Virginia uses a graduated license system to promote teens from a learner’s permit to a provisional license before issuing an unrestricted license.
At the age of 15 and a half, a teen can apply for a Virginia learner’s permit. The application must include:
Once the application is approved, the teen can take the vision exam and written test covering state traffic laws to obtain a learner’s permit.
The learner’s permit authorizes the holder to drive from 4 a.m. to midnight only under the supervision of a licensed adult who’s at least 21 years old or an adult family member. The holder can transport only one non-family member under 21 years old.
No learner’s permit holder is allowed to use a cellphone or wireless device while driving. Violation of any restriction is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by three demerit points, up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Until 18 years old, a Virginia driver’s license is considered a provisional license. This provisional license is available to persons who are at least 16 years and three months old and have held a learner’s permit for at least nine months. Applicants must show completion of 45 hours of supervised driving time (including 15 nighttime hours) before taking the driving test. After passing the driving test and showing current school enrolment, the teen will be issued a provisional license.
The provisional license permits the holder to drive unsupervised from 4 a.m. to midnight. The teen may drive after hours only for work, school, or religious activities or if supervised by a licensed adult.
The driver can only carry one passenger under 21 years old for the first year. After the first year, the holder can transport up to three passengers under 21 years old if going to a school function or if supervised by a licensed driver who’s at least 21 years old. This restriction does not apply to family member and cohabitant passengers.
Provisional license holders are prohibited from using cellphones while driving and must maintain school attendance. Ten unexcused absences will result in license suspension.
Violation of these restrictions is a traffic infraction, and for a second offense, will result in up to six months license suspension.
A violation of any traffic offense that warrants demerit points will also require completion of a driver improvement clinic. A second such traffic offense will result in a 90-day suspension. And a third violation will result in license revocation until the teen turns 18 years old.
Upon turning 18 years old, a provisional license holder will have all restrictions removed and is no longer be subject to the minor license restrictions.
Virginia does not technically require motor vehicle insurance. Instead, registration of a motor vehicle requires payment of a $500 uninsured vehicle fee or proof of liability insurance that includes:
Persons who drive a motor vehicle without proof of liability insurance or payment of the uninsured vehicle fee are guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor. A conviction carries a fine of up to $500.