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Getting a Driver's License

General Requirements

Under the 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. You must provide a driver education completion certificate or show proof of your successful completion of a state-approved driver education program. Plus, your parent, guardian or foster parent must certify that you received at least 40 hours of driving practice, ten of which must have been completed after sunset.

All first-time drivers’ licenses issued to persons under age 18 are 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 license. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can deny or suspend driving privileges for persons under age 18 if the juvenile:
  • is found delinquent by a court,
  • is in need of supervision,
  • is involved in an alcohol or drug-related offense, or
  • needs court-assigned services or programs such as counseling.
If you are under age 19, you must provide proof of successful completion of a state-approved driver education program and you must hold a learner's permit at least nine months before you can receive a driver's license.

If you are age 19 or older and you have never held a license issued by any state, U.S. territory or foreign country, you must provide proof of successful completion of a state-approved driver education program or you must have held a learner’s permit at least 30 days before taking the road skills test.

Completed Application
When applying for an original driver’s license, you must complete an application for a Virginia driver’s license. You may complete this form before or after coming to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Use your full legal name. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted.

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 you need to take.

Issuance
To enhance security and reduce risks for fraud, DMV changed the method of issuing driver’s licenses and identification cards from an over-the-counter process to issuance from a secure, central location.

You will not receive your new driver’s license or ID card during your DMV visit. Driver’s license applicants will be given temporary driving permits that cannot be used for identification purposes. ID card applicants will be given a receipt. You will receive your new driver’s license or ID card in the mail.

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.

Since the temporary driving permit and temporary learner’s permit issued at DMV offices are not valid for identification, it is important that you keep any existing license or ID or present another form of identification such as a passport or a birth certificate.

Acceptable Documents for Obtaining a Driver’s License or Photo ID Card
For a driver’s license you must bring
  • two forms of personal identification
  • one proof of your legal presence
  • one proof of Virginia residence
  • one proof of a Social Security Number (if you have one).
Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, legal presence, Virginia residency, and Social Security Number may change without prior notice.

Temporary documents and photocopies of documents will not be accepted. All documents must be originals. All documents will be subject to verification, which may delay the issuance of your license or learner’s permit. 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. DMV may require additional documents.

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

Proof of Personal Identification

Your documents must show your full legal name and date of birth. You must present at least one document from the primary list. The second proof may come from the primary or the secondary list:

Primary Documents:
  • Unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired or expired visa and I-94.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with an I-94W.
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (I-688A, I-688B or I-766)

Secondary Documents:

  • Certified copy of school records/transcript issued by a school accredited by a U.S. state, jurisdiction, or territory or a Virginia Department of Education Certificate of Enrollment form (a report card is not accepted.)
  • INS student or dependent SEVIS I-20 with or without INS stamp (applicant’s name must appear on the form.)

Proof of Legal Presence

  • Unexpired foreign passport with an unexpired or expired visa and a valid I-94.
  • Holders of F1/F2 visas must present a valid SEVIS I-20.
  • Holders of J1/J2 visas must present a valid DS-2019.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid I-94W
  • Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (I-688A, I-688B or I-766)

Proof of Virginia Residency

  • Original monthly bank statement not more than two months old, issued by the bank.
  • Certified copy of school records/transcript from a school in which applicant is currently enrolled, issued by a school accredited by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory OR a Virginia Department of Education state, jurisdiction or territory OR a Virginia Department of Education Certificate of Enrollment form (a report card is not acceptable)
  • Payroll check stub issued by an employer within the last two months
  • U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax reporting W-2 form or 1099 form (not more than 18 months old.)
  • U.S. or Virginia income tax return from the previous year.
  • Utility bill, not more than two months old, issued to applicant (examples include gas, electric, sewer, water, cable or phone bill.) Cellular phone and pager bills not acceptable
  • Receipt for personal property taxes or real estate taxes paid within the last year to the Commonwealth of Virginia or a Virginia locality.
  • Current homeowners’ insurance policy or bill
  • Cancelled check (not more than two months old) with both name and address imprinted.
  • Deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement or residential rental/lease agreement.
  • U.S. Postal Service change or address confirmation form or postmarked U.S. mail with forwarding address label.

Proof of Social Security Number

  • Social Security card (if you were issued one). Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not accepted.
  • U.S Internal Revenue Service tax reporting W-2 form or 1099 form.
  • Payroll check stub issued by employer.

Information obtained from Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles

For more information, visit www.dmvnow.com or call 1-866-368-5463