To get a DC DMV Limited Purpose learner permit you must be at least 16 years old, you must have lived in the District for at least 6 months, and you will have to take and pass a knowledge test and meet eligibility requirements. In addition, you may not have or be eligible for a Social Security number. A DC DMV learner permit entitles you to drive between the hours of 6:00 am and 9:00 pm.
Effective March 27, 2017, a limited purpose learner permit will be valid for 2 years and will be non-renewable. If you possess a DC limited purpose learner permit, prior to March 27, 2017, it will not be renewable and you will be required to retake the knowledge test to obtain a new limited purpose learner permit.
In general, the steps to getting a DC DMV Limited Purpose learner permit are listed below. Remember to study in advance for your knowledge test; you will have to wait 3 calendar days, and return to the service center on the fourth day, to retake the test if you do not pass:
The first step in obtaining a Limited Purpose learner permit is to print and fill out the driver license or identification card application form you can find at the link below:
DC DMV no longer requires an appointment to visit one of its service centers to obtain a Limited Purpose learner permit. DC DMV will accept walk-ins Wednesday through Saturday at any DC DMV service center. Tuesdays will remain by appointment only for those seeking to obtain a Limited Purpose credential. An appointment is required by everyone to take the road skills test, and walk-ins are not accepted.
A list of DC DMV service centers is available at the link below:
Bring your completed application form and the rest of the required documentation to your appointment.
You must bring documents that prove you are eligible for a Limited Purpose learner permit. The documents required are listed below, and DC DMV will not accept any documents that are not listed:
You will need:
- Proof of identity and age. You must be at least 16 years old. The list of documents that DC DMV accepts as proof of identify is available at the link below:
- Limited Purpose Proof of Identity—Full Legal Name and Date of Birth
- Two documents that prove you reside in the District. The list of documents that prove DC residency is available at the link below:
- Proof of Current District of Columbia Residency
- Two documents that prove you have resided in the District for six months. The list of documents that prove you have residency that meets the Limited Purpose criteria is available at the link below:
- Limited Purpose Credential Proof of 6-Month DC Residency
- Proof of your Social Security ineligibility. Information on the Social Security ineligibility form is available at the link below:
- Limited Purpose Credential Social Security Ineligibility
- Proof of parental approval, if you are 16 or 17 years old. The parental consent form is available at the link below:
- Parental Consent Form to Obtain a Learner Permit
Note: You may not get a DC DMV Limited Purpose learner permit if you have outstanding debts to the District or unpaid fines for traffic violations in other jurisdictions.
Driver Education Program
District residents who have never had a driver license are encouraged to take driver education prior to their road test appointment. Information about the driver education program is available at the link below:
At the DC DMV service center, when you have provided your application form and other documents, you must take and pass a vision screening test to be issued a driver license. Information on the screening is available at the link below:
At the DC DMV Service Center, when you have provided your application form and other documents, you must take and pass a knowledge test. Information on the test is available at the link below:
When you have passed your knowledge test, you will have your picture taken for your DC DMV Limited Purpose learner permit. District law and policy requires a full frontal digital photo that will show either the ears, or up to the hairline without showing the hair.
Once your photo has been taken, you will pay the appropriate fee for your permit. Information on DC DMV driver license and permit fees is available at the link below:
DC DMV will issue you a temporary, paper DC DMV learner permit after you’ve completed the process and paid the fees. This temporary ID will be valid for 45 days; your actual permit will be mailed to you within 10 business days. DC DMV does not mail licenses to PO boxes.
To check the mailing status of your permit, you can go to the system at the link below:
Note: Drivers under the age of 21 who are obtaining a learner permit are automatically enrolled in the GRAD Program. More information on the GRAD License Program is available at the link below: