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Driver License Eligibility Requirements

First Time Drivers

You must be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and at least 16 years and 3 months of age to obtain a Virginia driver's license. To obtain a learner's permit, you must be at least 15 years and 6 months of age. No exceptions will be made to these age requirements. If you are under age 18, you must provide written consent from one of your parents or your legal guardian unless you are married or emancipated.

If you are under age 19, you must complete a state-approved driver education program.

If you are age 19 or older, and you have never held a driver's license issued by Virginia, another state, a U.S. territory, or foreign country, or cannot show proof that you previously held such a license, you must show proof that:

  • you have passed an approved driver education course, or,
  • you have held a Virginia learner's permit at least 60 days before taking the DMV road skills test.

At any age, as a first time driver, you will be required to provide documents to prove identity, legal presence, Virginia residency, and, if you have one, Social Security number. Use the interactive document guide to determine which documents you will need to bring to DMV when you apply, or refer to "Acceptable Documents for Obtaining a Driver's License or Photo ID Card" (DMV 141) en Espa´┐Żol.

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New Residents

Within 60 days of moving here, you must obtain a Virginia driver's license. However, if you hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), you must obtain a Virginia CDL within 30 days.

If you are age 19 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory, a Canadian province, France or Germany, you may not be required to:

However, you must pass a vision screening test.

If you are age 19 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a country other than Canada, France or Germany, you may not be required to show proof of successful completion of driver education or hold a learner's permit for 30 days. However, you must pass the two-part knowledge exam, road skills test and a vision screening.

You must possess your driver's license for at least 60 days prior to obtaining a Virginia driver's license. If your current driver's license does not display an issue date, you will be required to provide proof of the date of issue (i.e. driver's transcript).

If your license has been suspended or revoked by another state, a Virginia license may not be issued until your driving record in that state is cleared and you meet Virginia requirements.

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Military Personnel

If you are an active-duty member of the Armed Forces stationed in Virginia, you, your spouse and dependent children 16 years and 3 months of age or older may drive with a valid driver's license issued by your home state or country. A vehicle registered in your name may be driven with valid out-of-state license plates if you are the sole owner. If the vehicle is co-owned and out-of-state plates are used, all co-owners must be active-duty members of the Armed Forces. If all the co-owners are not active duty members, the vehicle will have to be registered in Virginia. You may register your vehicle in Virginia without obtaining a Virginia driver's license.

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Out-of-State Students

If you are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited school in Virginia and not employed, you may drive in Virginia with a valid out-of-state (or another country) driver's license and valid out-of-state license plates on your vehicle. If you are a full-time student and employed, you are considered a resident of Virginia for the purposes of motor vehicle laws only. This does not necessarily qualify you for in-state tuition rates. Therefore, you must apply for a Virginia driver's license and register your vehicle in Virginia. You must register the vehicle in Virginia even if it is owned by someone else.

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Non-Residents

If you are a non-resident temporarily living in Virginia, you may drive with your home state or country driver's license and license plates for no more than six months. This does not apply to commercial vehicle drivers. If you become gainfully employed, you are required to hold a Virginia driver's license. Visit your local DMV customer service center for more information or contact us.

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See also