Metropolitan Police Department

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Learner Permit

Effective May 1, 2014, the District of Columbia will begin issuing a REAL ID Learner Permit and a Limited Purpose Learner Permit.

The REAL ID Learner Permit requires a one-time revalidation of source documents when obtaining, renewing or replacing your DC learner permit. This validation will enable the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure your identity and issue a federally compliant REAL ID learner permit. The new requirements will affect what you will need to bring to the DC DMV office when obtaining, renewing or replacing your learner permit. First time DC applicants and existing DC learner permit holders should expect to provide source documents as proof of identity (full legal name and date of birth), social security number, lawful presence in the United States, and current residence in the District of Columbia when applying for a DC REAL ID learner permit.  For more information about REAL ID, please review our FAQs.

The Limited Purpose Learner Permit also requires a one-time validation of source documents when applying for your DC Limited Purpose learner permit. The driver knowledge test will be required for all applicants applying for the Limited Purpose learner permit.  First time DC applicants must be a resident of the District of Columbia for at least 6 months, from the date of application. Applicants must have never been issued a social security number; or previously been issued a social security number but cannot establish legal presence in the United States at the time of application; or not be eligible for a social security number. The Limited Purpose learner permit may not be used for official federal purposes. You must schedule an appointment to obtain a Limited Purpose learner permit. Prior to your DMV appointment, be sure to study and review the Driver Manual.  If you fail the knowledge test, you will be required to schedule another appointment, and this could result in weeks delay.  Therefore, you are encouraged to study for the knowledge test.  For more information about Limited Purpose credentials, please review our FAQs.  You can also refer to the Limited Purpose Step by Step Process.

DMV offers a number of services related to a learner permit. When obtaining a learner permit, be prepared to also make the decision to become an organ and tissue donor (you may also make a tax deductible donation to the DC Organ Donor registry), register to vote (if eligible), or select the Veteran designation (if eligible). If you are a male between the ages of 18-26 (note once you actually turn 26 years old, you will no longer be eligible for selective service enrollment), the DC DMV will register you with the Selective Service unless you choose to use the waiver form to opt-out of registering via the DC DMV driver license application process.

All learner permits will be mailed, and DC DMV does not mail to P.O. Boxes.

Learner Permits


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