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.

What do I do if my permit has expired?

In the state of California, permits expire after 12 months.

Let’s start with bad news first. You’ll have to reapply for a new permit ($34 application fee).

Now that that’s out of the way, I have A LOT of good news now!

You DO NOT have to redo the following requirements as long as you have proof of completion for each requirement:

  • 30 hours of online/classroom drivers ed
    • Prove this by bringing your drivers ed certificate. Need a new one from Aceable? Order one here.
  • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a professional instructor
    • Prove this by bringing a DL388 or DL400 form provided and signed by your professional instructor.
  • 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a licensed adult at least 25 years or older
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit with your parent/guardian’s signature.
  • Hold your permit for at least 6 months
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit (the date of issuance is on there as proof).
  • Pass the written knowledge test
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit (permits are not given out unless you have passed the written test).

Bring all of the above items in addition to the items on this page.

When you are ready to take your driving test, you MUST bring your expired permit, new permit, and the DL388 or DL400 form showing proof that you have completed 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a professional instructor. The reason that you need to bring the expired permit too is because it is your only proof of credit that shows that you have had your permit for at least 6 months. If you lose your expired permit without necessary proof of a previous DMV application, you have to wait the full 6 months before you are allowed to take your driving test. DMV does not keep your previous application once you have put in a new application for a new permit. It’s SUPER IMPORTANT not to lose your expired permit.

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