Obtaining a Driver's License

The process for obtaining driver’s licenses is very similar for all Virginia teens, homeschooled or otherwise; the DMV has extensive information on their website. However, there are a few additional considerations for some homeschooling families.

Virginia teens under the age of 18 may obtain a driver’s license after they have:

These 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.

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.

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 the 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 to take and pass the in-car/behind-the-wheel component from a Virginia approved driving training school 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 the 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 to prevent this from becoming an issue.

The HS-2 certificate expires 90 days (3 months) after presentation.

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.

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; the teen must appear with a parent/guardian.

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.

Teens who turn 18 years old after receiving a temporary license, but before the licensing ceremony, may appear at the courthouse without their parent or guardian.

A parent or guardian may cancel a minor’s driver’s license at any time.

Virginia teens who are 18 years old or older have two options to obtain their license:
  • Hold their learner’s permit for 60 days; complete a behind-the-wheel checklist with the help of an adult, licensed driver; and pass the DMV road skills test
  • Complete a state-approved driver education program, which waives the 60-day learner’s permit and DMV road skills test requirements

New drivers aged 18 or older will receive their permanent license in the mail from the DMV.

This information is provided as a courtesy of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. It is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, contact a licensed attorney.

VaHomeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.