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DMV - New driver license in Washington DC

Application for a driver’s license in Washington, D.C.



Obtain a Learner's Permit

You must obtain a learner's permit before getting a DC driver's license if you do not hold a valid license from another jurisdiction. A learner's permit is valid for one year for US citizens and may vary for non-US citizens (according to the US immigration expiration date). You may obtain a copy of the Driver Manual* and Motorcycle Operator's Manual* online, at a DMV Service Location, or by calling 311 or (202) 737-4404.

Drivers obtaining a learner's permit, who are under the age of 21 are automatically enrolled in the GRAD Program.



  • You have Proof of Name and Date of Birth to verify at least 16 years of age
  • You have Proof of DC Residency
  • You must be clear of all outstanding debts to the District of Columbia
  • Proof of Parental Approval (if applicant is 16 or 17 years old)
  • Document Requirements for Obtaining a DC Driver's License


Service Locations

To obtain a learner's permit, you may visit any service location except the Adjudication Services and Inspection Station.



  • Complete the Driver's License Application*
  • Provide the required documents
  • Take and pass a knowledge test (Sample Knowledge Test online)
  • Take and pass the vision test
  • Take a photograph (DC law and policy requires a full frontal digital photo that shows either the hairline or the ears)
  • Pay the appropriate fees
  • Obtain your learner's permit
  • Duplicate Learner's Permit

If your learner's permit has been damaged, lost or stolen, you can obtain a duplicate learner's permit. The DMV makes learner's permit replacement convenient by offering replacement services online or at a DMV service location.



If you are replacing a learner's permit at a DMV service location, you must bring the following documents with you and be prepared to pay the applicable fees.

  • Completed Driver's License/Voter Registration Application*
  • Proof of Identity
  • Proof of Social Security Number
  • Proof of Current Residency (If Changed)
  • We regret that we cannot accept photocopies or scanned documents.


Knowledge Test

Driver and Motorcycle Learner's Permit

The knowledge exam (Learner's Permit Test) tests your knowledge of traffic laws, road signs, and driving safety rules. It determines whether you are prepared to operate a vehicle in accordance with DC law. The exam is offered on a walk-in basis at DMV service locations, and available in English, Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean and Vietnamese. Telephone assisted exams are also provided for those who need help with their reading.

You may download a copy of the Driver Manual* and Motorcycle Operator's Manual* online, or obtain a copy by visiting any DMV service location, or by calling DMV Customer Service at 311 or (202) 737-4404 to have one mailed to you.


Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

An individual seeking to obtain a CDL must already have a regular driver's license prior to taking the CDL knowledge test. In order to receive a CDL, each applicant is required to take the appropriate CDL Knowledge tests for the CDL Class and/or endorsements they are applying for. CDL knowledge tests are offered on a walk-in basis at our Brentwood or Southwest Service Centers and are available in English only. Upon successful completion of the knowledge test(s), a CDL learner's permit will be issued in conjunction with your regular

driver's license. The CDL learner's permit is valid up to one year and is non-renewable. Endorsements H (Hazardous Material), T (Tankers) S (School Bus) and X (Hazardous Material and Tankers) will not be displayed on the CDL learner's permit.

You may visit the DMV service location page to obtain information on service hours or the CDL office located at 1205 Brentwood Road, NE. to obtain a copy of the DC CDL Manual*. You may also download a DC CDL Manual* online.

Note: If you fail the knowledge test 3 times within a 12 month period, you will not be allowed to take the 4th test until 12 months after the 1st failed test. Therefore, please ensure you have studied the driver, motorcycle or CDL manual prior to taking the written test. Testing Time limits: NCDL – 40 minutes, GRAD – 50 minutes, Motorcycles – 40 minutes, CDL General Knowledge – 1 hour, CDL Endorsements – 40 minutes. Exceeding these time limits will result in a test failure.


Source: DMV



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