The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle (Virginia DMV) is responsible for issuing driving learner's permits, driver's licenses, vehicle registration and titles, ID services, license plates and more. While the Virginia DMV's website provides a number of online services, they appear to have very few oriented towards those looking for a driver's license. You cannot schedule an appointment online but you can find the location of your nearest office to apply.
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New Virginia Drivers License
Who Needs a License?
Anyone over the age of 16 and 3 months old may apply to enjoy the privilege of operating a motor vehicle. A driver’s license can be used for many activities such as work opportunities, daily living transportation and even for fun.
Which License is for you?
For each type of driving activity, you must receive the correct license that teaches you to operate each vehicle safely and gives you legal permission to drive. Such licenses can be obtained through the DMV including:
- A Regular Drivers license is required to operate a personal vehicle on roadways. This will first require a learner’s permit for all new drivers- international or enhanced licenses are also available for his type.
- Drivers may obtain a CDL License- this allows you to operate a commercial type vehicle for the use of work. However operators may only hold either a drivers license or CDL.
- A Bus Drivers License is a special type specifically for this wishing to operate a bus for a living that will carry passengers.
- Drivers may enjoy operating a motorcycle by obtaining a motorcycle license. A permit will first need to be obtained for this license.
What are the Requirements for getting a License?
Each type of license will require specific documentation to be issued a license and an approved list can be found online at the DMV website in an interactive menu, online pamphlet or within the Drivers handbook. All documents must be originals. The documentation you will need for application will depend on your age at the time you apply:
- For minors under the age of 19- you will need to provide the clerk with one proof of identity, one proof of citizenship and one document showing you’re a legal resident of the state. You will also need your social security card or an approved equivalent proving a valid number if a US citizen.
- In addition, minors under 19 must provide the following- proof of successful complete of an approved drivers education course, a valid learners permit held for at least 9 months, and proof that the new driver has fulfilled driving practice requirements signed by a parent or guardian.
- A parent or guardian must sign the driving log and supply a valid license number to certify the training has been completed. The parent must also sign the application.
- Adults 19 and older must provide- two proofs of identity, one proof of citizenship and one proof showing you’re a legal resident of the state. You must also show proof of a valid social security card or a document from the approved list showing your valid number if you have a social security number.
- Adult new drivers must hold a valid permit for at least 60 days before applying for a license.
- All new drivers of any age category will be subjected to vision testing, two-section written test and in some cases a drivers test. All minor drivers under 18 will take the written road test.
- You will be expected to supply payment at the time of application for licensing fees based on the expiration of your new license.
- Those not issued a social security card will need to provide proof of legal presence with an approved document.
What Tests do I need to get a License?
- You will be administered a vision screening to test for proper vision expectations.
- A two part written test is administered by the DMV office, you must pass the first portion concerning road signs with a 100% and the second general knowledge portion with at least an 80%.
- A road test is given to all new drivers as the final portion of testing and is also done at the DMV. A licensed examiner will test your abilities on roadways using a vehicle you provide.
Taking a Drivers Education Course
New drivers under the age of 19 are required to complete an approved driver’s education course as part of licensing. Proof will be required to take the road test. If an adult driver over 19 fails either portion of testing more than the maximum times, they must also complete driver’s education to continue.
Preparing for the Written Test
Be sure to prepare fully before taking the written test as the state has high standards for passing. The first portion containing commonly found road signs requires all ten questions are answered correctly to continue and the second common knowledge portion must be completed at least 80% correctly.
Use your cheat sheets specific to the state and make signs and signals a primary focus of study. Take as many practice tests as possible involving these signs to assure you are prepared to answer the questions correctly. Cheat sheets and practice tests also contains all of the general information you will need to pass the second portion of testing. Information will also be found in your Drivers Handbook and through articles www.dmvcheatsheets.com online.
What to Bring on Test Day
On test day, depending on your age you will need one or more documents including:
- Proof of identity- two for drivers over 19 and one for minors.
- Proof of citizenship- one document.
- Proof of residency- one document.
- A social security or proof of a valid number if a US citizen, or proof of legal presence.
- Minors need to bring proof of completion of driver’s education, and a completed drivers log signed by a parent or supervising driver.
- All new drivers must bring a completed and signed application, minors require a parent signature, and a valid learners permit.
Costs of a Drivers Test
The cost of testing is included in your first license fee which will be paid at the time of testing. This is a standard $4 per year fee and most licenses are good for eight years. However minors may pay less if they reach their 20th birthday before the eight year time period is up.
Taking the Written Test
The written test is divided into two parts and will be administered one part at a time. The first portion of testing will contain ten road signs questions all of which must be answered correctly in order to move on to the next part. The second portion of testing will consist of knowledge questions concerning traffic laws, safety and other general driving information. Applicants must score an 80% on this portion in order to pass and must wait 15 days before a retake if you fail. Drivers of any age that fail more than three times will be required to take classroom drivers education in order to retake, including adults over age 19. It is important to study to assure you do not have to retake as it will cost you valuable time and for adults an additional fee of $2 per retake if you fail.
Study all of the materials available to you in order to pass which include your Drivers Handbook. In addition, cheat sheets and practice tests: www.dmvcheatsheets.com/exams/virginia-drivers-license-written-test/products/virginia-dmv-cheat-sheet-online-practice-test-bundle available at Dmvcheatsheets.com contains everything you need to guarantee a passing score on the first try. Pay special attention to the road signs list in cheat sheets and the practice tests concerning them to pass the first portion of testing with a 100%.
Taking the Driving Test
The road skills test is required for all new drivers who have never held a license and must be done using your own vehicle. The vehicle you use must have a safety inspection prior to testing and have the safety sticker displayed where the examiner can see. In addition you must provide proof of insurance and registration at the time of testing. One of two documents must be presented at the time of testing:
- A certification of completion for an approved drivers education course or
- The completed behind the wheel checklist signed by the licensed supervising driver over age 21. The checklist includes all of the diving maneuvers covered during test and the signature certifies that you have practiced each aspect.
- Minors under 19 are required to take drivers education and this test can be administered at the end of the course saving time and money.
The road skills test is given at the DMV office during business hours by a licensed examining staff member as part of the application process. If you fail the test, you must wait two days to retake. More than three fails and you must complete or repeat a driver education course before attempting the exam again. Be sure to practice as must as possible with a supervisor in order to pass this test and be sure you fully understand all traffic laws.
Renewing your Virginia Drivers License
Who needs to renew their license?
Anyone with a valid license must renew their license by expiration in order to continue using their license on roadways legally. The date of renewal will depend on your age. A standard license will need to be renewed every 8 years. For those under the age of 18 your license will expire on your 20th birthday.
h2. How do I renew my Virginia License?
Your license must be renewed in person once every 8 years and can be done by other methods every other application time. This means you may alternate between in-person and the other options every other renewal date. Other methods include renewal by mail, by touch tone phone and online. Your renewal notice will inform you of which methods are available.
What tests do I need to take to renew?
- If under the age of 20 at the time of renewal or if you have received even one traffic violation, you must retake part two of the written test to renew.
- Every other renewal must be done in person and you will need to retake the vision exam at this time.
What is the cost to renew my license?
Cost of renewal depends on your license renewal time. The fee is $4 per year and the standard license expires every eight years. However in the case of some age groups such as those under the age of 20, your license will expire on your 21rst birthday so fees may be different. If you chose to renew in person on the year that other options are available you will be charged an additional $5 fee for applying in person.
Steps to renew your license
If your license has expired even one day at the time of renewal in person, you must present proof of legal presence at the time of renewal. In person renewals will include:
- Visit your DMV office and submit an application along with proof of identity, usually in the form of your current license.
- Take a new photograph and the vision screening.
- If required you must complete part two of the knowledge test and pass with an 80%
- Pay the required renewal fees.
Getting a Virginia Learners Permit
Who needs a learners permit?
All new drivers of any age require a learner’s permit as part of the licensing process and new drivers may begin the process at age 16 and 3 months.
Requirements for getting a learners permit
- Minors age 19 and under- must bring one document proving residency, one proof of identity, a social security card or proof of a valid number and one proof of citizenship.
- Adults ages 19 and over- must bring two forms of identification, one proof of residency, one proof of a social security number and one proof of citizenship.
- Minors will also need parental permission to obtain a learners permit in the form of a signature on the learners permit application.
- Drivers must pass a vision screening and two-part knowledge test in order to continue.
All new drivers must also pay the combination learners permit/drivers license fee which will be $3 per year for the learners permit plus the $4 per year license fee. This can be paid with check/money order, cash, e-check, credit or check card.
Driving with a VA learners permit
New drivers may only drive with a licensed driver over the age of 21 in the front passenger’s seat at all times, unless the supervising driver is a sibling or legal guardian at which point they may be 18 or older with a valid license. Drivers must complete the required time for minors that includes 45 minutes on the road in practice with 15 being completed at night. If over 19 and not attending driver’s education you must hold the permit for practice for at least 60 days.
Be sure to download and make use of a driver’s checklist which will provide you with all of the items you will be tested on during the road test portion of testing. In addition, read up on some articles for safe driving and tips on passing your road test.
Cost of a learners permit
A learner’s permit/license fee will be due of $3 plus the yearly cost of a license which is $4 per year. The amount will depend on how many years until reaching their 20th birthday.
Steps to getting a Virginia learners permit
To receive a learner’s permit www.dmvcheatsheets.com you must apply in person at a "DMV office and complete the following steps:
- Complete and sign an application- minors must have parents sign as well.
- Turn in the application along with required proofs of identity, citizenship, and residency and provide a valid social security number.
- Take a vision screen and photograph.
- Take the ten question signs test and answer all correctly, and then complete the general portion with an 80% score to pass.
- Pay the required fees of $3 plus $4 a year license fee.