Getting Your License

How do I get my license?

If you’re 15.5 – 17.5 years old, you can get your license when you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You are at least 16 years old.
  • You’ve held your permit for at least six months.
  • You’ve completed three (3) two-hour lessons with a professional driving instructor.
  • You’ve completed all 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with your parents or guardians.

Make an appointment because the DMV doesn’t take walk-ins! You can also make an appointment by using the DMV Now app or calling 1-800-777-0133. Please note that the DMV can book up very quickly, especially during high-volume seasons like the summer and during spring break. You should schedule your driving test as far in advance as possible.

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take it again. You have three chances to pass.

When you pass, the DMV will issue you an interim license that’s valid for 90 days. Your new photo driver license will arrive in the mail. Until then, always have your interim license with you when you drive.

In the meantime, you can’t transport passengers who are under the age of 20, and you can’t drive between 11pm and 5am. After you turn 18, these restrictions don’t apply.

What do I bring to the DMV for my license?

If you’re younger than 18 years old, you’ll need to bring the following:

  • Your permit (with the second page signed by your parents, verifying they’ve provided 50 hours of instruction, 10 of which are at night)
  • Completion of Behind-the-Wheel Training (DL 388) from your professional driving instructor
  • Proof of financial responsibility, such as a liability insurance policy, surety bond number, or current copy of insurance policy that shows that your vehicle is properly insured. Click here for a list of acceptable documents. Your driving test will be postponed if you don’t provide this document.

If you’re 18 years old or older, you’ll need to bring the following:

  • Your permit

Proof of financial responsibility, such as a liability insurance policy, surety bond number, or current copy of insurance policy that shows that your vehicle is properly insured. Click here for a list of acceptable documents. Your driving test will be postponed if you don’t provide this document.

How do I schedule my driving test?

Make an appointment because the DMV doesn’t take walk-ins! You can also make an appointment by using the DMV Now app or calling 1-800-777-0133. Please note that the DMV can book up very quickly, especially during high-volume seasons like the summer and during spring break. You should schedule your driving test as far in advance as possible.

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take it again. You have three chances to pass.

When you pass, the DMV will issue you an interim license that’s valid for 90 days. Your new photo driver license will arrive in the mail. Until then, always have your interim license with you when you drive.

What if I fail my driving test?

For those under 18 years old

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take it again. You have three chances to pass.

If you fail three times, you have to start over in the licensing process. You’ll have to get a new permit, but you do not have to redo your 30-hour drivers ed course or your 6-hours of professional behind-the-wheel instruction if you can show the DMV your certificates from Aceable and your driving school.

You’ll need to bring the following items to the DMV to get a new permit if you fail the driving test three times:

  • Driver License application form (DL 44) – you can only get this at the DMV
  • $34 application fee
  • Proof of social security number
  • Proof of true full name
  • Aceable certificate of completion – you will need to order a new certificate for $10
  • Driving school certificate of completion (DL 400D) – you might need to ask your driving school for another copy

When you are at the DMV reapplying, you will need to retake and pass both the written knowledge test AND the vision test.

For those over 18 years old

If you fail your driving test, you can take the driving test three times before you will be charged $6 for every additional retake. You do not have to wait two weeks between retakes – simply make a new appointment!

 

 

How do I prepare for my driving test?

The California DMV has been lovely enough to provide some great resources:

Best of luck!

What do I do if I have a license from another state and just moved to California?

As a minor with a driver license from another state, you’ll need to present your out-of-state driver license to the DMV and pass a knowledge exam as part of the application process. The behind-the-wheel test is usually waived for a person with an out-of-state driver license, but the DMV may require a behind-the-wheel driving test for any type of driver license application.

As a minor, you will also be subject to provisional restrictions per California law. For example, licensed teens in California can’t transport passengers under the age of 20 and can’t drive between 11pm and 5am. After you turn 18, these restrictions don’t apply.

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