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Applying for a Driver's License

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Interactive Document Guide

Suzy Q & A Explains How to Apply for a Driver's License

Driver’s License Requirements

Minimum Age

Sixteen years and three months

See learner's permit for permit requirements.

Identification and Residency Requirements

You must present the following documents when you apply for a driver's license, or on each return visit until your license is issued:

  • One proof of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • One proof of your social security number, if you have been issued one (required for CDL)

  • If applying to exchange a license issued by another U.S. state, territory or jurisdiction: Your current driver's license
  • If your name appears differently on your proof documents: Proof of name change

Use the interactive Document Guide to determine which documents to bring.

Need a REAL ID to use as identification to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility beginning May 3, 2023? Check out our REAL ID guide.

Document Requirements

Your name must appear the same on all proof documents.

Nicknames will NOT be accepted. If your name appears differently on your proof documents, you will need to present additional documentation. See our Document Guide for more info.

All documents must be originals and will be subject to verification; temporary documents and photocopies of documents are not accepted.

We will not accept a document when there’s reason to believe it is illegitimate. DMV may require additional documents or change which documents are accepted without prior notice.

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Additional Requirements

  • If you are age 18 or older and you have never held a license issued by any state, U.S. territory or foreign country, you must hold a learner's permit for a minimum of 60 days or show completion of a state approved driver training course while holding the permit.
  • If you are under age 18, you must provide proof that you successfully completed a state-approved driver education program and hold a learner's permit at least nine months before you can receive a driver's license. The driver education certificate of completion is part of the driver's license application.
    • Your parent, guardian or foster parent will need to:
    • List his or her driver's license or state-issued identification card number
    • Sign the certificate to certify that
      • you have driven at least 45 hours, 15 of which occurred after sunset
      • the statements made and the information submitted on the certificate are true.

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Complete Your Application

You must complete the driver's license application (form DL 1P) using your full legal name. You may also apply to register to vote, change your voter registration address or change your organ donor status.

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

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How Long Your License Lasts

Your Virginia driver's license is normally valid for eight years and expires on your birthday in the eighth year that is is valid.

If you are age 75 or older, your driver’s license will be valid for five years.

Individuals temporarily authorized to be in the U.S

A driver's license is generally only valid for the amount of time that you are legally permitted to stay in the U.S.
You will not be eligible to receive a limited duration driver's license if your authorized stay in the U.S. is less than 30 days from the date of your application. The expiration of the driver's license will be the same as the expiration date shown on your document. If there is no definite end to your stay, the license will be valid for one year.

Individuals required to register as a sex offender

The Code of Virginia mandates, per Chapter 9 of Title 9.1, to renew your driver's license every five years.

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Testing

Tests may include a vision screening, a two-part knowledge exam and a road skills test. A DMV representative will tell you which tests to take.

Fee

License costs vary--refer to the DMV Fee Chart for details.

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Receiving Your License

Your driver's license will be securely mailed to your address on file. If you have moved, notify DMV right away, as the U.S. Postal Service does not forward driver's licenses.

DMV will assign you a customer number which will display on your license or 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 18 and live in a jurisdiction that requires you to attend a court licensing ceremony, your driver's license will be sent to the judge of your juvenile and domestic relations court. The court will notify you by mail about when and where you and your parent, custodial parent or legal guardian must appear to receive your license.

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Additional Information

Medical Indicators

You may voluntarily request indicators be placed on your driver's license to identify a disability to law enforcement. A "9" will display in the restriction field on the face of the license and will be decoded on the back as follows:

  • Insulin-dependent diabetic
  • Speech impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability (IntD will display)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD will display)

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

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Resources