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Obtaining a Motorcycle License

Class M Designations

Any Virginia driver authorized to operate a motorcycle must have an "M", "M2", or "M3" listed under "Class" on the front of their driver's license. This designation indicates the type(s) of motorcycles the holder is authorized to operate:

  • M: Both two and three-wheeled motorcycles
  • M2: Restricted to the operation of two-wheeled motorcycles
  • M3: Restricted to the operation of three-wheeled motorcycles

Drivers with licenses that display both an "M", "M2", or "M3" designation AND a "6" listed under "Restriction" are authorized to operate a motorcycle ONLY, as indicated on the back of their license. If the license has an "M", "M2", or "M3" designation and no "6" listed under "Restriction", then the driver is authorized to operate both a standard motor vehicle AND the type of motorcycle their Class "M", "M2", or "M3" designation authorizes them to operate.

Drivers who meet the requirements for obtaining both an M2 and an M3 designation will be issued a license with an M designation. The M designation allows the operation of both two-wheeled and three-wheeled motorcycles.

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Adding a Class M Designation to Your License

If you already hold a valid Virginia driver's license without a motorcycle designation, you may add a Class M, M2, or M3 designation to your license that will allow you to operate a motorcycle.

If you are 19 or older, you must do the following to add a Class "M", "M2", or "M3" designation to your current license:

If you completed the Virginia Rider Training Program, you will be exempted from taking both the motorcycle knowledge exam and the road skills test. The course completion certificate will act as a temporary "M2" or "M3" classification when carried with your driver's license. This will allow you to operate the appropriate motorcycle for a period of 30 days from the course completion date. After the initial 30 days, you will not be authorized to operate a motorcycle until you visit a DMV customer service center to have the motorcycle designation added to your license. Certificates are valid for a period of one year from the date of completion. Make sure to bring the certificate of completion with you when you visit DMV to apply for your motorcycle classification.

If you are under 19, you must do the following to add a Class "M", "M2", or "M3" designation to your current driver's license:

If you provide DMV with a Virginia Rider Training Program certificate of completion, you are exempt from taking the motorcycle knowledge exam and the motorcycle road skills test for a period of one year from the date of course completion.

The motorcycle class has an annual fee, and is valid for the same period of time as your driver's license. When you renew your driver's license, remember to renew your Class "M", "M2", or "M3" designation as well. Refer to the DMV Fee Chart to find out the yearly charge.

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Driver's License Restricted to Operation of a Motorcycle

You may obtain a driver's license that allows you to operate ONLY a motorcycle, as indicated by the "6" added to Restrictions on your license. This kind of license displays an "M", "M2", or "M3" AND a "6" under Restriction. The back of the license indicates that your driving privilege is restricted to a motorcycle only and will indicate the type(s) of motorcycles you are authorized to operate.

In addition to the above requirements for adding a motorcycle designation to a driver's license, you must:

The motorcycle-only driver's license costs $6.00 per year and is normally valid for 8 years. Remember that this type of driver's license allows you to operate only a motorcycle. If you decide later that you want a regular driver's license, you will have to pass only the driver road skills test. For more information, refer to Applying for a License.

If you are under 19, you must provide proof of successful completion of an approved driver education program before receiving any Virginia driver's license, including a motorcycle-only license. This is a separate requirement from the Virginia Rider Training Program.

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Out-Of-State License Holders

If you hold a valid out-of-state driver's license and you complete the Virginia Rider Training Program, you will NOT be eligible for a Virginia motorcycle-only license. Virginia law prohibits you from holding both your out-of-state license and any type of Virginia license. However, you may be able to exchange your out-of-state driver's license for a Virginia license and obtain the appropriate Class "M", "M2"', or "M3" designation.

If you hold a valid out-of-state driver's license and possess an out of state motorcycle safety course certificate but do not have a motorcycle class designation on your license, you are NOT eligible for a Virginia Class "M", "M2"', or "M3" designation. Virginia does not accept out of state motorcycle safety course certificates. To receive a Class "M", "M2"', or "M3" designation, you must pass the motorcycle knowledge and road skills tests and hold a motorcycle learner's permit for 30 days. If you are under 19, you will need to hold a motorcycle learner's permit for 9 months.

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Members of the Military

Along with their spouses and dependents, military personnel who hold a valid Virginia driver's license may obtain an "M2" motorcycle classification after submitting:

  • An unexpired active duty or military dependent ID card
  • A completion certificate from a military approved basic motorcycle rider training course dated within one year of application

Applicants inside of Virginia may visit a DMV customer service center to present these documents, those assigned outside of Virginia may apply by mail. Upon approval, DMV will add the appropriate Class M designation to the Virginia driver's license and will mail a new driver's license displaying the motorcycle classification to the applicant. Customers will be required to pay a license replacement fee and the yearly motorcycle classification fee for each year of validity remaining on their license.

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