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How to Get an Ohio Driver’s License and 🚘 How to Transfer a License to Ohio

Is your teenager eager to get behind the wheel? Are you moving to Ohio and need to know how to do an out-of-state license transfer? There’s a multi-step process to getting an OH driver’s license– however, it’s less complicated than at first glance. Below is everything to know about getting a driver’s license in Ohio or transferring the license to OH from another state.

How to Get an Ohio Driver’s License – Steps to Get a New Ohio License

If you’re a first-time driver, getting a driver’s license in Ohio requires many steps. If you haven’t previously been licensed in any other state before, here’s how to get a driver’s license in OH.

OH Driver’s License Requirements

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Proof of lawful presence or citizenship
  • Social Security number (SSN or REAL ID)
  • Proof of Ohio residency (two documents proving your Ohio street address)
  • Completed driver education and final exam (only for drivers under 18)
  • Ohio temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC) (requires vision test & knowledge exam)
  • Passed Ohio road test (requires a sponsor and a vehicle in good condition)

Below are the steps to apply for a driver’s license in OH:

Step #1. Apply for an Ohio Learner’s Permit & Pass the Exam

All applicants must obtain a learner’s permit before applying for a first driver’s license in Ohio.

What do you need to get your permit in OH?

Be at least 15.5 years old to apply

  • Visit an Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (OH BMV) office in person and apply for a Temporary Instruction Permit Identification Card (TIPIC) learner’s permit (also known as temps)
  • Take over 24 hours of a driver’s instruction course from any approved driving school (if under 18)
  • Complete 8 hours of driving practice with an instructor (if under 18)
  • Passed vision examination
  • Passed written examination
  • Pay any associated fees for the temporary permit ($23.50)
  • Provide Social Security Number
  • Bring proof of legal U.S. Presence, identity, date of birth, and Ohio residency

To get started, click here to find driver exam stations in Ohio where you can apply for your driver’s license learner’s permit. You will need to provide your full legal name, date of birth, and Social Security number prior to completing the knowledge and vision screening.

Ohio Learner’s Permit Exam

In order to pass the learner’s permit exam, you must answer 30 out of 40 questions correctly– that’s 75%. Make sure you review and study the Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws ahead of the test which covers:

  • Suspensions
  • Road sign identification
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Rules of the road
  • JOL violations

Note that the permit exam can only be taken in person at a driver exam station in Ohio. To get started, visit any Ohio driver exam station with the correct documents listed above and they will discuss with you when, where, and how you’ll be taking the permit exam.

When your exam is successfully completed, visit any deputy registrar license agency in Ohio for the issuance of your learner’s permit.

You can take the Ohio BMV Sample Knowledge Test to help you prepare for the written exam. If you’re over 18, abbreviated adult driver training courses are also available at Ohio BMV- approved driving schools. You can also take an online Ohio driver’s ed course.

Ohio Learner’s Permit Rules

With a driver’s license learner’s permit, the Ohio BMV law allows you to drive a car with limitations:

You must drive with your issued instruction permit identification card (TIPIC) while being accompanied by a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age.

If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian between 12 am and 6 am.

Step #2. Meet Probationary License Requirements (if under 18)

If you are at least 15.5 years old and under 18 when applying for a driver’s license, you will need the following details based on the laws under Ohio’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program a:

  • Valid learner’s permit (TIPIC) for at least 6 months
  • Clean driving record for 6 months before taking the driver’s license Ohio road test
  • Completed Ohio BMV-approved driver education and training program
  • Certificate of completion of 50 hours of driving with a licensed driver over 21 years old– 10 hours of which must be completed at night
  • The person must present proper identification (driver’s license or ID card) to co-sign for the TIPIC.
  • Passed final exam for a digital driver’s education certificate to be filed with the BMV

Once you obtain your license, you will be subject to the following OH Probationary Driver Licensing restrictions:

  • Unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, you are not allowed to drive between midnight and 6 a.m for the first 12 months
  • Only one non-family member is allowed as a passenger
  • After turning 17, the driving curfew changes to between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m, and passengers are allowed.
  • Certain driving offenses can result in a license suspension of three months up to two years along with court and law-imposed penalties
  • No phones allowed while driving

Step #3. Pass the BMV Road Test

Once you have a learner’s permit, you must pass the Ohio road test. Here’s how it goes:

Ohio Road Test Requirements

To take the BMV road test, you will need:

  • Your instruction permit identification card (TIPIC)
  • A driver’s education certificate (if under 18)
  • A vehicle in good condition with valid registration

Preparing for the Ohio Road Test

You’ll want to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time. An inspection of your vehicle will be performed before the test begins. The road test is made up of two parts: driving and maneuverability. You can click here for the official Ohio driver’s manual. The driver’s license Ohio test will require demonstrating your skills and knowledge of the following:

Ohio BMV Driving Road Test

  • Backing up
  • Performing turns
  • Starting and stopping the vehicle
  • Turn signals
  • Accelerating
  • Turning around
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Driving in the corresponding lane

Ohio BMV Driving Test Maneuverability Assessment

  • Backing up past the center marker
  • Steering to the right or left of the center marker
  • Backing up until the bumper is aligned with the center marker
  • Driving forward through a box of four 9’ by 20’ markers
  • Backing up into the box of four markers
  • Avoiding running over the markers while removing the vehicle from the test area

Schedule Ohio Road Test

Driver examination stations in Ohio offer driving tests by appointment only. You can schedule an online Ohio Class D road test appointment or with the Ohio BMV live chat system. You can also schedule driving skills test online here.

Retaking the Ohio BMV Road Test

If your driving skills and knowledge didn’t meet the requirements for a passing score, you can retake the road test in seven days. However, if you fail the test four times, six months is how long you’ll have to wait before retaking again.

Step #4. Pay Road Test & Driver’s License Fees

While the exam itself is free, keep in mind you’ll need to pay a fee for the actual license.

If all fees for driver’s license application are already paid, you don’t need to go back to a BMV Service Center to get your driver’s license issued.

You will need to have these fees paid:

  • $23.50 Ohio learner’s permit fee
  • $24.50 new license issue fee (21 & older)

Wondering how much a driver’s license costs in OH? If you’re under 21, the new license issue fee cost varies depending on your age. This information can be found here.

Here’s how you can pay for your OH BMV road test and license fees:

  • Go to any OHIO deputy registrar license agency with cash, check, money order, or credit card
  • Online by clicking here

Step #5. Receive Your Ohio Driver’s License in the Mail

Your new driver’s license will be delivered to you within 10 business days prior to visiting a deputy registrar license agency. Until then, once the validation section is stamped, your Ohio learner’s permit (TIPIC) will be your temporary driver’s license.

Steps to Transfer License to OH

Have you recently relocated to Ohio? If so, you must convert your current out-of-state license to an OH license within 30 days of becoming an OH resident. During this time, you will need to:

  • Obtain a valid OH driver’s license
  • Have a vehicle identification number (VIN) inspection performed to verify legal ownership of the vehicle,
  • Get a vehicle emissions test done (if required)
  • Apply for an Ohio vehicle title (Form BMV-3774) You must apply for an OH vehicle title at the county clerk’s title office and NOT the BMV.

Below is how to get a driver’s license in Ohio by converting your out-of-state license:

Out of State License Transfer Requirements

To transfer out state license to OH, you will need to arrive in person at a BMV Service Center near you with the required documentation. It’s recommended to make an appointment ahead of time. Make sure the BMV office you visit provides services for driver’s license transfers and vision and knowledge testing.

Necessary documents for converting out-of-state license to Ohio:

  • Proof of full name
  • Relevant license transfer fees
  • Proof of social security number
    • Bring a document with your full SSN. This can include a W-2 form, SSA-1099 or non-SSA-1099 form, Social Security card, or pay stub
  • Current out-of-state license
    • Bring your out-of-state license to the Ohio BMV.
  • Proof of citizenship or legal presence
    • This can be a valid, unexpired U.S. passport or passport card or an original or certified U.S. birth certificate.
  • Proof of Ohio residency
    • These documents must show your current residential address and name. They can include government agency-issued documents; utility bills; credit card statements; mortgage documents; leases; bank statements; W-2 statements; current SSA, pension, or retirement statements; or a recent pay stub.

Keep in mind that photocopies or laminated papers are not permitted. You must provide original documents whereas each can only be used to prove one requirement.

You can learn more about the document requirements for getting an OH driver’s license here.

If you are under 18 years of age, you will additionally need to provide:

  • A co-signer that comes with you (parent or legal guardian)
  • Proof of six months of driving experience
  • Proof that you’ve successfully completed a driver’s ed course that meets the requirements of Ohio’s driver education.

Step #1. Pass the Vision & Knowledge Test

After you present the required documentation at your chosen BMV Service Center, they’ll want to make sure you meet the necessary OH safety requirements by taking a vision screening before completing and submitting the Ohio Driver’s License Application.

You’ll have to take a required vision test and obtain a 20/40 score or better to pass the vision screening. During the test, you are allowed to wear glasses or corrective lenses prescribed by your optometrist. A written knowledge test will also be required.

Step #2. Submit Your Ohio Driver’s License Application & Have Photo Taken

At the time when you submit your application, you will have your picture taken. While there is no distinct dress code to have your picture taken, it’s recommended to dress in casual attire because this photo will remain your driver’s license picture for years.

Step #3 Receive a Temporary Driver’s License

You will receive your temporary OH driver’s license as soon as the Ohio BMV has received and accepted your required documents, application, and payments. Your temporary Ohio driver’s license will be a black and white paper copy of your future permanent driver’s license, and can still be used as birth date and identity proof.

Step #4 Receive Your Ohio Driver’s License Via U.S. Mail

It will take up to two weeks to receive your permanent Class D OH driver’s license in the mail.

Step #5 Registering a Car in Ohio from Out of State

You’ll need your out-of-state vehicle to be converted to an Ohio title prior to registering your vehicle and obtaining a license plate in Ohio.

The Ohio BMV has a guide covering how to do an Ohio car title transfer. To apply for an Ohio vehicle title you must apply for an OH vehicle title (Form BMV-3774) at the county clerk’s title office, not the BMV. The cost of an Ohio plate/registration transfer is $6.00, and you can purchase a temporary tag for $20.00.

Go to an Ohio deputy registrar license agency and present the following documents in order to register your vehicle in Ohio:

  • Ohio driver’s license, state ID, or Social Security number
  • E-Check certificate (if applicable)
  • Ohio Certificate of Title or Memorandum of Title
  • Tax ID number (if the vehicle is titled in a business name)
  • Lease agreement and power of attorney documents (if applicable)

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Locations & Appointments

You can view all Ohio BMV locations and search by county or city.

While most locations allow walk-in transactions, it’s highly recommended to schedule a BMV appointment ahead of time to avoid long lines.

Important Ohio BMV links:

Ohio Driver’s License FAQ

How do I transfer my driver’s license to Ohio?

After bringing in all the necessary documents and forms of identification to your chosen BMV Service Center, you’ll need to pass the vision & knowledge test, submit your Ohio driver’s license application and have your photo taken, receive your temporary driver’s license, then wait two weeks to receive your Ohio driver’s License via U.S. mail.

What do I need to get a driver’s license in Ohio?

You’ll need to bring all the OH driver’s license required documents, satisfy all the license restrictions, and prove necessary skills and knowledge by passing the required tests.

Can I get an Ohio driver’s license online?

Although you can renew your OH driver’s license online, you must visit a BMV office for your driver’s permit and Ohio driver’s license application.

Who issues Ohio driver’s licenses?

Ohio driver’s licenses and examinations are issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (OH BMV)

Now that you know how to get your Ohio license or transfer your license to OH, you’re ready to get moving! If you’re relocating to Ohio or within the Cincinnati area, Bell Moving is prepared to help! Reach out to us today for an easy and stress-free relocation!

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