Virginia Permit and Driver's License FAQ

  • Applying for Your VA License
  • Preparing for the VA Permit Test
  • Taking the VA Permit Test?
  • Preparing for the VA Driving Test
  • Taking the VA Driving Test
  • Renewing Your VA License
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Applying for Your VA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the age requirements for getting started?

Virginia requires first-time teen drivers to progress through its Graduated Driver’s Licensing Program (GDL) which includes the following stages and age requirements:

  • Learner’s Permit – 15 years and 6 months old
  • Restricted Driver’s License – 16 years and 3 months old

What documents am I required to bring with me when applying for a license in Virginia?

  • Form DL 1P – Virginia Driver’s License Application
  • Proof of identity, legal presence and Virginia residency – here are acceptable documents
  • Social Security Number
  • $3 for permit fee and $4 for license fee

Where do I file my VA driver’s license application?

You can apply in person at a local DMV customer service center.

How can I contact my local office?

Visit https://www.dmv.state.va.us/DMVLocator/ for office locations, hours and contact information.

Do I have to take a Driver’s Ed Course?

Yes, all teens younger than 19 years old are required to complete a state-approved driver’s education course before they can receive their license. The course must have 36 periods of classroom instruction; 14 periods of in-car instruction; 7 periods of driving; and 7 periods of in-car observation.

What if I am new to Virginia?

Visit a DMV customer service center to transfer your out-of-state license to a Virginia license. To transfer your license you must be at least 16 years and 3 months old and you must have completed a driver’s ed course with at least 30 classroom hours and 6 hours of actual driving instruction. You will also need to provide proper identification.

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Preparing for the VA Permit Test: Frequently Asked Questions

What subjects are commonly covered on the written test?

The two-part knowledge exam includes questions on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving. All questions are taken from material covered in the Virginia Driver’s Manual. Here are two examples of content from the manual that you could be asked questions about on the written test:

  • You must stop for stopped school buses with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign when you approach from any direction on a highway, private road or school driveway.
  • When two vehicles from different directions arrive at the same time at an intersection with no signs or signals, the driver on the left must allow the driver on the right to go first.

How is the test formatted?

The test is multiple choice.

Are there a lot of “trick” questions on the written test?

There are no trick questions. All questions come from material covered in the driver’s manual and are intended to verify that you possess the knowledge necessary to drive safely.

How many questions are on the test and how many do I need to answer correctly to pass?

There are 10 road sign questions. You must answer all of these questions correctly to proceed to section 2 of the exam which contains 25 questions. You must answer at least 80% of the questions in part 2 correctly to pass.

What are the best ways to prepare for the written test?

Study the driver’s manual thoroughly. You can test your knowledge of the manual content by taking practice tests online.

Where can I get a free Virginia Driver’s Manual to study?

We offer free manuals here at this website.

How can I improve my odds for passing the first time I take the test?

You must memorize the road signs so that you can identify them and decipher their meaning on sight. For the traffic laws and safe driving portion of the test, when studying be sure to pay close attention to numerical data such as measurements, speeds and distances as this information is commonly asked for on the test. Also, be sure to study the alcohol and drugs material so that you understand the negative effects alcohol and drugs can have on driving and the penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence.

What should I do the night before the test?

You should study the manual one more time and take a practice test to ensure you understand the material. If you ace the practice test, be sure to retire early and get a good night’s sleep so that you are at your best the next day.

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Taking the VA Permit Test?: Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to make an appointment to take the written test?

Contact your local DMV customer service center to see if appointments are accepted. If they are, it is recommended that you make one to avoid any unnecessary wait.

Where do I take the written test?

You will take the test at a local DMV customer service center.

What do I need to bring when I sit for the written test?

  • Form DL 1P – Virginia Driver’s License Application
  • Proof of identity, legal presence and Virginia residency – here are acceptable documents
  • Social Security Number
  • $3 for permit fee and $4 for license fee

Who should accompany me to the written test?

You should be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Do I need to pay a fee to take the written test?

Yes, you will need to pay a $3 permit fee and a $4 license fee.

What should I expect when I sit for the written test?

The written knowledge test has two parts – the first part consists of 10 road sign questions and you must answer all 10 questions correctly to proceed to part 2 of the exam. In part 2, you will be given 25 questions on traffic laws and safe driving and you need to answer at least 80% correctly to pass. When taking the test you cannot get help from another person or use your cell phone.

What happens after I pass the written test?

You will receive your Learner’s Permit and can begin supervised driving practice with a supervising driver who is at least 21 years of age seated in the front seat beside you. You need to complete 45 hours of driving practice, with at least 15 of those hours coming at night.

What happens if I fail the written test?

If you are under 18 years old, you must, by law, wait a full 15 days before you can retake the test.

How many times can I retake the written test?

If you fail the knowledge exam three times, you will not be able to take it a fourth time until you complete and pass either the classroom component of driver education or an 8-hour course based on the Virginia Driver’s Manual and approved by DMV exclusively for satisfying the three-times-failure requirement.

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Preparing for the VA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve passed the written permit test, what are the next steps?

You can now begin supervised driving practice. You need to log 45 total hours of practice with at least 15 of those hours coming at night. Your driving practice must be done with a supervising driver who is 21 years old or older.

How long after getting my Learner’s Permit can I apply for a license?

You must hold your Learner’s Permit for at least nine months. You must also be at least 16 years and 3 months old and you must have completed your 45 hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Can I drive anywhere in Virginia with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, as long as you are accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older, you can drive on any Virginia public road or street.

Should I practice driving solely during the day?

No, you are required to complete at least 15 of your 45 supervised driving practice hours at night.

Does anyone have to be in the car with me when I’m driving with my Learner’s Permit?

Yes, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 21 or older who is sitting in the front seat next to you.

What should I do if I have a lost Virginia Learner’s Permit?

Visit a local DMV customer service center with proper identification. You’ll also need to pay a $2 replacement fee.

How can I be sure I’m prepared to ace the driving test?

The best way to prepare to ace the driving test is to get as much behind-the-wheel training as possible. The more comfortable you feel behind the wheel and the more confident you are at performing common vehicle maneuvers, such as parking and three-point turns, the better you will do on the test.

Are there particular driving maneuvers I should practice?

Yes, you should practice three-point turns, right and left turns, parallel parking, parking on a hill, parking in a parking space, making a quick stop and more.

How can I simulate the driving test?

You should practice both common maneuvers, such as parking, turning, stopping and accelerating, as well as driving in traffic. When driving on public roads you will need to practice safe driving, which includes signaling, not following too closely, obeying traffic signs and more.

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Taking the VA Driving Test: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I schedule my driving test?

Contact your local DMV customer service center to schedule an appointment.

Where do I take the driving test?

You will take the test a local DMV customer service center.

What should I bring to the driving test?

  • Driver’s ed certificate of completion
  • Proof of completion of 45 hours of driving practice
  • Form DL 1P – Virginia Driver’s License Application
  • Proof of identity, legal presence and Virginia residency – here are acceptable documents
  • A properly working vehicle
  • Vehicle registration
  • Proof of insurance

Who should bring me to the driving test?

A licensed parent or legal guardian should bring you.

What will I be asked to do on the driving test?

You will be asked to complete a series of vehicle maneuvers, such as stopping, accelerating, turning, parking and more. You will also be asked to drive in traffic where you will need to display good defensive driving skills, which include signaling when turning or changing lanes, not following too closely and obeying road signs.

What are the most common reasons new drivers fail the driving test?

Nerves, failure to follow directions, getting involved in an accident and making too many small mistakes that add up to a failing score are all common reasons for failure.

What are five mistakes I should be sure to avoid when taking the driving test?

  • Going over the speed limit
  • Not signaling for a turn
  • Failing to come to a complete stop
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Following too closely

What happens if I fail the driving test?

You must wait two days to take the test again.

How many times can I retake the test if I failed?

If you fail the road skills test three times, you will not be able to take it a fourth time until you complete and pass the in-vehicle part of driver education at an approved driver training school.

I’ve passed the road test, now what?

You will receive your Virginia Restricted Driver’s License.

What restrictions come with a Virginia license?

  • No driving from midnight to 4 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, traveling to/from school or work or it’s an emergency
  • No more than one passenger under 21 (excluding family members) for first year
  • After first year and until you turn 18 – no more than 3 passengers under 21 (excluding family members)

When you reach 18, all restrictions are removed.

What are the insurance requirements for drivers in VA?

Virginia differs somewhat from other states in its insurance requirements. The state does not require drivers to carry car insurance but those who don’t must pay an uninsured motor vehicle fee. Those drivers who decide to purchase car insurance must get policies that meet or exceed the following minimum requirements:

  • $25,000/$50,000 – bodily injury liability
  • $20,000 – property damage liability
  • $25,000/$50,000 – uninsured/underinsured bodily injury
  • $20,000 – uninsured/underinsured property damage
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Renewing Your VA License: Frequently Asked Questions

What if I need to renew my license or replace a lost/stolen license?

Virginia driver’s licenses expire in eight years. A valid Virginia license can be renewed up to six months before it expires. If your license has been expired for one year or more you will need to take a vision test, knowledge test and driving test.

You can replace a lost or stolen license online or in person at DMV customer service center. You will need to pay a $20 replacement fee.

Where can I renew my Virginia driver’s license?

You can renew your Virginia license online, by mail or in person at a DMV customer service center. You must renew at least every other time in person.

Will I be required to take a vision test when renewing my license?

When renewing in person you are required to take a vision test. Vision standards for an unrestricted license are:

  • 20/40 or better vision in one or both eyes
  • 100 degrees, or better, horizontal vision in one or both eyes

The Virginia DMV Test — What You Need to Know

It’s hard enough having to worry about how you’re going to get from point A to point B.  But when you are stuck at home without the ability to drive it can sometimes feel like a jail sentence.  Getting your Virginia learners permit is the first step towards enjoying the freedom and independence that comes with driving.  But before you get behind the wheel, you will need to pass the mandatory state permit test.

Administered by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the permit test is a multiple-choice test designed to determine if you have the knowledge required to be a safe and courteous driver.  You can expect questions dealing with a wide range of topics, including Virginia’s motor vehicle laws, safe driving practices, signs, signals, and markings.

Prepare to Pass With VA DMV Practice Tests

Do you know how to properly study and prepare for the written test? Would you like to pass the test without having to make a second trip to the DMV office?

We can help.

We bring you all the necessary resources to study and prepare for your Virginia permit test.  Our sample interactive Virginia practice permit tests are a great way to get instant feedback.  The tests are also designed to give you a glimpse of what the real exam is like. You’ll also find the official Virginia Driver’s Manual.  Getting a motorcycle permit?  We have a collection of study aids to help you prepare for that exam as well.

You’ll find that our resources take the guesswork out of preparing for the permit test.