A driver privilege card is a driver’s license for non-US citizens. It gives Virginia residents who are not citizens the opportunity to be a legal driver, without requiring proof of legal presence or U.S. citizenship.
- Who is Eligible
- How To Get a Driver Privilege Card
- Application and Documents
- Additional Requirements
- Duration and Fees
- Receiving Your Driver Privilege Card
- Additional Information
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, and you do not have any insurance-related infractions
You are 16 years and three months or older
Note: You may be eligible for a learner's permit if you are at least 15 years and six months.
A driver privilege card is not REAL ID-compliant, so it cannot 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.
If You Have Held a License
If you have ever held a driver’s license or a driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory or foreign country and can provide acceptable proof (driver’s license, driving record or court/insurance documentation showing you’ve held a license), you may be able to exchange that license for a driver privilege card.
To exchange a foreign license, see Exchanging a Foreign Driver’s License for additional requirements.
If You Have Never Held a License
If you are under age 18 and have never held a driver’s license or a driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory, foreign country, or cannot show proof you previously held one, you must show proof you have:
- Completed a state-approved driver education program
- Held a learner's permit for nine months
- Passed the knowledge exam
If you are age 18 or older and have never held a driver's license or driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory, foreign country or cannot show proof you previously held one, you must show proof you have either:
- Completed a state-approved driver education program, or
- Passed the knowledge exam and held a learner's permit for at least 60 days before passing the DMV road skills test
Where do I take the knowledge exam?
The two-part knowledge exam can be taken at any DMV customer service center or in classrooms at participating high schools. It is available in several languages.
Can I use a translator?
Translators may be used for the two-part knowledge exam administered at a DMV customer service center if:
- 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 also be used for the road skills test if you cannot complete and understand 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 are required to provide a photo identification document listed on the DMV 141.
All driver privilege card applicants must complete the Driver and Identification Privilege Card Application. You can complete it before or during your appointment at DMV.
When filling it out, remember:
- Use your full legal name. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted.
- If you are under age 18, your parent or legal guardian must provide written consent by signing your application. A court order showing you are an emancipated minor is acceptable in place of written consent.
Along with your application form, you must present all the following documents to prove your eligibility:
- 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 are acceptable, see the Document Guide or Obtaining a Driver Privilege Card or Identification Privilege Card.
Helpful Document Tips
- Documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation by a professional translator.
- 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 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 listed on Obtaining a Driver Privilege Card or Identification Privilege Card 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 is not legitimate.
- Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, Virginia residency, and Social Security number may change without prior notice. DMV may also require additional documents. If you have official documentation not yet listed 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 canceled by the issuing state.
If you are under age 18 and completing a driver education program, your parent, guardian or foster parent must list their driver's license, driver privilege card or state-issued identification card number and sign the driver education certificate of completion 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 get approval to be licensed from that court, or a court in the city or county where you live, to be eligible for a driver privilege card.
If you or your spouse are in the military and live in on-post housing, you must provide a valid U.S. Postal Service (USPS) mailing address. If this is your dwelling and 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.
Your first driver privilege card will expire on your birthday in the second year of the card’s validity.
- If you renew your card before the expiration date, it will stay valid for another two years from the date of issuance.
- If you don’t renew your card before your expiration date, you’ll have to start the application process over to get a new card.
All cards issued after your first card will be valid for two years from the date of issuance. This includes replacement cards.
It is $50 for your first driver privilege card and $50 for each renewal. A combined driver privilege card and permit is $53. See our Fee Chart for additional fees and details.
Once you pass your required testing and your application is approved, you will receive a temporary driving permit and your driver privilege card will be mailed to you.
If you have moved, notify DMV right away, as USPS does not forward driver privilege cards. Mail delivery times vary. Please allow up to 15 days to receive your new card.
If you are under age 18 when your your driver privilege card is issued, you may be required to attend a court licensing ceremony with your parent or guardian to receive your license. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in your jurisdiction will mail you a notice if you are required to attend. If the court does not require the ceremony, your privilege card will be mailed to you. See list of courts/jurisdictions requiring juvenile licensing ceremonies for more information.
If you are under age 18 when the driver privilege card is issued and are required to attend a court licensing ceremony, and you turn 18 before your ceremony you must still attend the ceremony, but your parent or 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.
- 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
- The juvenile needs court-assigned services or programs such as counseling
If you are under age 18, you, a parent, or a legal guardian can submit a signed physician statement requesting indicators be placed on your driver privilege card as a means of identifying a 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, see Medical and Mental Requirements.
Blood Type Designation
Consider displaying your blood type on your driver privilege card.
Your driver privilege card will display "D" under the "Class" heading and "9" under "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.
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 and complete 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 get a driving credential, you will only have to pass a vision screening.
You can schedule a driver's license appointment online by selecting an appointment for an “Original driver's license (no retesting).”
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 get 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 for more than five years.
You may schedule a driver's license appointment online by selecting an appointment for “Driver and ID Card Services - No Testing Required.”
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 specific language in the law authorizing the driver privilege card. DMV does not have the authority to alter requirements established by the Virginia General Assembly. To be eligible for a driver privilege card, you must either show you have reported income from Virginia sources in the past 12 months or were claimed as a dependent of someone who has.
How do DMV and the Virginia Department of Taxation work together to verify my taxes were paid?
The tax verification is 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.
If I have a past traffic violation, can I still apply for a driver privilege card?
Yes, as long as your driving privileges are not currently suspended or revoked. Before approving any application for any driving credential, DMV confirms your driving privileges are not currently suspended or revoked in Virginia or any other U.S. jurisdiction. This includes insurance-related infractions.
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 Training Schools.
If you are under the age of 18, you will be required to complete an approved driver education program. 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.
Do I need to register with the Selective Service in order to get a driver privilege card?
If you are required by federal law to register with the Selective Service and have not already done so, you must authorize DMV to send your information to the Selective Service. If you refuse, we cannot issue you a driver privilege card.
Generally, males under age 26 must register with the Selective Service.
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.
If you have questions about Selective Service registration, visit the Selective Service website at sss.gov or call 847-688-6888 (TTY: 847-688-2567).
How do I make an appointment?
Many sharable resources, in English and Spanish, are available to help educate Virginians on the driver privilege card. Learn more.