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Virginia Learners Permit

Virginia Learners Permit

Virginia learner's permit was designed to allow license applicants to practice driving skills in a relatively safe environment. The drivers permit allows supervised driving only and should only be used to prepare for the road skills test.


Virginia learner's permit is part of the whole graduated license system, the system that was crafted in order to reduce the crash rates among teenage drivers. One of the most common risk factors for teen drivers is lack of driving experience and this is where the GDL law comes in. Instead of issuing every license applicant with an unrestricted license right away and letting him lose on the roads, the GDL system divides the licensing procedure into multiple steps, such as the learners permit stage and the driver's license stage. Virginia permit holders are not allowed to drive unless being supervised by another licensed driver at all times, the other driver being there to correct the mistakes and to prevent any potentially dangerous situation. The GDL law also requires every permit holder who is under 19 years of age to complete a state-approved driver's education class before applying for the drivers license.

Applying for Learners Permit

You have to be at least 15 years and 6 months old before you can apply for your Virginia learner's permit. The application procedure itself is no brainer, however, you will need to take the permit exam that will assess your knowledge of the Virginia driving rules. More than a half of all first-time applicants fail the test the first time they take it because they underestimate the level of the questions asked on the test. If you want to be among those who pass the exam the first time, grab yourself a copy of the Virginia drivers manual and use it to learn the rules of the road. Once done with the manual, you can practice by taking some practice questions.

When you show up at the DMV on the application date, be prepared to do the following:

  • present proof of identity
  • present proof of birth date
  • prove Virginia residency
  • fill in the application form
  • pay the permit fee
  • take a vision screening test
  • take the written knowledge exam

Applicants under 19 years of age must have a parent or legal guardian to cosign the learners permit application form.

If you fulfill all the requirements, you will be issued with the Virginia drivers permit right at the office.

Learners Permit Restrictions

The main purpose of having a learners permit is to be able to gain some driving experience while reducing the possible risks to the minimum. This is why the learners permit has a number of limitations and restrictions, the main one being that the permit holder must be accompanied by another licensed driver at all times.

Upgrading to Drivers License

If you are under 19 years of age, you must hold your Virginia learners permit for at least 9 months before taking the road test and obtaining your drivers license. During this period you must complete a drivers education class and fulfill all other graduated license requirements.

Applicants aged 19 and older have to hold the permit only for thirty days. After this period, you can schedule your road test and receive your Virginia drivers license.