Apply for a Learner's Permit

A learner’s permit allows individuals to practice driving with a licensed driver. You must be at least 15 years and six months old to apply.

The Application Process

There are two steps to applying for your learner’s permit: 1) Submitting the proper documents and fees, and 2) Taking the relevant tests.

Both steps can be done in person at any DMV customer service center.

Schedule an Appointment Online

Step 1: Submit Documents and Fees

To apply for a learner’s permit, please submit the following to DMV:

  1. A completed Application for a Virginia Driver's License
    • If you are under 18, your parent or legal guardian must provide written consent by signing your application. In place of written consent, a court order showing that you are an emancipated minor is acceptable.
  2. $3 learner’s permit fee plus the yearly cost of a driver’s license. See fee chart.
  3. One proof of identity.
  4. One proof of legal presence.
  5. Two proofs of Virginia residency.
  6. Proof of your Social Security number (SSN), if you have been issued one. If you know your SSN, DMV can verify it electronically.

See acceptable documents guide.


Document Do’s and Don’ts

Note: DMV will not accept documents if there’s reason to believe they are illegitimate. DMV may require additional documents or change which documents are accepted without prior notice.

Step 2: Take the Tests

During your appointment to apply for a learner’s permit, you will need to take a vision screening and pass a two-part knowledge exam.

Receiving Your Learner’s Permit

Once you submit the proper documents and pass your required tests, DMV will mail your learner's permit to the address in our records. If you have moved, notify DMV right away, as the U.S. Postal Service will not forward learner's permits.

Learner's Permit Driving Restrictions

A learner's permit lets you drive a vehicle when a licensed driver is seated beside you.

The licensed driver must be at least 21 years old, or 18 years of age or older if they are your legal guardian or sibling. They must be alert and able to assist you.

You may drive with your learner's permit without a licensed driver if you:

  1. Hold a valid Virginia Driver Training Certificate (DTS B), signed by a parent or legal guardian, showing completion of the classroom and behind-the-wheel portions of driver education
  2. Are at least 16 years 3 months old, and
  3. Have held your learner's permit for nine months

How Long You Need a Learner’s Permit

You need to hold a learner’s permit for a certain amount of time before you can get your driver’s license.

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 either:

If you complete a driver education program, you must submit the completion certificate when applying for a driver’s license.

If you are under age 18, you must:

  1. Successfully complete a state-approved driver education program
  2. Hold a learner's permit for at least nine months before you can receive a driver's license, and
  3. Have your parent or guardian sign the completion certificate to certify that you have driven at least 45 hours, 15 of which occurred after sunset, and the information submitted on the certificate is true.

You must submit the completion certificate when applying for a driver’s license.

Limited Duration Learner’s Permit

If you are temporarily authorized to be in the U.S., you will receive a limited duration learner’s permit, which is only valid for the amount of time that you are legally permitted to stay in the U.S.

The expiration of the learner’s permit will be the same as the expiration date shown on the document used to prove legal presence.

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.

Additional Information

New Virginia Residents with Out-of-State Permits

If you move to Virginia from another U.S. state or territory with a valid learner’s permit, in addition to the requirements above, you will need to provide your current learner's permit. The time you held your learner's permit will be counted toward the Virginia minimum holding period.

Medical Indicators

An applicant, or parent or legal guardian if the applicant is under 18, may request indicators be placed on their learner’s permit to identify a disability to law enforcement. See Disability Programs for more information.

For questions about driver fitness, see Medical and Mental Requirements.

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