The process for obtaining driver’s licenses is very similar for all Virginia teens, homeschooled or otherwise about which the DMV has extensive information on their website. However, there are a few additional considerations for some homeschooling families.
Teens under age 19 in Virginia may obtain a driver’s license after they have:
- Held a valid learner’s permit for at least 9 months
- Completed both the classroom and the in-car/behind the wheel components of the driver education course
- Completed at least 45 additional driving hours in-car with an adult (if under age 18)
- Passed a road skills test given by a DMV employee or a driver education instructor
The general requirements are the same for all teens, homeschooled or otherwise. However, the bureaucratic procedure for acquiring a license is a little different for homeschooled teens who take parent-taught in-car/behind the wheel instruction.
School-Taught In-Car/Behind the Wheel
If you take the in-car/behind the wheel component through a public school, private school, or driver training school, the road skills test and the awarding of the temporary license is done through the school, which is acting as an agent of the DMV. Teens who have chosen this option do not need to visit the DMV to obtain a driver’s license.
The road skills test will be administered by the instructor at the end of the course. After you pass the test, the instructor will then either give you a Temporary Provisional License (TDL-180) on the spot, or will hold the license for you until you have completed the other licensing requirements as needed. The instructor will also submit all appropriate paperwork to the DMV on your behalf for the permanent license.
The Temporary Provisional License (TDL-180) expires 180 days (6 months) after presentation.
Parent-Taught In-Car/Behind the Wheel
If you take the in-car/behind the wheel component with a parent or guardian, the road skills test and the awarding of the temporary license is done through a DMV customer service center.
A DMV employee will administer the road skills test and collect all required paperwork. This may include the teen’s learner’s permit, the Letter of Authorization for teaching the In-Car/Behind the wheel component and a driving log for the 45 hours.
If you fail the road skills test three times, you are required by law to take and pass the in-car/behind the wheel component of the driver education course before you can take the exam a fourth time. This law applies to all applicants, regardless of age or educational status. For more information, see Home-Schooled Re-examination Requirements (pdf).
Once all appropriate paperwork is collected and the road skills test is passed, the DMV will award the teen with a Virginia Driver Training Certificate (HS-2) (pdf), which will serve as a temporary license until a permanent one can be awarded.
Some homeschooling families report that their local DMV employees are not familiar with the appropriate bureaucratic procedure for obtaining an HS-2 certificate. This is because most Virginia teens do not visit the DMV for a driver’s license or a road skills test. It may be helpful to bring a copy of DMV’s homeschool information sheet (HS-3) (pdf) to the DMV in case this becomes an issue.
The HS-2 certificate expires 90 days (3 months) after presentation.
Certification of 45 Hour Driving Requirement
As part of the licensing paperwork, parents of all teens under age 18 (homeschooled or otherwise) must show their driver’s license and sign a certificate certifying that the teen has driven at least 45 additional hours, 15 of which occurred after sunset, and that the statements made and the information submitted on the TDL-180 or HS-2 form are true and correct. Certifying false statements can result in prosecution.
Student Drivers age 19 or older
Student drivers who are age 19 or older are simply required to either hold a learner’s permit for one month or take an approved driver education course before taking the road skills test and obtaining their permanent license. Again, anyone who fails the road skills test three times is required by law to take and pass the in-car/behind the wheel component of the driver education course before taking the exam a fourth time.
Receiving a Driver’s License/The Licensing Ceremony
All Virginia teens under age 18 (homeschooled or otherwise) receive their permanent driver’s license in a formal ceremony at the local courthouse. The DMV will send the license to the local courthouse for presentation. Families will be notified through the mail as to when to attend the licensing ceremony.
Occasionally the presentation of the formal license is scheduled for a date after the temporary license has expired, thus leaving the new driver with a gap in licensing. If this happens, the parents should contact their local courthouse immediately to remedy the situation.
A parent or guardian may cancel a minor’s driver’s license at any time.
New drivers age 18 or older will receive their permanent license in the mail from DMV.