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Driver licenses

Driver licenses

Everything you need to know about Ohio's driver license and ID card — first issuance, renewal, restrictions. Plus information for non U.S. citizens and commercial drivers.

Ohio's driver licensing system is outlined by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). Chapter 4507 states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on any public road, or any public or private property used by the public, for vehicular travel or parking unless the operator has passed the required tests and obtained a license from the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

Ohio BMV driver license examinations and driver license issuance is the responsibility of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

While the vast majority of Ohio motorists hold a regular driver license — officially called a "driver license class D" — the state also issues a number of other licenses: commercial driver license (CDL); motorcycle license (MC), or endorsement; Scooter license or endorsement and motorized bicycle license (moped).

NOTE: per R.C. 4507.03(A)(5), A motorcycle endorsement is not required for the operation of a cab-enclosed motorcycle or an autocycle in the state of Ohio.

How to obtain a license

Persons applying for a first Ohio motor vehicle driver license must be at least 15 years and six months of age and must provide documentary proof of their full legal name, age, Social Security number, citizenship or legal presence and address upon visiting the driver license exam station and deputy registrar (see Acceptable Documents List).

If under 18 years of age, the application must be co-signed at the deputy registrar by a parent or a legal guardian at the time of application. A co-signer must present either a valid Ohio driver license or valid Ohio ID card or prove all five elements (see Acceptable Documents List).

All applicants must pass a vision test and a knowledge test to obtain a temporary instruction permit identification card (TIPIC). Applicants under 16 years of age must practice driving with a licensed parent or legal guardian that occupies the seat next to them. If 16 years of age or older, they may practice driving with a licensed driver 21 years of age or older occupying the seat next to them.

First license requirements also apply to drivers who have allowed their license to expire for more than six months and to persons who must apply for a new license after losing their license due to a suspension or revocation.Vertical driver licenses issued to persons under the age of 21 will have a red header bar, and the primary photo will be on the left side.

Additionally, the wording "under 21" or "under 18" will appear on the vertical driver license. Ohio Driver License for those age 21 and older will have a horizontal driver license with a yellow header bar, and the primary photo will be on the left side. There are different application procedures for new Ohio residents who already hold a valid license from another state (see New Residents ), for persons who wish to apply for a commercial driver license (see Commercial Driver Licensing) and for persons who wish to apply for a motorcycle/scooter endorsement or a motorized bicycle operator's license.

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