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Applying for a Driver Privilege Card

What is a Driver Privilege Card

A driver privilege card is a driving credential for individuals who are non-US citizens and cannot meet Virginia's legal presence requirements, making them ineligible to receive a standard or REAL ID-compliant driver's license in Virginia.

Beginning January 1, 2021 you may be eligible to obtain a driver privilege card if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a non-US citizen who is a resident of Virginia
  • You have reported income from Virginia sources or are claimed as a dependent on a tax return filed in Virginia in the past 12 months
  • Your driving privilege is not currently suspended or revoked in Virginia or any other state, to include insurance-related infractions.

A driver privilege card is not REAL ID-compliant and, as such, may not be used as identification to board a flight or enter a secure federal facility. Driver privilege card applicants are not eligible for a commercial driver's license or identification card.

Driver Privilege Card Classification

Your driver privilege card will display "D" under the "Class" heading and "9" under the "Restrictions." The back of your driver privilege card will decode the classification of "D" as an "Operator DL" and "9" as "Limited duration (See expiration date on front)." A Class "D" driver's license allows you to operate passenger vehicles.

Age Requirements

The minimum age for obtaining a driver privilege card is sixteen years and three months. To obtain a Virginia driver privilege card learner's permit, you must be at least fifteen years and six months.

Identification and Residency Requirements

Each time you apply for a driver privilege card (or on each return visit until your license is issued), you must present documents proving your eligibility.

You must show:

  • Two proofs of identity
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • Proof of your social security number (if you have been issued one) or your individual taxpayer identification number
  • Tax return documentation

To determine which documents to bring to DMV when you apply, use the interactive Document Guide, or review the DMV publication Obtaining a Driver Privilege Card (DMV 309).

Documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation by a professional translator in order to be accepted.

Your proof of reported income and deductions from Virginia sources will be verified electronically with the Virginia Department of Taxation before your driver privilege card is issued. Visit www.tax.virginia.gov for Virginia income tax return filing information.

All documents must be originals and will be subject to verification; however, print-outs of online residency documents that are listed on Form DMV 309 are acceptable as proof of residency. 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, Virginia residency, and social security number may change without prior notice. DMV may require additional documents. If you have official documentation, not listed below, that you believe meets DMV requirements, please present it to your local DMV office for review.

Upon issuance of a driver privilege card in the Commonwealth of Virginia, any driver's license, driver privilege card, commercial driver's license or identification card previously issued by another state must be surrendered and will be cancelled by the issuing state.

Additional Requirements

If you are from out-of-state and possess a valid driver's license, DMV may exchange your out-of-state driver's license for a Virginia driver's license if you meet the identity, residency, reported income and deductions, social security requirements and Virginia's driver education requirements, if applicable.

If you provide verifiable evidence that you hold or have held a license from any U.S. state, U.S. territory or foreign country, you will not be required to hold a learner's permit for 60 days. You may still be required to take the knowledge exam and road skills test.

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 of successful completion of a state-approved driver education program and hold a learner's permit at least nine months before you can receive a driver privilege card. The driver education certificate of completion is considered part of the driver privilege card application. Your parent, guardian or foster parent must list his or her driver's license, driver privilege card or state-issued identification card number and sign the certificate to 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 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 or your spouse are in the military and live in on-post housing, you must provide a valid United States Postal Service (USPS) mailing address. This may be your dwelling address or, if mail cannot be delivered to your dwelling address, you may also provide DMV with an alternate mailing address. Some on-post housing, such as military barracks, may not be recognized by the USPS. If you are unsure, please check with your Unit Official Mail Manager.

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.

DMV is prohibited by law 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).

Completing the Application

When applying for a driver privilege card, you must complete an application for a Virginia driver's license (form DL 10). You may complete this form before or after coming to DMV. Use your full legal name. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted. For your convenience, you may indicate your desire to become an organ donor.

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.

Falsifying information on any driver's license, driver privilege card or identification card application is a criminal offense. Altering or assisting a person with improperly or fraudulently obtaining a driver's license, driver privilege card, learner's permit, CDL, commercial learner's permit or ID card are also criminal offenses.

Duration of Driver Privilege Card

Your first driver privilege card will expire on your birthday in the second year of license validity. All subsequence issuances will be valid for two years from the date of issuance.

Fee

Each issuance of a driver privilege card will cost $50.00. The cost of a combined driver privilege card and permit is $53.00. Please refer to the DMV Fee Chart for additional fees and details.

Testing

Tests may include a vision screening, a two-part knowledge exam and a road skills test.

If you are exchanging a foreign driver's license from France, Germany, Japan, Taiwan or South Korea, DMV must first verify the validity of your driver’s license with the foreign country prior to issuing you a Virginia driver's license. You will need to complete the "Exchanging a Driver's License from A foreign Country" application (DL 7) and submit it with a copy of your foreign license by mail or present your foreign license at a DMV customer service center. DMV will notify you by mail after your driver's license has been verified.

If you choose not to take advantage of this driver's license reciprocity program, you must pass the two-part knowledge exam and road skills test. However, you may not be required to show proof of successful completion of driver education or hold a learner's permit for 60 days if you provide satisfactory evidence that you held a foreign license

  • If you are under age 18, and have never held a driver’s license or driver privilege card you must complete a state-approved driver education program and hold a learner's permit for 9 months.

    See How to Schedule a Knowledge Test for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

  • If you are age 18 or older, and you have never held a driver's license or driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another US state, jurisdiction or territory or foreign country, or cannot show proof that you previously held a license, you must show proof that:
    • you have passed an approved driver education course, or,
    • you have held a learner's permit at least 60 days before taking the DMV road skills test.

    If you prefer not to mail your DL7 application and a copy of your foreign license, see How to Schedule a Driver License Service Appointment for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online to submit these documents in person. After you receive your approval letter, see How to Schedule a Road Skills Test for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

  • If you are at least age 16 and three months but under age 18 and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory, a Canadian province, France, Germany, Japan, or South Korea, you must pass a vision screening test. You may also be required to show proof you have successfully completed an approved driver education program in Virginia or while residing in another state and the program meets a minimum of 30 classroom hours and six in-car instruction hours.

    See How to Schedule a Driver License Service Appointment for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

  • If you are age 18 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory, a Canadian province, France, Germany, Japan, or South Korea, you must pass a vision screening test. However, you may not be required to:

    If you prefer not to mail your DL7 application and a copy of your foreign license, see How to Schedule a Driver License Service Appointment for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online to submit these documents in person. After you receive your approval letter, see How to Schedule a Driver License Service Appointment for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

  • If you are age 18 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by Taiwan, you must pass the vision screening and knowledge exam. However, you may not be required to:

    If you prefer not to mail your DL7 application and a copy of your foreign license, see How to Schedule a Driver License Service Appointment for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online to submit these documents in person. After you receive your approval letter, see How to Schedule a Road Skills Test for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

  • If you are age 18 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a country other than Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan, you must pass the two-part knowledge exam, road skills test and a vision screening. However, you may not be required to show proof of successful completion of driver education or hold a learner's permit for 60 days.

    See How to Schedule a Knowledge Test for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online. Once you have passed your knowledge test you may take the road skills test to obtain your license. See How to Schedule a Road Skills Test for instructions on how to schedule an appointment online.

The two-part knowledge exam is administered at DMV customer service centers or in classrooms at participating high schools and is available in several languages.

Translators may be used for the two-part knowledge exam administered at a DMV customer service center provided:

  • DMV does not offer the examination in your primary language; and
  • You cannot complete and comprehend the examination without the use of a translator

Translators may be used for the road skills test if you cannot complete and comprehend the test without the use of a translator.

DMV does not provide translator or interpreter services. Should you need a translator you must provide one. All translators will be required to provide a photo identification document listed on the DMV-141.

Receiving Your Driver Privilege Card

DMV will assign you a customer number which will display on your driver privilege card 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.

Once you pass your required testing, you will be given a temporary driving permit and your driver privilege card will be mailed to the address in DMV's records. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward your driver privilege card, so make sure DMV has your current, correct address on record. If you have moved, notify DMV right away. Your new driver's license or ID card will be produced within three days and mailed to you. Mail delivery times vary. Please allow up to 15 days to receive your new credential.

If you are under age 18, your driver privilege card will be sent to the judge of your local 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 driver privilege card. If you are age 18 on the date of your court licensing ceremony, your parent, custodial parent or legal guardian does not need to accompany you.

DMV can deny or suspend driving privileges for persons under age 18 if the juvenile meets one or more of the conditions below. Questions about this law may be directed to DMV.

  • The juvenile is found delinquent by a court,
  • The juvenile is in need of supervision,
  • The juvenile is involved in an alcohol or drug-related offense, or
  • The juvenile needs court-assigned services or programs such as counseling.

DMV may refuse to issue a driver privilege card to any applicant who appears for photographing in a disguise or intentionally distorts their face to alter their appearance.

Additional Information

An applicant or parent or legal guardian (if applicant is under 18), submitting a signed physician statement may voluntarily request indicators be placed on the applicant's driver privilege card as a means of identifying their disability to law enforcement personnel. 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)
  • Traumatic brain injury

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

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.

FAQs

  1. I have a driver's license or driver privilege card from another U.S. state or jurisdiction, what testing do I need to complete to exchange it for a Virginia driver privilege card?

    If you are at least age 16 and three months but under age 18 and you hold a valid driver's license or driver privilege card issued by a U.S. state or territory, you must pass a vision screening test. You will also be required to have completed an approved driver education program in Virginia or while residing in another state. The driver's education program must include a minimum of 30 classroom hours and six in-car instruction hours.

    If you are age 18 or older and you hold a valid driver's license issued by a U.S. state or territory, since you have already successfully tested to obtain a driving credential, you will only have to pass a vision screening. You may schedule a driver's license appointment by visiting dmvNOW.com and selecting an appointment for an original driver’s license (no retesting).

  2. I previously held a license in Virginia that is now expired, can I apply for a driver privilege card?

    Yes, you may apply for a driver privilege card if you have an expired Virginia driver's license. Since you have already successfully tested to obtain a driving credential in Virginia, you will only have to pass a vision screening. Additionally, if you are presenting the license as proof of identity, it may not be expired more than five years. You may schedule a driver's license appointment by visiting dmvNOW.com and selecting an appointment for an original driver's license (no retesting).

  3. Can I apply for a driver privilege card if I have not paid taxes in Virginia yet?

    No. The requirement to have reported income from Virginia sources or be claimed as a dependent on a tax return filed in Virginia is based on specific language included in the law authorizing the driver privilege card. At this time, DMV does not have the authority to alter this requirement that was established by the Virginia General Assembly. Therefore, to be eligible, you must either show that you have reported income from Virginia sources in the past 12 months or that you were claimed as a dependent of someone who has.

  4. How does DMV and the Virginia Department of Taxation work together to verify my taxes were paid?

    The tax verification will be completed through a secure electronic process developed by DMV and the Virginia Department of Taxation. The verification is a 'real-time' transaction and will occur immediately when you apply for a driver privilege card at a customer service center.

    During the verification process, the Department of Taxation will provide the date when your last return was accepted by the Department of Taxation. This date must be within one year of the date you are applying for a driver privilege card. For example, if you are applying for a driver privilege card on January 2, 2021, your most recent tax return must have been accepted by the Department of Taxation on or after January 2, 2020.

  5. If I have a past traffic violation, can I still apply for a driver privilege card?

    Yes, provided your privilege to drive is not currently suspended or revoked. Before approving any application for any driving credential, DMV ensures a customer's privilege to drive is not currently suspended or revoked in Virginia or any other U.S. jurisdiction; this includes insurance-related infractions.

  6. If I attend a driving school, do I have to take the road skills test at DMV?

    No. 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 may show completion of a state-approved driver education program which will include the road skills test. Doing so will waive the requirement to hold a learner's permit for at least 60 days and you will not be required to retake the road skills test at DMV. You can find more information about driver training schools, including a list of approved schools by visiting dmvNOW.com.

    If you are under the age of 18, you will be required to complete an approved course of driver’s education. If taken in Virginia, it will include the road skills test so you will not be required to test again at DMV. However, you will be required to hold a learner’s permit for nine months.

  7. How do I make an appointment?

    To make an appointment for service, please visit dmvNOW.com/appt. If a suitable appointment is not available, please try back later or check a nearby office which might have an earlier availability. New appointments become available daily as customers cancel and as the next day at the end of our 90-day appointment scheduling window opens up. Additionally, DMV is constantly evaluating customer cancellations and no shows, as well staffing levels, to adjust appointment availability to best serve Virginians; more appointment slots are added whenever possible.

Toolkit

Many sharable resources, in English and Spanish, are available to help educate Virginians on the driver privilege card. Learn more.