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Interested to know about the different driver’s license classifications in Virginia?

If so, then you’ve come to the right place.

Now, the license classes in Virginia are pretty straightforward, unlike in some states. However, if you’re unfamiliar with it, then it might confuse you a bit. 

No more of that. 

With our Virginia driver’s license classification guide, you will know what each license class can operate, plus the requirements for each license type. 

In the end, we’ll even include an FAQ section to answer any questions you might have. 

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away! 

What are the Driver’s License Classifications in Virginia?

There are five driver’s license classifications. Here is a description for each one. 

  • Class A (Commercial)

A Virginia Class A commercial license authorizes the holder to operate any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of over 26,000 pounds, pulling a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of no less than 10,000 pounds. 

Class A vehicles include tractor-trailers, truck and trailer combinations, and tractor-trailer buses. 

Drivers who possess Class A licenses may also operate vehicles under classes B and C, provided they have the appropriate endorsements.

  • Class B (Commercial)

A Virginia Class B commercial license authorizes the holder to operate any single vehicle with a GVWR of over 26,000 pounds, towing a vehicle with a GVWR of no more than 10,000 pounds. 

Class B vehicles include straight trucks, large buses, and school buses. 

Drivers who possess Class B licenses may also operate vehicles under class C. 

  • Class C (Commercial)

A Virginia Class C commercial license authorizes the holder to operate any vehicle that does not meet the definition of either Class A or B, can transport 16 or more passengers, or carries hazardous materials that require placards. 

  • Class D

Class D is the standard or regular license in Virginia. It allows the holder to operate passenger cars for personal use. So this is the license you get to, say, drive to work. 

  • Class M

Class M is subdivided into three classes, namely M, M2, and M3. 

Classes M2 and M3 permit the holder to drive two or three-wheeled vehicles, respectively, while Class M allows the operator to drive both. 

How to Apply for a Class D Driver’s License in Virginia

Here are the requirements for a standard driver’s license:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of lawful presence
  • Two proofs of residency in Virginia
  • One proof of social security number
  • Driver’s license issued by another state or jurisdiction (if applicable)
  • Proof of name change (if applicable)

Before getting a Class D license, you must first obtain a learner’s permit. 

Note: you can use the VA DMV’s interactive document guide to know which documents you need to submit based on your age. 

To get a learner’s permit, you must:

If you are 18 or older and have not previously possessed a license in Virginia or any other state, you will need to hold a learner’s permit for at least 60 days OR complete a state-approved driver’s ed course while holding a permit. 

If you are below 18 years old, you will need to complete a driver education program AND hold a learner’s permit for at least 9 months before you become eligible for a Class D license. You must also log 45 hours of driving practice, 15 of which have to be completed after sunset. Your parent or guardian must certify the log. 

Once you have held your permit for the minimum period, have completed a driver’s ed course, and turned at least 16 years and three months old, you will receive a notice to appear in court for your Juvenile Licensing Ceremony. Here, you will receive your permanent Class D driver’s license. 

Note: court attendance is not necessary if you are already 18 years old or above when you receive your license. 

How to Apply for a Commercial Driver’s License in Virginia

To qualify for a CDL in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old for intrastate transport and 21 years old for interstate transport. You also need to obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before getting your CDL. 

Here is a link to the application form for a Virginia commercial driver’s license or learner’s permit. 

In addition to the required documents already listed above, you need to provide a document proving you are eligible to receive a CDL under federal requirements. Refer to this page for a list of accepted documents.

You must also confirm that you meet the medical certification requirements laid out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. You need to submit a Department of Transportation Medical Examiner’s Certificate completed by an examiner who is on the National Registry of Medical Examiners

Upon receiving your commercial learner’s permit, you will need to hold it for 30 days before taking a CDL skills test OR hold it for 14 days if you have passed a state-approved driver education program designed for commercial motor vehicles. 

A Virginia CLP is valid for one year. 

To obtain your CDL, you must pass the knowledge exams for the class and endorsements you are applying for, a required vision screening, and the CDL skills test. 

Various testing locations facilitate skills tests. They consist of three parts and last about 90 minutes. 

Upon passing the required exams, you will receive your CDL via mail. A standard CDL costs $64. Endorsements will incur additional costs.  

How to Apply for a Class M License in Virginia

If you are aged 18 or over and already hold a valid Class D license in Virginia, you can add a Class M designation by satisfying the following requirements:

  • Pass the vision and knowledge exams. 
  • Obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit, and hold it for at least 30 days. 
  • Pass the motorcycle skills test. 

You will be exempt from taking the knowledge exam and the skills test if you have completed a Virginia Rider Training Program. 

The same requirements apply if you are under 18 years old, except that you will need to hold your permit for a minimum of 9 months. 

Virginia Driver’s License Classifications FAQs

Can I take an online driver’s ed course in Virginia?

Yes, the state authorizes online driver’s ed programs. 

What are the best online driver’s ed schools in Virginia?

DriversEd.

Virginia Driver's License Classifications DriversEd

DriversEd is one of America’s best online driving schools, especially in terms of reputation and quality. Millions of American drivers have trusted the school for over 15 years. Despite its long track record, it still continues to improve its coursework to provide the best learning experience to its users. 

DriverEdToGo.

Virginia Driver's License Classifications DriverEdToGo

DriverEdToGo is another online driver’s ed provider that has existed for decades and has served more than six million customers. While its course content isn’t the most interactive, it does have mini-games that keep students entertained while learning. Its course fees are also some of the most affordable you will ever find online.

iDriveSafely.

Virginia Driver's License Classifications iDriveSafely

iDriveSafely is yet another highly-rated online driver’s ed provider, with over 17,000 reviews on Trustpilot. It is best known for its fast and easy courses that will help you finish your driver education requirement in a relatively short period. Its coursework contains multimedia teaching tools that help students understand concepts and gain knowledge better.

How long is a Virginia driver’s license valid?

A Virginia driver’s license is valid for eight years and expires on your birth date.

Conclusion

To recap, Virginia has five driver’s license classifications, namely, Classes A, B, C, D, and M. 

The first three classes allow you to operate commercial motor vehicles, while Classes D and M authorize holders to drive passenger cars and motorcycles, respectively.

If you need a license for a common car, which you will use for your daily commute and other private purposes, you will only need a Class D. 

However, if your job requires you to drive large trucks or buses, you will need to obtain a CDL. 

Simply follow the instructions laid out in the above sections, and you should be good to go.  

We hope that this article has helped you understand the Virginia driver’s license classifications better!

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