How to Get a Virginia Learner’s Permit: Teen Driver’s Guide

Learn to Drive
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Virginia has a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. The program intends to help Virginia teens learn driving basics, easing them into unrestricted driving through multiple milestones. The program begins with a learner’s permit, eventually becoming an adult license as they age and pass requirements.

At age 15, teens can obtain a learner’s permit, which requires passing a written knowledge test and paying the $3 fee. With this permit, they can practice supervised driving until age 16. Teens must have a parent or legal guardian present to sign their application at any Virginia DMV office.

This guide shares:

  • The Virginia learner’s permit requirements
  • Overviews of the Written and road skills test
  • Steps, paperwork, and payments to get the permit

Teens should know they must have written consent from a parent or guardian while going through the licensing program if under 18. The permit requirements are rather relaxed compared to other states. This means you should be able to get your learner’s permit relatively quickly if you have the necessary items before going to the DMV.

What are the Virginia driver’s license requirements (under 18) in VA’s GDL program? What are the steps to getting the permit? Let’s find out in this guide.

Get a Virginia Learner’s Permit: Step-by-Step

When pursuing their VA learner’s permit, teens will visit the DMV (click to find one).

Teens can apply for their permit when they turn 15 years and 6 months. Under 18 can apply with written consent and go through the same GPL program. Driver’s education is not required in Virginia.


A driver’s ed course is needed for an intermediate/provisional license so it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and take one when you’re beginning. The course can help ace your written/road test.

You may take a driver’s education course at:

  • Local accredited schools
  • Online accredited classes

The classes include instructional and hands-on experience with driving.

Ready to apply for your permit?

The Virginia learner’s permit requirements:

  • Be at least 15 years and 6 months old
  • Have proof of ID and legal residence

Gather and prepare these documents beforehand, making your trip to the DMV quick and easy.

What You’ll Do at the DMV

Bring all the following:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of residency

At the DMV, teens will need to:

  1. Show your documents
  2. Pay the DMV application fee
  3. Pass the written exam
  4. Take a vision test
  5. Receive the learner’s permit

Teen drivers will pay a $3 learner’s permit application fee and $4 license fee.

Congratulations! You’ve got a learner’s permit in Virginia!

About Virginia Learner’s Permit Driver’s Education Program

It’s recommended you explore taking a driver’s education course to prepare for your written and eventual driving test as you graduate through the program.

Driver’s ed provides a wealth of knowledge and understanding of driving rules & laws. Remember, you’ll need one eventually anyway – so consider taking one sooner than later to get a good “jump” on your driving skills.

About the Virginia Learner’s Permit Practice and Written Test

The state of Virginia requires you do a written test when applying.

This test is multiple choice, challenging your ability to recognize road signs and rules-of-the-road. We recommend a practice test to improve your passing chances since there is a 15-day wait time between retakes (and $2 fee for those 18+).

10 — That’s the number of questions on the permit test in VA for phase 1.

You must pass all traffic sign questions before moving onto the second part (the general knowledge). You’ll need to pass with at least 80% or higher on the second half of the written test.

Getting Behind-the-Wheel Experience

Teens are permitted to drive with an approved (21yo+) licensed driver, parent, or guardian. This experience should take place during the 9-month gap between permit and intermediate license.

Respect your restrictions:

  • Always wear seatbelts
  • No mobile phone use when driving
  • Don’t drink and drive!

Failing to show driving responsibility may forfeit your ability to get a license.

You will submit a driving log when applying for a provisional license. The log counts 45-hours of total behind-the-wheel experience (15-hours at night). Be sure to keep a log whenever you can!

Getting Your Provisional Driver’s License

First-time drivers having held and practiced for 9 months may apply for their intermedia license. This provisional gives more freedom on the road. Of course, this is given the teen continues respecting driving laws and restrictions.

Ready for the next step? Click to go to our Virginia Provisional (Teen) License Guide.


Congratulations on beginning your journey toward getting your Virginia Learner’s Permit! We hope that this guide has helped equip you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle each of the steps necessary for obtaining the permit. No matter how daunting the process may seem, following through could be one of the biggest accomplishments in your life.