District Of Columbia License: A New Driver’s Guide

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Today you will learn what’s required to get a District of Columbia driver’s license.

To begin, a District of Columbia license is required for anyone wanting to legally drive on state roads and highways. The license application process doesn’t take long if you have the appropriate paperwork and time needed when visiting your local D.C. DMV.

The process in this article assumes you’re an adult applying for a new license or have a provisional license as a teen through the state’s GDL program. If this doesn’t describe you, see our learner’s permit and/or provisional licensing guides to begin the steps through the graduated licensing program.

Ready? Let’s begin.

Getting Your License in Washington, D.C.: Step-by-Step

This guide assumes one of the following:

  • You’re an adult and want to apply for a new license
  • Your old license expired you allowed it to lapse renewal/reinstatement
  • You’re holding a learner or provisional license (going through the GDL)

If one of these describes you, you can apply for a new driver’s license by visiting a District of Columbia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There, you’ll submit the appropriate paperwork, pass your required tests, and pay the appropriate fees to get your D.C. license.

Other requirements when applying include:

  • Being 18 years old or older
  • Held a provisional without convictions

Note #1: You may also be eligible for a reciprocity permit if you are a student, part-time resident, or permitted government officials. Check the D.C. website for more information about this permit type.

Note #2: Out-of-state drivers will complete most steps below minus the written and road test. Once they complete these actions, they will receive a temporary license until the finalized one arrives by mail.

When you’re ready, you will complete these steps to get a District of Columbia license:

  1. Complete the DC Driver License or Identification Card Application (DMRV-4)
  2. Provide proofs:
    1. Identification
    2. C. residency
    3. Social Security number
    4. Name change (if applicable)
  3. Pass your tests:
    1. Vision
    2. Knowledge
  4. Pay the fees:
    1. License: $47 (8 years)
    2. Written test: $10
    3. Road test: $10
  5. Make an appointment for your road test

The written/knowledge test examines your understanding of road rules and signs. You can practice using the state’s license manual. Or, take an online practice test to improve your passing chances.

The road test examines your ability to control the vehicle and adhere to signs and commands.

This may include your ability to change lanes, maneuver the vehicle, park, and more. Check with the local DMV as you may need to request an appointment for your road test. Your vehicle is required to have D.C. auto insurance when taking this test.

You will receive your license if you pass the road test immediately following the test.

Congratulations, You’re a Licensed Driver in District of Columbia

Submitting these documents, taking these steps, and passing the tests will grant you a driver’s license in the District of Columbia. Keep note of your license expiration date as you’ll want to renew a D.C. license as it draws close. Failing to renew on time can result in loss of driving privileges.

The open roads of District of Columbia are now yours to explore. Enjoy yourself and happy travels!