How to Get Your West Virginia Driver’s License

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The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles oversees the state’s graduated licensing program. This program helps first-time drivers learn driving basics through testing, behind-the-wheel practice, and real-world experience under the supervision of a licensed adult until they turn 17 years old.

West Virginia’s GDL has two segments (Level 1 and Level 2).

This guide shares the entire process of getting a permit to an unrestricted license. It also covers how you can apply for a license as an adult or if you’ve recently moved to the state.

You will visit a West Virginia DMV throughout each of licensing applications.

Getting a Driving Permit in West Virginia

West Virginia’s GDL program becomes available to teens turn 15 years old. The first step in this process is getting a Level 1 learner’s permit. The requirement to apply for this permit includes the age restriction and passing the written test.

A driver’s education course is not a requirement in getting a learner’s permit. Yet, these courses can increase your chance of passing. Plus, courses provide helpful behind-the-wheel experience which eliminates the required hours when upgrading the permit.

Teens new to the state can transfer their GDL experience by providing their driving record. Then, follow the permit application as detailed below.

Applying for the Learners Permit (Level 1)

  1. Visit a local DMV office
  2. File a completed Application for Driver’s License or ID Card (DMV-DS-23P)
  3. Provide a Driver’s Eligibility certificate
    1. The certificate notes you’re attending school – issued by the county school board
  4. Show proof of ID, residency, and SSN
    1. ID examples: Birth certificate or passport
    2. Residency (2 forms) examples: Paycheck or bank statement
    3. SSN example: SS card or W-2 form
    4. Proof of name change if applicable
  5. Gather your documents
  6. Take the written test
  7. Pass a vision exam
  8. Pay the $7.50 permit fee
    1. Or: $10 for a REAL ID

Teens will get their level 1 permit, granting privilege to drive with a licensed parent/guardian or licensed adult (21+).  Teens can only drive between 5 AM and 10 PM and only up to 2 passengers (non-family members) in the car at any time. Drivers should practice all safe driving rules and regulations.

About the Written Test

The written test examines your ability to identify road signs, rules, and driving obligations. You’ll take this test after applying for your permit but before receiving it. You can improve your chance of passing by reading your driver’s handbook or using online practice tests or course.

Behind-the-Wheel Requirements

West Virginia expects you to complete extra driving experience before applying for a Level 2 permit:

  • 50 hours of supervised driving
  • 10 hours of night driving (part of the 50-hours)

A parent/guardian will confirm these hours and log the experience (see form DMV-10-GDL).

Getting a Provisional (Segment 2) Driver’s License

The provisional (Segment 2) license becomes available when teens turn 16 years old and meet the standard requirements as part of the GDL program. Those showing good driving can eventually upgrade to their full, unrestricted license once they pass requirements.

Teens new to the state will have 30 days to transfer their out-of-state license. Else, they will apply for their provisional license at a DMV by providing their license or driving record – following the same steps. If the license doesn’t meet requirements, the teen may need to take the vision, written, and driving test.

A provisional license becomes available after holding a learner’s permit for 6 months and have completed the 50-hours of behind-the-wheel experience. The teen should also have no traffic violations at least 6 months before applying.

The steps when upgrading includes:

  1. Go to the DMV
  2. Submit your 50-Hour driving log (Form DMV-10-GDL)
  3. Pass your driving test
    1. Note: You must schedule this test before going
  4. Surrender your learner’s permit
  5. Provide proof of school enrollment
  6. Pay the $7.50 licensing fee

Your intermediate license restrictions include:

  • Unsupervised driving between 5 AM and 10 PM
  • Supervised driving between 10 PM and 5 AM except for work, school, emergency, religious activity
  • No passengers under 20 years old (that aren’t family members) for the first 6 months
  • No more than 1 passenger under 20 years old (that aren’t family) for the first 6 months
  • Practice all safe driving rules (e.g. no texting, must wear seatbelts, etc.)

Teens will hold their Level 2 license for 1 year before upgrading to the full (adult) license. The full license is available if the teen is 17 years old or older and has no traffic violations for at least 1 year.

Getting an Unrestricted (Adult) License in West Virginia

Teens graduating through the GDL program can upgrade their Segment 2 (Level 2) provisional license into an unrestricted license once they’ve passed requirements:

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Hold a provisional license for 1 year
  • Have no traffic violations for 1 year
  • Pay the registration fees ($5/yr. + $0.50 motor voter fee)

Anyone 18 and older and has never applied for a license will need an instructional permit before they can continue. Then, they will apply for their unrestricted license after passing the requirements.

The steps required to get an unrestricted West Virginia license includes:

  1. Visit a West Virginia DMV office
  2. Apply for the temporary instruction permit
    1. Submit the DMV-DS-23P form
    2. Provide proof of ID, SSN, and residency
    3. Take and pass the vision and written exams
    4. Pay the $7.50 permit fee
  3. Hold the temporary permit for 30 days
    1. Practice driving (while supervised by a licensed, 21+/yo driver)
  4. Apply for the standard driver’s license
    1. Provide proof of ID
    2. Turn in the temporary permit
    3. Turn in the certificate of passing your road test
    4. Pay the licensing fee

Drivers may choose to upgrade their license into the enhanced version by providing extra information showing your SSN, U.S. citizenship, identity, and residency.

And like that… you have an adult license!

Congratulations! You Got a West Virginia Drivers License!

You’ve completed your journey in getting a West Virginia driver’s license. Your unrestricted license is good for a typical 5-year period (the state’s “Drive for Five”). The timing and price vary depending on when you’re applying – check the scheduling and licensing fees if you choose this option.

What’s next? Consider registering a vehicle in your name.

You’ll want auto insurance during the registration and throughout your time on the road. Check with local insurance providers or use our WV insurance guides for full details!