Pass Your DMV Test
How to Apply for a New Driver's License in California
NEW DRIVERS AND FIRST TIME APPLICANTS
Following are the basic requirements for applying for a California driver's license:
- Applicants must be 15 1/2 years or older.
- Any individual under 18 should provide parental consent by providing their signature on form DL 44. For additional details, see Beginner Drivers and/or Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers.
- Everyone must pass the vision, traffic laws and sign tests. See Practice Tests and Driver's Handbook for more information on the written examination. Driver education programs can help individuals prepare for their road test. There is a $6 fee for every additional driving test you take. You have three chances to pass.
- Applicants must provide a social security number.
- Applicants must provide acceptable proof of true full name and a thumbprint.
- Applicants must provide proof of California birth date and legal presence.
California residents holding a driver's license from another state may also need to pass the three tests. The driving test may be waived at the discretion of the examiner. For individuals holding non-U.S. licenses, it is mandatory to pass the driving test. However, like other applicants, new residents must provide proof of identification, legal presence and birth date.
Non-US citizens residing in California may drive without getting a California driver license as long as their home country license is valid. If, however, you become a California resident, you will be required to get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency can be proven by proof of residence, tuition payment, voting in an election or any other privilege not extended to nonresidents.
The cost for a non-commercial (Class C) California driver's license is $28.
A California driver's license is valid for four years.
With certain restrictions, an individual can legally drive in California with a learner's license. See more information on provisional licenses here.
- See also Renewing Your License.
- For information on other types of licenses, see Commercial Driver's Licenses, Motorcycle Licenses.
- It is necessary to have active Auto Insurance in order to drive legally in California.
- New drivers see our Driver Education, Driving Schools, Beginner Drivers and Learner's Permits for Beginner Drivers sections.