How to Get a Driver’s License in Virginia

Whether you own a car or not, it’s generally a good idea to have a driver’s license. Obtaining a driver’s license in Virginia isn’t difficult, but there are some important steps you need to take. Before you begin, make sure that you fit the age requirements for obtaining a license – you must be fifteen years and six months for a learners’ permit and sixteen years and three months for a license.

Virginia Drivers License Requirements

In order to be issued a license, you need to take a test (or multiple tests), depending on what your DMV representative says is necessary. Tests may include:

* Vision screening – this is to ensure you can see well enough to drive safely.

* A two-part knowledge exam – first, you must answer ten questions about traffic signs. All of these must be answered correctly before you move on to a 25-item test testing general knowledge. Your score on this test must be at least 80%. You can only take the test once per business day (if you’re older than 18 and retake within 15 days, there is a $2 fee). If you fail and are under 18, you need to wait 15 days to re-take. If you fail three times, you may need to take a course.

* A road skills test – You may be required to demonstrate driving ability, though sometimes a driver education course with a behind-the-wheel component is enough. These courses often have a road skills test, which is generally required to graduate.

Virginia Drivers License Cost

The driver’s license fee is four dollars per year, and since licenses typically expire after eight years, the fee for one is $32. However, if you’re under 18 when you first get your license, it will expire on your 20th birthday.

Not all licenses are the same – processes, fees, and waiting times are different with commercial driver’s licenses and CDLs, so it’s always wise to read about requirements before you go to the DMV.

When you apply for a license, you must first obtain a learner’s permit. On your first visit to the DMV, you must be able to provide proof of identity and residency. If you’re under 19, you need proof of your social security number if you have one, one proof of identity, a proof of legal residence, and proof of Virginia residency. The requirements are the same if you’re 19 or older – you just need two proofs of identity instead of one. (Please note that CDL requirements may be different.) The Virginia DMV has an interactive document guide to assist you in selecting which documents to bring. If you don’t have access to the internet, you also can call your local DMV to ask about documentation. The DMV doesn’t accept photocopied documents or documents that appear to be forged or fraudulent.

If you’re 19 or older and have never had a license, you need to have your learner’s permit for 60 days before getting a license. Alternatively, you can show proof of completion of a state-approved driving program to get a license.

If you’re under 19, you need to successfully complete a state-approved driver education program and have your learner’s permit for at least nine months before you get a license.

If you’re under 18, you need to also have a parent or guardian certify that you have driven at least 45 hours, 15 of which happened after sunset.

Having a learner’s permit authorizes you to drive, though you must have a licensed adult in the car with you at all times. Once you’ve held your learner’s permit for the requisite amount of time, you’re ready to apply for a license.


While preparing for a driver’s license, many people want to prepare for the general knowledge tests. The DMV has free PDF files of study materials. Many of these have practice questions and tests so you can evaluate your abilities before going in to take the test. If you take a driver education course, you may receive a free paper copy of the Virginia driver’s manual and other helpful resources.

Obtaining a driver’s license has been an American rite of passage for decades. Whether you’re earning your license as soon as you turn sixteen and three months or are older and have never driven, you can prepare yourself and make getting your license as hassle-free as it possibly can be.

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Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 1 (Signs)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 2 (Signs)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 3 (Rules)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 4 (Rules)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 5 (Rules)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 6 (Rules)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 7 (Rules)
Virginia DMV Practice Test – Quiz 8 (Rules)
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