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Driver License Eligibility Requirements

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 Espanol.

First Time Drivers

For a driver's license, you must be

  • A resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia and
  • At least 16 years and 3 months of age.

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

  • Complete a state-approved driver education program and
  • Provide written consent from one of your parents or your legal guardian, unless you are married or emancipated.

If you are age 18 or older and 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 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 (SSN). Proof of your SSN is not required if you know the number and DMV is able to electronically verify it.

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New Residents

Within 60 days of moving to Virginia, you must obtain a Virginia driver's license. If you currently hold a commercial driver's license (CDL), you must obtain a Virginia CDL within 30 days.

If you currently hold a driver’s license from outside the U.S., see Exchanging a Foreign Driver’s License.

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Military Personnel

Active-duty members 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.

If you are the sole owner of the vehicle: It may be driven with valid out-of-state license plates.

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 must 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 are 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, so 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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If you are a non-resident temporarily living in Virginia, you may drive with your home state or country’s driver's license and license plates for no more than six months. Note: This does not apply to commercial vehicle drivers. If you become gainfully employed, you are required to hold a Virginia driver's license.

If you are serving a full-time church service or proselytizing mission for not more than 36 months, are not gainfully employed and the owner(s) of a vehicle that is titled and registered in another state, you are not required to title or register your vehicle in Virginia.

For more information, visit your local DMV customer service center or contact us.

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Identification and Residency Requirements

Each time you apply for a driver's license, learner's permit or CDL (or on each return visit until your license is issued), you must present the following documents proving your eligibility:

  • One proof of identity
  • One proof of legal presence
  • Two proofs of Virginia residency
  • One proof of your Social Security number (SSN), if you have been issued one (required for CDL)
  • Current driver's license if you are applying to exchange one issued by another U.S. state, territory or jurisdiction for a Virginia driver's license
  • Proof of name change if your name appears differently on your proof documents

You will not be required to present proof of your SSN if you know the number and DMV is able to electronically verify it.

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 be asked to present additional documentation.

All documents must be originals and are 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.

You may hold either a driver's license, or a CDL, but not both. If you hold a license of any kind, you are not eligible for an ID card.

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