August 11th, 2023
Virginia Driving Privilege Card
Author: Nindiya G. Ramchandani
The Driving Privilege Card (DPC) in Virginia is a special type of identification issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that grants legal permission to drive for non-U.S. citizens who are residents of Virginia, regardless of their citizenship or visa status. It was introduced in January 2021 to provide a way for undocumented immigrants to drive legally within the state. The DPC is similar to a regular driver’s license but is not considered a “Real ID” and cannot be used for boarding flights or entering federal buildings.
Who Can Get a Driver Privilege Card?
You may be eligible to obtain a driver privilege card if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a non-US citizen who is a resident of Virginia
- You have reported income from Virginia sources or are claimed as a dependent on a tax return filed in Virginia in the past 12 months
- Your driving privilege is not currently suspended or revoked in Virginia or any other state, and you do not have any insurance-related infractions
- You are 16 years and three months or older
How To Get a Driver Privilege Card
The process to obtain a DPC is similar to getting a standard driver’s license and involves the following steps:
If You Have Held a License:
If you have ever held a driver’s license or a driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory or foreign country and can provide acceptable proof (driver’s license, driving record or court/insurance documentation showing you’ve held a license), you may be able to exchange that license for a driver privilege card. Residency proof is also required. See the residency documents listed on Obtaining a Driver Privilege Card or Identification Privilege Card.If You Have Never Held a License:
If you are under age 18 and have never held a driver’s license or a driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory, foreign country, or cannot show proof you previously held one, you must show proof you have:
- Completed a state-approved driver education program
- Held a learner’s permit for nine months
- Passed the knowledge exam
If you are age 18 or older and have never held a driver’s license or driver privilege card issued by Virginia, another U.S. state, jurisdiction, territory, foreign country or cannot show proof you previously held one, you must show proof you have either:
- Completed a state-approved driver education program, or
- Passed the knowledge exam and held a learner’s permit for at least 60 days before passing the DMV road skills test
Where do I take the knowledge exam?
The two-part knowledge exam can be taken at any DMV customer service center or in classrooms at participating high schools. It is available in several languages.
Can I use a translator?
Translators may be used for the two-part knowledge exam administered at a DMV customer service center if:
- DMV does not offer the examination in your primary language, and
- You cannot complete and comprehend the examination without the use of a translator
Translators may also be used for the road skills test if you cannot complete and understand the test without the use of a translator.
DMV does not provide translator or interpreter services. Should you need a translator, you must provide one. All translators are required to provide a photo identification document listed on the DMV 141.
Application and Documents
All driver privilege card applicants must complete the Driver and Identification Privilege Card Application. You can complete it before or during your appointment at DMV.
When filling it out, remember:
- Use your full legal name. Abbreviations and nicknames will not be accepted.
- If you are under age 18, your parent or legal guardian must provide written consent by signing your application. A court order showing you are an emancipated minor is acceptable in place of written consent.
Along with your application form, you must present all the following documents to prove your eligibility:
- Two proofs of identity
- Two proofs of Virginia residency
- Proof of your Social Security number (if you have been issued one) or your individual taxpayer identification number
- Tax return documentation
To determine which documents are acceptable, see the Document Guide.
Helpful Document Tips
- Documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation by a professional translator.
- Your proof of reported income and deductions from Virginia sources will be verified electronically with the Virginia Department of Taxation before your driver privilege card is issued. Visit tax.virginia.gov for Virginia income tax return filing information.
- All documents must be originals and will be subject to verification; however, print-outs of online residency documents listed on Obtaining a Driver Privilege Card or Identification Privilege Card are acceptable as proof of residency. See the Document Guide.
- Temporary documents and photocopies of documents will not be accepted. DMV will not accept a document as proof of identity, legal presence, residency or Social Security number when there is reason to believe it is not legitimate.
- Documents accepted by DMV as proof of identity, Virginia residency, and Social Security number may change without prior notice. DMV may also require additional documents. If you have official documentation not yet listed that you believe meets DMV requirements, please present it to your local DMV office for review.
- Upon issuance of a driver privilege card in the Commonwealth of Virginia, any driver’s license, driver privilege card, commercial driver’s license or identification card previously issued by another state must be surrendered and will be canceled by the issuing state.