Frequently Asked Questions

Clink on any question to see the answer.

  • At 15 years old, you may begin the 30 hour online Driver Education course to prepare for your permit test at DMV.
  • At 15 ½ years old, you may take your permit test at the DMV and begin the 6 hour behind the wheel Driver Training with a licensed driving instructor.
  • At 16 years old, you may take your behind the wheel drive test at the DMV to get your Driver License.
  • If you are under 18 years old you must:
    Complete Driver Education (online or classroom)
    Be at least 15 1/2 years old
    Complete the Driver License Application (DL44) and have your parent(s) sign the DL44
    Pass the permit test
    Complete 6 hours of behind the wheel Driver Training with a licensed driving instructor
    Complete 50 hours of practice with a licensed driver over 25 years old (10 of the 50 must be at night)
    Hold your permit for 6 months
    Pass the DMV drive test
  • If you are at least 17 1/2 years old, you may obtain a permit without completing Driver Education or Driver Training. However, you cannot get your Driver License until you reach 18 years old.
  • Permit Test: Take your Driver Ed Completion Form (pink or blue form), original birth certificate or valid passport, SSN, 2 forms of proof of residency (see approved documents below), licensing fee, and a licensed driver over 25 years old.
  • Drive Test: Take your Driver Training Completion Form (gold form), permit (if someone other than a parent/guardian takes you to DMV, have them sign and write CDL# on page 2 of your permit), proof of insurance and current registration on the car you’re using for the test, and a licensed driver over 25.

After you have passed your permit test at the DMV, you must have your first behind the wheel lesson with a licensed driving instructor BEFORE you can legally drive with a parent/guardian or licensed driver over 25 years old.

For the first 12 months

  • You are not allowed to carry passengers under the age of 20 without a licensed driver over 25.
  • You are not allowed to drive between 11pm and 5am without a licensed driver over 25.
  • See handbook for exceptions to these restrictions.

Effective July 1, 2016, all original applicants must provide 2 different forms of acceptable residency documents when applying for an original California Driver License or Identification Card. The address on the residency document must match the residence address on the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL44 form). Residency documents marked with an asterisk (*) do not need to display a California address.

  • Rental/lease agreement with signature of the owner/landlord and the tenant/resident.
  • Deed/title of the residential real property.
  • Mortgage bill.
  • Home utility bill (including cell phone bill).
  • Medical document.
  • Employment documents.
  • Faith Based document with name and address of issuing organization
  • Insurance document including medical, dental, vision, life, home,rental and vehicle.
  • IRS or FTB tax return.
  • California title or registration for a vehicle or vessel.
  • Change of address confirmation by the U.S. Postal Service (form CNL107).
  • Document issued by a government within the U.S. or a U.S. government institution.
  • Property tax bill or statement.
  • Record of financial institution (bank statement with name and address).
  • * Court document that lists the applicant as a resident of California.* Letter on letterhead from a homeless shelter, shelter for abused women, non profit entity employer, faith based organization, or government within the U.S. attesting that the applicant is a resident of California.
  • * A parent, legal guardian, or child may use a birth certificate, a spouse or domestic partner, may use a marriage license/domestic partner registration certificate to trace his/her relationship to the individual to whom the acceptable residency document(s) were addressed.

The 3 following documents do not apply to AB 60 applicants:For AB 60 applicants only, you must provide 1 residency document and a California DL/ID card as an acceptable residency document.

  • Voter registration confirmation letter or postcard issued by the California Secretary of State or local California county elections officer.
  • Proof of payments of resident tuition to a California public institution of higher education.
  • Original copy of an approved Claim For Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption form filed with a local California County Assessor.

The driving test is used to determine your driving competency. You must provide a vehicle that is safe to drive and insured. When you appear for your driving test, the driving test examiner will ask to see your instruction permit, Driver Training completion certificates (if you are a minor), proof of insurance, and current registration for your vehicle.
Your driving test begins with a vehicle safety check. This pre-drive inspection demonstrates that you are familiar with your vehicle and that your vehicle meets the DMV’s minimum safety requirements. You will be asked to identify and/or demonstrate parts of the vehicle commonly used in driving. If your vehicle does not meet the minimum safety requirements, your driving test will be rescheduled.

You will also be asked to demonstrate the arm signals for right and left turns, and for stopping or slowing down. The examiner will ask you to drive out of the DMV driving test line and the driving portion of your test will begin. Your examiner is an observer only and will only speak to give you instructions ahead of time on what driving maneuvers you are to perform. The examiner will not try to trick you or ask you to drive illegally. Your examiner will be marking your score sheet during your driving test.

On the road, your examiner will be looking to see whether you:

  • Check traffic, including pedestrians, by your head and eye movements as well as using your mirrors.
  • Signal before you pull into or out of traffic, make a turn, or change lanes.
  • Drive at an appropriate and legal speed: not too fast and not too slow.
  • Leave adequate space between your vehicle and other vehicles.
  • Maintain good control of your vehicle.
  • Obey all traffic laws.

During your driving test, your examiner will ask you to perform certain critical skill test maneuvers that include:

  • Backing your vehicle.
  • Driving through intersections (controlled, uncontrolled, traffic lights, and stop signs).
  • Completing left and right hand turns.
  • Completing left and right lane changes.
  • Driving in residential and business areas.

If you make a critical driving error (CDE), you will be given an unsatisfactory test score (automatic failure). A CDE is a dangerous or potentially dangerous driving maneuver. Examples of critical driving errors include:

  • Driving at least 10 mph over or under the speed limit.
  • Failing to look over your shoulder when pulling into traffic or changing lanes.
  • Running a red light.
  • Failing to use windshield wipers when necessary because of rain.

When you return to the DMV, your examiner will inform you whether your driving test was “satisfactory” (pass) or “unsatisfactory” (fail). The examiner will also go over your score sheet with you, and explain any mistakes you made and stress areas that need improvement. If your driving test is unsatisfactory, you must reschedule for another day and pay a retest fee of $7 when you want to take another driving test. If you are under 18 years old, you are required to wait 14 days (2 weeks), not including the day the test was failed, before taking another driving test.