Getting Your License
Qualifications for teens to get a District of Columbia license
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle or motorcycle on public roadways in the District of Columbia is required to have a driver license. You may obtain a DC driver license if you:
- Are at least 17 years old (learner permit at age 16);
- Are able to submit proof of full legal name, date of birth, social security number and DC residency;
- Have successfully completed the knowledge test, skills road test and vision screenings;
- Have parental/guardian consent if under age 18;
- Surrender any driver license or identification card previously held;
- Have not had your license suspended, revoked, or denied;
- Comply with medical requirements; and
- Have no outstanding debt to the District of Columbia or unpaid fines for moving traffic violations in other jurisdictions.
Types of licenses for GRAD’s
Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) Program. The GRAD program allows novice drivers (16 – 21 years old) to safely gain driving experience before obtaining full driving privileges. A learner permit allows you to operate a motor vehicle when supervised by another driver who is 21 years or older, has a valid full driver license and is seated next to you in the passenger front seat.
You CANNOT drive alone. You must be accompanied by and under the instruction of a driver who is 21 years or older, has a valid, full driver license, and is seated next to you in the passenger front seat. Driving hours are restricted for learner permit holders. You and your passengers must wear seatbelts at all times. You may not operate a motor vehicle for compensation. You may not operate a commercial vehicle. You may not use a mobile phone or other electronic device (with or without hands free accessories) while driving in the District of Columbia. To obtain a learner permit you must:
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Pass the knowledge test and vision test.
- If you are under the age of 18, you must also have a parental consent form signed by your parent/guardian.
The learner permit is valid for two (2) years and is non-renewable.
During your Provisional License stage you may drive alone. You can drive with one (1) passenger that is the holder of a valid full driver license who is 21 years of age or older, occupying the front passenger seat next to you and wearing a seat belt, and any other passenger who is your sibling or parent. You and your passengers must wear seatbelts at all times and driving hours are restricted for provisional license drivers. You may not use a mobile phone or other electronic device (with or without hands free accessories) while Driving in the District of Columbia. To obtain a provisional license you must:
- Be at least 16 years, 6 months old.
- You must have held a valid learner permit for at least six (6) months and have no pointable violations.
- Provide a signed 40 hours Certification of Eligibility for Provisional License Application form certifying that you have at least 40 hours of driving experience accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years or older and who has a valid, full driver license.
- Take and pass the road skills test.
The provisional license is valid for one (1) year and is renewable. Prior to age 18, you are not allowed to operate a vehicle for compensation.
Full driver license
Once you have held your provisional driver license for at least 6 months you must:
- Have no pointable moving violations for 12 consecutive months;
- Practiced night driving for at least 10 hours, provide a signed Certification of Eligibility for Full Driver License Application certifying that you have at least 10 hours of night driving experience accompanied by a licensed driver who is 21 years or older and who has a valid, full driver license. Once you complete these steps, you may then be issued a full driver license (Class D).
GRAD permissible driving hours
Must be accompanied by a driver 21 years or older
|6:00 am – 9:00 pm|
|Provisional License & Full License Drivers Between the ages of 17 – 18 years old||July – August||Everyday||6:00 am – 11:59 pm|
|September – June||Sunday – Thursday||6:00 am – 10:59 pm|
|Friday & Saturday||6:00 am – 11:59 pm|
You can operate a motor vehicle during GRAD restricted hours if you are driving to or from work, a school-sponsored activity, a religious or an athletic event, training sessions, or any event sponsored by the District of Columbia or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor.
At the age 21, drivers are released from the GRAD program. During the learner permit stage, once you are age 21, you may immediately schedule a road test appointment. No driving certification form or six (6) months holding period is required. During provisional license stage, once you are age 21, you may visit a DMV service center location to obtain a regular driver license. No driving certification form or six (6) months holding period is required.