So, you’ve just turned 15½ years old.
Do you know what that means?
You can start working on your driver’s license.
You must know, though, that getting your driver’s license requires time and effort.
But the process becomes much easier if you know EXACTLY what to do.
That’s why we’re here — to guide you through the end-to-end process of going through the Ohio driver’s license requirements.
Don’t worry. With us by your side, you’ll be holding your full license in no time!
So, are you ready to go through the details?
How to Get A Driver’s License in Ohio
Ohio, like most states, has a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program for applicants under 18.
This means you’ll need to go through several stages before earning full driving privileges.
You’ll go through the following stages:
- Earning a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC)
- Getting a probationary driver’s license
- Receiving an adult driver’s license
Let’s walk you through each stage.
How to Get a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) in Ohio
Anyone who wants an Ohio driver’s license must start with a permit.
Yes, even if you’re over 18 years old.
So, let’s see how to get one:
- Complete your knowledge exam online. You can also complete this at a driver exam station.
NOTE: If going to a station, make sure to check the schedules and whether or not appointments are required. Also, don’t forget to bring proof of name, birth date, and SSN.
- Go to a deputy registrar license agency and apply for your permit. You must do this within 60 days of passing the knowledge exam.
NOTE: A parent or a guardian must go with you. They’ll have to present identification and confirm that they’ll assume financial responsibility for you.
- Submit the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of date of birth
- Proof of legal presence in the US
- Social Security Number
- Proof of Ohio address
Don’t know what documents to bring? Click here for a list of acceptable documents or use the BMV’s interactive system.
- Pass the vision screening.
- Have your photo taken.
- Pay the Temporary Permit Packet fee of $23.50.
- Receive your Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).
NOTE: You must surrender your Ohio ID card if you have one.
You’ve completed stage one!
With a TIPIC, you can gain driving experience. However, keep the following restrictions in mind:
- You cannot drive without your TIPIC.
- You and your passengers must wear seat belts at all times.
- ONLY your parent, guardian, or licensed driving instructor must supervise you if you haven’t yet turned 16 years old (it requires them to sit in the front passenger seat).
If you’re 16 years old, you can be supervised by a licensed driver over 21 if they meet the following conditions:
- You named them on a notarized BMV 2438.
- They are not intoxicated while supervising you.
However, that only applies if you drive from 6 am to midnight. If you drive between midnight and 6 am, you must have your parent, guardian, or licensed driving instructor.
How to Get a Probationary Driver’s License in Ohio
Stage two is your probationary driver’s license.
However, if you’ve already turned 18 years old, you can skip to the next section and work on your adult driver’s license.
If not, here are the steps to get your probationary license in Ohio:
- Comply with the eligibility requirements. Check off the ones you’ve finished:
- Have your TIPIC for 6 months or longer
- Complete a driver’s education program from a state-approved driving school.
- Accumulate 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which must be at night.
- Schedule your driving test through BMV’s Online Services.
- Bring the following to your appointment:
- Your Driver Education Certificate (your school provides this when you complete the program)
- Your valid TIPIC
- The vehicle for your driving test (complete with registration and insurance)
- Pass the driving test.
- Go to a deputy registrar license agency to obtain a probationary driver’s license. Again, you must bring a parent or guardian to confirm that they’ll shoulder financial responsibility for your driving activities.
- Show the following documents:
- Proof of identity and date of birth
- Proof of citizenship or legal presence
- Valid Social Security Number
- Proof of Ohio residency
- A filled-out BMV5791 Fifty-Hour Affidavit to confirm your supervised driving hours.
- Pay the appropriate licensing fee, depending on your age:
- 16 years old – $25.75
- 17 years old – $24.50
- Get your temporary paper license. Your official probationary driver’s license will arrive by mail within 7 to 10 days.
And just like that — you’re done with stage two!
Now you can drive without someone supervising you.
However, you still don’t have full driving privileges, so don’t forget about your restrictions.
For the first 12 months after getting your probationary license:
- You can only drive unsupervised from 6 am to midnight (5 am to 1 am after the first 12 months). If driving between these hours:
- You must be with a parent, guardian, or a licensed driver over 21 (named on a notarized BMV 2438)
- You don’t need supervision if going to or from work, a school-sponsored or religious event (you must provide appropriate documentation by using form BMV 2825 or form BMV 2826)
- You can only have family members as passengers, except when supervised by a parent or guardian.
- You and your passengers must buckle up.
- You cannot use any mobile gadgets, such as a cell phone.
A traffic violation conviction within the first 6 months may mean your parent or guardian must supervise your driving until you turn 17.
Receiving several traffic convictions before you turn 18 may result in a license suspension.
Getting a DUI on your record means losing your driving privileges for at least 6 months.
How to Get an Adult Driver’s License in Ohio
Your probationary driver’s license expires after 1 year or after your 18th birthday (whichever comes first).
When you renew it, you’ll receive an adult driver’s license with full driving privileges.
Don’t forget to pay the licensing fee for 18-year-olds — $23.25.
You completed all 3 stages!
What if you’re just starting the whole process and you’re already 18+ years old?
The steps are similar but can be finished faster.
Let’s look at this:
- Take the adult knowledge exam online.
NOTE: The test comes in various languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian, Somali, and Spanish. If you need to take it in a different language, you must complete the exam in person at a driver exam station.
- Visit a deputy registrar license agency and present documents providing:
- Your identity
- Your date of birth
- Citizenship or legal presence
- A valid Social Security Number
- Your residence in Ohio (one, if you want a standard license; two, if you apply for a compliant one)
NOTE: Remember that the required paperwork for compliant licenses differs from standard ones.
- Pass the vision screening.
- Have your photo taken.
- Pay the $23.50 fee to purchase your Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).
NOTE: Applicants over 18 don’t need to hold their permits for a specific period before taking the driving exam.
- Go to Ohio’s BMV Online Services and schedule your driving test.
- On test day, bring the following:
- Your valid TICIP
- A vehicle for the road test
- Pass the driving test.
NOTE: If you fail the test, you are required to take an abbreviated adult driving training course before you can retake it.
- Visit a deputy registrar license agency and purchase your adult driver’s license. The fees are as follows:
- 18 years old – $23.25
- 19 years old – $22
- 20 years old – $20.75
- 21+ years old – $24.50 (for a 4-year license) or $48 (for an 8-year license)
- Receive your temporary paper license and wait for your official driver’s license in the mail. It’ll arrive within 7 to 10 days.
For even more information, let’s go through a few frequently asked questions.
How can I prepare for the knowledge test in Ohio?
There are many ways you can prepare for the Ohio knowledge test.
For one, you can read through the Ohio Driver’s Manual. That has all the information you need to pass the exam.
If not that — you can take a quick online driver’s ed course from providers like DriversEd and Aceable.
You can supplement your learning by taking FREE online practice tests. This will help you get a feel of how the exam is going to go.
Can I get my license at 18 without a permit in Ohio?
No. Everyone applying for an Ohio driver’s license must get a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC).
How long does it take to get a driver’s license in Ohio?
Drivers 18 and older can get their license in a matter of weeks (days, even — if your documents are ready and you get a road test scheduled immediately).
However, if you start the process early, you’ll have to undergo the graduated driver’s license program.
If you begin working on it when you turn 15½, you’ll have to wait half a year before you get your probationary driver’s license — and even then, you’ll have restrictions until you turn 18.
Is attending driving school required in Ohio?
If you are under 18 years old, you must complete a driver’s ed program. You can’t take the driving test in Ohio unless you can present a Driver’s Education Certificate.
Remember, you must attend an Ohio-approved driving school to fulfill this requirement.
However, applicants who are 18 and older can schedule their road test immediately after getting their TIPIC.
What is the youngest age to drive in Ohio?
You can get behind the wheel at 15½ years old, assuming you already have a permit. But remember that a parent, guardian, or licensed driver over 21 must supervise you.
How much is a driver’s license in Ohio?
Here is a chart of the licensing fees in Ohio:
|Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TICIP):||$23.50|
|Probationary Driver’s License (16 years old):||$25.75|
|Probationary Driver’s License (17 years old):||$24.50|
|Adult Driver’s License (18 years old):||$23.25|
|Adult Driver’s License (19 years old):||$22|
|Adult Driver’s License (20 years old):||$20.75|
|Adult Driver’s License (21 and above years old):||$24.50 (4-year license)|
$48 (8-year license)
How many times can you fail your driver’s test in Ohio?
There is no cap on the maximum number of times you can take the driving test in Ohio. However, keep these in mind:
- Applicants under 18 must wait two days before attempting to retake it.
- Applicants 18 and older must take an abbreviated adult driving training course before they can schedule another road test.
The Wrap Up
And there you have it — Ohio driver’s license requirements — a step-by-step guide.
Yes, it’s a lot of information to take in.
Yes, it will require time and effort.
But if you follow the steps one by one, you’ll soon complete everything.
So good luck!