Driver’s License Examination
A driving test, vision test (20/40 visual acuity required), and written knowledge test are required for an initial Driver’s license.
Drivers previously licensed to drive in another jurisdiction may skip the driving test unless they have failed the District’s driving test within 6 months or are at least 75 years of age.
Applicants at least 75 years of age are limited to 3 examinations within a year.
Applicants for a learner’s permit must pass the vision and written tests.
An applicant must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40 in 1 eye, and no worse than 20/70 in the other eye, with or without corrective lenses.
To comply with emissions standards, failing vehicle owners must make at least $951 in repairs before receiving a waiver from emission inspection for 2 years.
Graduated Driver's Licensing
The District has a system of graduated licensing for novice drivers.
At age 16, individuals are eligible for a learner’s permit. During this stage, drivers must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
- In this stage, individuals may not drive between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and must accumulate at least 50 hours (10 at night) of supervised driving that is certified by a parent or guardian.
After holding the learner’s permit for 6 months, drivers are eligible for an intermediate license.
- For the first 6 months, intermediate license holders may not carry any passengers (except drivers 21 and older and family members). Thereafter, drivers may transport no more than 2 passengers under 21 (except family members).
- Intermediate license holders may not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. From September to June, they may not drive between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights.
At age 18, drivers are eligible for an unrestricted license. In the District, all license applicants must hold a learner’s permit for 6 months, regardless of age.
Driver's License Issuance/Application
Each application shall include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, sex, social security number, address, and brief physical description of the applicant.
Applicants for a learner’s permit or driver’s license must display a birth certificate and social security card or other documentary evidence of the date of birth and social security number of the applicant, but an applicant for a renewal license or an applicant with a valid out-of-state license need only show a social security card.
Applicants under the age of 18 must have consent from a parent or guardian.
Each license shall include the licensee’s full name, address, social security number, date of birth, physical description, expiration date, a distinguishing number assigned to the licensee, and a signature of the licensee.
Each license will also contain an imprinted photograph of the licensee, with a profile of the licensee if under 21 years of age, and a frontal photograph if the licensee is 21 years of age.
Driver's License Renewal
Driver’s licenses shall expire on the licensee’s birth date occurring in the 8th year of the license term.
Any subsequent renewals may be renewed for up to an 8-year period ending on the licensee’s birth date.
For every other renewal, an applicant may renew online or by mail if the license holder already holds a DC DMV REAL ID and so long as he or she certifies that he or she meets the visual requirements, and that there has been no change in his or her physical condition.
Licensees who have reached the age of 70 have the following renewal requirements: at age 70 or the nearest renewal date thereafter, the applicant shall complete the eye test and may be required to pass the reaction test, and must show a physician’s certification that the applicant is physically and mentally competent to operate a motor vehicle.
Each person applying for a renewal must pass a vision test.
Types of Driver’s Licenses
- Group A: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 lbs.; where the GVWR of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 lbs., or is a semitrailer or trailer with 2 or more axles.
- Group B: Any single vehicle with a GVWR greater than 26,000 lbs. and any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
- Group C: Any vehicle that is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) or is used in the transportation of materials classified as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
- Class D: All non-commercial motor vehicles, except those in Class M.
- Class M: Motorcycles.
- Class N: Mopeds and motor-driven cycles.