CA Driver’s License Information

Copied from the CA DMV site:

How to apply for a driver license if you are over 18

If you are a visitor in California over 18 and have a valid driver license (DL) from your home state or country, you may drive in this state without getting a California DL as long as your home state DL remains valid.

If you become a California resident, you must get a California DL within ten (10) days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.

To apply for an original DL if you are over 18, you will need to do the following:

  • Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application.
  • Visit a DMV office (appointments are recommended).
  • Provide your social security number (SSN). It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • Verify your Identity. If your current name no longer matches the name on your Identity document, see “True Full Name” and “How to Change Your Name” for more information.
  • Provide your true full name.
  • Present your acceptable residency document if you have never had a California DL or California identification (ID) card.
  • Pay a nonrefundable application fee.
    • The fee is good for 12 months. (If all requirements are not met within 12 months, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.)
    • Allows you three (3) attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. (If you fail the same knowledge test three (3) times the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.)
    • Allows you three (3) attempts at the driving test.
      Important: If you fail the driving test, you must pay a retest fee of $7 for subsequent test(s) and schedule the driving test for another day. If you fail the driving test three (3) times, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.
  • Give a fingerprint scan.
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Have your photograph taken.
  • Pass the knowledge test(s).
  • If applying for a REAL ID DL or ID card, you must provide proof of your Identity, SSN, and residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID document options.

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing, DMV will not administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing. See hours of operation for the field office you are visiting.

You will then be issued an instruction permit if you have never been licensed before. When you practice, you must have an accompanying adult who is 18 years of age or older, with a valid California DL. This person must be close enough to you to take control of the vehicle if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone.

If you have a DL from another country, you will be required to take a driving test. If you have a DL from another state, the driving test may be waived.

To take your driving test, you will need to:

  • Make a driving test appointment. (Driving tests are not given without an appointment.) You may also call 1-800-777-0133 during the regular business hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. and between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays (excluding holidays), to make a driving test appointment.
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility that meets or exceeds California Insurance Requirements.

After you pass your driving test you will be issued an interim DL valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo DL in the mail. Double check your address and DL classification, including endorsements and restrictions, before you leave DMV. Notify the DMV representative if you have moved or if your information is incorrect. If you have not received your DL after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim DL with you to provide information when requested.

Friday, 3 August 2018 3:30 PM

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