West Virginia Learner's Permit and Driver’s License

GDL requirements

Full Privilege Minimum Age
Learner Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Learner Stage: Minimum Duration (Months)
Intermediate Stage: Minimum Age (Years/Months)
Intermediate Stage: Nighttime Driving Restriction
10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Intermediate Stage: Passenger Restrictions (Except Family, Unless Noted)
first 6 months—no passengers younger than 20; second 6 months–no more than 1 passenger younger than 20

How to Get a West Virginia Driver’s License

West Virginia has a Graduated Driver License program, or GDL, that will give you time to learn how to drive in a controlled way. There are three stages to this program, from no license to full license.

Completing the WV GDL program takes at least a year. You can apply for an instructional permit at 15. Drive for 6 months and complete your supervised hours for your intermediate license. Another 6 months, pass a road test, and when you turn 17 you’ll be eligible for a full WV driver’s license.

The steps below have the details you’ll need to know to get your full, unrestricted West Virginia driver’s license.

Get your West Virginia instructional permit

You can start the process to get your West Virginia driver’s license at 15 years old. To get ready for driving, you can download the WV Driver’s Licensing Handbook and start reading through it. At your local WV DMV location, you’ll need to fill out an application, bring in proof of identity and residency, and pay a fee of $7.50 by debit card or check.

You will also need your Driver Eligibility Certificate from your school and a parent or guardian to fill out and sign a DMV-23 form.

You will also have to pass a written knowledge test as well as a vision screening so bring any required corrective lenses with you.

The written exam consists of 25 questions. You’ll need a score of 76% to pass. If you fail, you can take it again up to two times within 90 days, after which you’ll have to start the process again.

Once you’ve passed, you will be given an official paper which is your West Virginia instructional permit. You’ll need to have that with you every time you’re behind the wheel.

You must have your WV instructional permit for at least 6 months before you can apply for a regular license. During that time, you’ll need to have 50 hours of supervised driving practice with 10 of those being at night. You are only allowed to drive with a licensed driver over the age of 21 and from 5:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.

This is the point it’s a good idea to seek out driving instruction. Though not required in West Virginia, its recommended to help you become the safest driver possible. The right driving education will equip you with the driving skills to keep you safe for a lifetime.

When you’re ready to enroll, find a driving school to get started.

Get your West Virginia intermediate license

Receiving your West Virginia driver’s license requires that you’ve completed certain requirements. You must be 16 years old, have held your learner’s permit for 6 months, and completed your required supervised driving time. Once you have, you’re ready for your road test.

Driving Skills Test: You will be required to pass a driving test with a West Virginia DMV evaluator who will make sure you can perform basic driving tasks safely.

Before you take it, you should check out The Top 10 Automatic Fails on Driver Tests, so you’ll know what not to do on test day.

The application fee for your level 2, WV intermediate license is $7.50 per road test attempt. It will expire when you turn 18.

Your WV intermediate license will be mailed to you and will have your photograph on it. They take your picture the day you pass your driving skills test. This license will allow you to drive alone, but only with up to one passenger younger than 20, unless they are a family member.

As you continue to learn how to operate a motor vehicle in different conditions, there are certain hours when you won’t be able to drive. Those are midnight to 5:00 A.M.

Get your full unrestricted WV driver’s license

At a certain point, the state feels that you’ve been able to receive enough supervised driving experience that you can go out on your own. Therefore, once you reach 17 and have had your level 2 intermediate license for at least 12 months with no violations, you can get your full license.

This means that previous restrictions are lifted. However, you will not receive an updated license until that one expires. After you renew your license, you will receive your full, unrestricted West Virginia driver’s license in the mail.

Whether you’ve just finished your West Virginia graduated licensing process, or are just starting out, you might also want to consider a telematic companion application to better understand your driving habits, and how to improve them.

The best option is the DriverZ Virtual Coach. Download it today to sharpen your S.P.I.D.E.R.Senses™ to build the driving skills that will keep you safe for a lifetime, track your supervised driving hours, and access bespoke driver training based on your specific needs.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some other details which are good to know as you start out on your WV graduated licensing journey.

Can I drive in West Virginia with an out-of-state permit?

The short answer is no. Provisional and intermediate license holders in will have to replace their out-of-state permits with valid, West Virginia permits/licenses. In order to exchange your permit for a WV document you’ll have to meet a few requirements:

  • You have either finished, and have documentation of, the required driving hours for the appropriate West Virginia provisional or intermediate license.
  • You have spent a minimum of 6 months driving with your out-of-state permit or license
  • You have a School Driver Eligibility Certificate from West Virginia, or the equivalent from your home state

When do I need to get car insurance?

If you are driving under the supervision of a licensed driver, as part of the West Virginia Graduated license program, you are not required to have your own auto insurance. When you begin driving on your own, however, you’ll need to get your own insurance.

West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles information

For comprehensive information on everything related to the West Virginia graduated licensing program, visit the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles. You can also call 1-800-642-9066 for more information.

Prepare for your license journey by reviewing the West Virginia Driver’s Licensing Handbook.