How to Get Your Motorcycle License in VA

Practicing motorcycle ride with traffic cones

If you’re a new motorcyclist in Virginia, you’ll need to obtain a Virginia motorcycle license before hitting the road on your bike. Thankfully, the Virginia motorcycle license process isn’t too complicated. However, before heading to the DMV, you should understand all of the requirements and steps involved.

Read on to learn how to get a Virginia motorcycle license. 

License Requirements

Virginia offers motorcycle license designations on existing driver’s licenses. If you do not have a driver’s license, you can instead obtain a driver’s license restricted to operating a motorcycle. 

Before obtaining a license designation, you must indicate the motorcycle type you wish to operate. The state has different designations for two- and three-wheeled motorcycles. If you want to ride both types, you can receive an M classification. 

All riders under 18 must hold a motorcycle learner’s permit for at least nine months before obtaining a full motorcycle license designation. You can also obtain a permit over the age of 18 if you are still learning how to ride a motorcycle. 

A learner’s permit allows you to ride a motorcycle between 4:00 a.m. and midnight while supervised by someone at least 21 years old. 

You must also pass a vision screening to obtain a motorcycle license designation. This screening may be required even if you have already undergone a vision screening for a driver’s license. 

Written Knowledge Exam

To get a Virginia motorcycle license, you must pass a written knowledge exam. This exam covers basic knowledge about operating a motorcycle, responding to road conditions and malfunctions, and reacting to other motorists. 

The exam consists of 25 questions based on information within the Virginia Motorcycle Operator Manual. You can prepare for the exam by reading this manual and taking an online sample exam

Please note: you cannot use your cell phone while taking the written test. If you do, the exam will be terminated, and you will need to wait until the next day to retake it. 

On-Bike Training

You will also need to show that you know how to ride a motorcycle on the road safely before you can get a Virginia motorcycle license. You have two options for this portion of the licensing process:

  • Take an on-bike skills test at the DMV
  • Pass a motorcycle safety course

We highly recommend taking a motorcycle safety course. While these courses are not mandatory for new motorcycle riders, they can teach you valuable skills to help you get a license and stay safe on the road.

At the end of a motorcycle safety course, you must take a skills test with an instructor. If you pass the class, you can receive a waiver to give to the DMV instead of taking the on-bike exam. 

If you choose to take a motorcycle safety course, make sure to pick one that is registered with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. You can find compliant courses throughout Virginia. 

Motorcycle Registration

Along with obtaining a Virginia motorcycle license endorsement, you must also renew your motorcycle registration annually to ride your bike on the road. The annual registration fee is $26.75, and you can pay an additional $10 per year for a personalized plate. 

Your motorcycle must be insured through a Virginia insurance company throughout the registration period. 

Motorcycle Safety Gear

All motorcycle riders in Virginia must wear protective helmets with face shields or safety glasses. We also recommend wearing protective clothing when you take an on-bike skills test, as this shows instructors that you care about motorcycle safety. 

Once you get a Virginia motorcycle license, you’ll need to pay $2 yearly to renew it. 

Here’s one last great tip. Sign up for our FREE Law Tigers Rider’s Benefit Package. It’s just one way that Law Tigers helps the rider community.