How to get a California Drivers License
- California Driver's License Guidelines
- How to Prepare for the Written Exam
- Required ID and Paperwork
CA Drivers License Rules and Requirements
Find out the steps to get your CA drivers license, pass your DMV written test, replace your out-of-state license and the required paperwork to bring to the DMV office to get your driver's license.Try Sample Test!
All applicants need to be familiar with the California Driver's Manual. Think you know the material? Take our DMV practice test now and test your driving knowledge.
Get your CA Driver's Permit
Under CA DMV guidelines, you must be at least 16 years of age to apply for a California Drivers License.
If you are under the age of 18, you must:
- Prove that you have finished driver education.
- Prove that you have completed at least 6 hours of professional driver training.
- Have held a California instruction permit for at least six months.
- Provide parent(s) or guardian(s) signature(s) on your instruction permit stating you have completed the 50 hours of supervised driving practice (10 hours must be night driving)
- Pass the behind-the-wheel driving test. You have three chances to pass the test while your permit is valid. If you fail the behind-the-wheel driving test, you must pay a retest fee for a second or subsequent test and wait two weeks before you are tested again.
Prepare for the Written Knowledge Test
The California DMV requires that all applicants must pass a written exam on traffic signs, motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. If you fail the exam, some states require you to wait until at least the next day to take the test again and charge a re-examination fee.
All new drivers are encouraged to study for this driver education exam so you don't miss the opportunity to get your learners permit as soon as you reach the approved age. Online practice tests are available that provide real sample questions from the DMV Exam - Take the California practice test now and test your driving knowledge.
New California Residents
New residents with an out-of-state license must obtain a California driver's license within 10 days of establishing a permanent residence in CA. When heading to the DMV, be sure to bring the license from your former state as you will be required to surrender it in order to obtain the new license.
There is no road skills testing required to change a valid out-of-state license to a CA driver's license, however you will need to pass the written exam and vision test.
If your out-of-state driver's license has expired, you may be required to apply for a California interim license and pass all required testing to receive a driver's license.
California honors the International Driving Permit as long as it is accompanied by a valid license from the resident country. Licensees have 10 days after becoming a resident of the State to convert to a California license and are required to complete all the steps for a learners permit, including the written and driving portions of the drivers exam.
Before you head to the California DMV Office, make sure you have all of the following required documents to get your driver's license:
On the Road
Once your licensing requirements have been met, you will receive your new:
- Interim Driver's License (16 to 18 years of age).
- Full Driver's License (18 and older) valid for 5 years.
Remember... the safe operation of a vehicle requires practiced skill, knowledge, and a respectful understanding of the limitations imposed by the other drivers and the environment.