Driving in Virginia

Effective January 1, 2004, all applicants for a driver's license or photo ID card must show proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Presence in the United States. A U.S. birth certificate or unexpired U.S. passport will serve as both proof of identity and proof of legal presence. It can also be proved using a variety of other documents, such as a Certificate of Citizenship, Resident Alien Card or a valid foreign passport with a visa, I-94 or I-94W from a participating country.

If you already hold a valid driver's license, you will not be required to prove legal presence when you renew it. However, if your driver's license expires or is suspended, revoked or cancelled, you must prove legal presence when you reinstate your driving privilege.

Eligibility requirements for First Time Drivers, New Residents, Military Personnel, Nonresidents, and Nonresident Out-of-State Students - see url:


Individuals applying for driver's licenses must provide four (4) forms of identification. Information regarding documents that Department of Motor Vehicles will accept as proof of identity and information for applying for a driver's license can be found at the following url:


The Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles Driver's Manual can be found at the following url:


Foreign Visitors:

Foreign motorists, who visit the United States as bona fide tourists, can drive legally using their valid domestic driver's license, if it is accompanied by a valid international license. This arrangement applies to driving either personal or rental cars. Bona fide tourists can also legally drive their own private cars bearing valid license plates/registration tags issued in their native country for a period not to exceed one year from date of arrival.

This privilege is made possible as a result of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva, 1949), and the Convention of the Regulation of Inter-American Automotive Traffic (Washington, 1943). In addition to having a valid foreign driver's license, visitors are advised to carry an International Driving Permit, as authorized by the 1943/1949 or 1968 Conventions, or attach an English translation to their national driving license. The International Driving Permit is translated into the 9 official languages of the United Nations, including English, and serves as a translation to be used in conjunction with the visitor's valid driver's license. It can be useful in emergencies such as traffic violations or auto accidents, particularly when a foreign language is involved. Visitors from foreign countries must obtain their International Driving Permit in their native country, prior to arrival in the U.S.

If the visiting tourist accepts a job or attends school in the U.S., he/she then loses tourist status and must obtain a Virginia driver's license and plates in accordance with Virginia Motor Vehicle Law.

Office Location:

12730 Patrick Henry Drive
Newport News, VA 23602

Toll Free Numbers:



Follow Jefferson Avenue to Denbigh Boulevard. Make a right at Denbigh Boulevard. Take the first right onto Patrick Henry Drive. DMV is located on the left.

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