141). en Espanol

If you hold a current out-of-state driver's license but do not have proof of driver education, you may be issued a Virginia six-month temporary license. This will give you time to obtain proof or to complete a state-approved driver education program.