How to Get a West Virginia Driver's Permit

West Virginia uses a graduated license program that requires all new drivers under 18 to begin driving with a learner’s license, in order to practice safe driving under supervision before getting their full driver’s license. To receive the initial driver’s permit, you must follow certain steps. Here is a simple guide to getting a West Virginia driver’s instruction permit:

Level 1 instruction permit

The Level 1 instruction permit in West Virginia may only be issued to a driver who is at least 15 years old, and has passed the written knowledge exam.

The instruction permit requires that drivers be accompanied at all times by a driver who is at least 21 years old, and has a valid driver’s license. The driver may only operate a vehicle between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., and may not have any more than two passengers in a vehicle. These two passengers must be immediate family members. During their time driving with the Level 1 instruction permit, a driver must complete 50 hours of supervised driving, ten of which must be at night. The supervisory parent or guardian must log these hours on the DMV-10-GDL form.

Alternatively, if the driver wishes to take a state-approved driver’s education course, they may opt out of the required 50 hours of driving practice.

The Level 1 instruction permit must be held for six months before a driver who is at least 16 years old, and has completed either their 50 required hours of practice, or their driver’s education course (including a behind-the-wheel training portion), may apply for a Level 2 intermediate license.

How to apply

In order to apply for the Level 1 instruction permit, drivers must take a written exam. The following documents must be brought when the driver takes the exam:

  • A completed application, signed by a parent or guardian

  • A certificate of attendance from a West Virginia school board, or proof of graduation

  • Proof of identity, such as a valid U.S. passport, a state-issued ID card, or a certificate of citizenship

  • Proof of social security number, such as a social card or a W-2 form

  • Two documents proving West Virginia residency, such as a high school transcript or a health insurance card

They must also take a vision test, and pay the $5 permit fee. If the permit is lost at any time, the driver must bring proof of identity, social security, and West Virginia residency, in order to obtain a replacement.

Passing the exam

The West Virginia Level 1 instruction permit exam covers all state-specific traffic laws, road signs, and other driver’s safety information, in multiple-choice format. The West Virginia DMV provides a driver’s manual which has all the information a student needs to pass the written exam. Additionally, there are many online practice exams available that students may take as many times as necessary to gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to pass the exam.

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