West Virginia Learner’s Permit: Get Your Level 1

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The West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles oversees the state’s graduated licensing program.

The GDL 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.

West Virginia has two segments of its licensing:

  • Level 1 (Permit and Provisional)
  • Level 2 (Adult License)

Teens and new drivers will apply and get a learner’s permit to begin this process. They will meet the state’s requirements before upgrading.

This guide shares how to apply for the permit and includes the restrictions and expected actions before upgrading.

How to Get a West Virginia Learner’s Permit

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 a 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.

Follow these steps to get your WV learner’s permit:

  1. Visit a local DMV office
    1. Need to find one? See our West Virginia DMV directory
  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


If you meet the requirements and went through these steps you’ll be awarded a WV learner’s permit!

Learner’s Permit Driving Restrictions

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.

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.

Log the experience (see form DMV-10-GDL) as you’ll turn this in when upgrading.

Next: Upgrading to a Provisional License

Segment 2, the provisional licensing, 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.

When you’re ready: See our West Virginia Provisional Licensing Guide for the details.