Pass Your DMV Test
How to Apply for a New Driver's License in California
Types of Drivers Licenses in California
Before you dive into the application process, you should know that there are various kinds of driving licenses available to you in California:
- Class C driving license: regular, noncommercial vehicle operation (passenger car or truck).
- Class A driving license: noncommercial vehicle operation of the following types of vehicles:
- Travel trailers that weigh more than 10,000 pounds and are not for hire
- 5th wheel travel trailers more than 15,000 pounds
- Livestock trailers that are between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds
- Class B driving license: RVs or motor homes up to 45 feet long.
- Motorcycle license
- CDL license: commercial vehicle operation
CA Driving License RequirementsThere are a variety of instances in which you must apply for a drivers license in California. These include if you are:
- A California resident that has never received a driving license.
- A new CA resident who wants to apply
- A new CA resident who wants to transfer driving licenses
- Planning to drive any noncommercial vehicle
- Legally present in the United States and California
- If you are visiting California from out-of-state with a valid driving license and are at least 18 years old.
- If you are an active member of the armed forces or a dependent stationed in CA with a valid out-of-state drivers license.
- If you only drive farm vehicles, which are always off public highways.
- If you only drive off-highway vehicles that are registered.
Drivers EducationIn the state of California, drivers education is required by the CA DMV for all teens between 15-and-a-half and 17-and-a-half years old. So if you want to have the best understanding possible of all things road-related, make sure to register for drivers ed today.
Study Guides and Practice TestsThere is no better way to sharpen your driving wits than by using study guides and a practice permit test. Both the Driver's Study Guides and Driver's Practice Test prompts feature topics and questions from the California Driver's Handbook, which makes them the perfect tools to help you get drivers license credentials. As long as you study the material that is available to you, getting drivers license documents should be a cinch.
DMV Written TestThe California written test is available for you to take in three different languages:
- American Sign Language (ASL)
California Driving TestWhile you needed to pass the written knowledge exam in order to obtain your California drivers permit, you will now have to take and pass the road skills driving test in order to get your CA drivers license. Fortunately, the same road signs, traffic laws and safety techniques that you had to learn for the written test apply to the driving exam. It is important to remember that:
- There is no mandatory waiting period between tests.
- You must make an appointment at the DMV to take the exam.
- You have three chances to pass the test.
- The cost for the first driving test is included in the drivers license application fee, which must be paid with:
- Cash, check, money order, or debit/ATM card
- Each test after is $6
Locate a DMVGetting your drivers license is an exciting period, however don't forget to find a nearby DMV location beforehand. This is where you are going to have to take your written exam and your road skills test, so make sure that you find a location that is close and convenient come test day. As soon as you have a test date in mind, make sure to call the DMV locations and set up an appointment because they can fill up fast.
Car InsuranceCar insurance is a state requirement in California, even when you are just taking the driving test. If you want to drive legally in the area, you must purchase at least the minimum car insurance requirements. If you decide not to do so and continue to drive on public roadways, you run the risk of being caught by a law enforcement officer and receiving substantial penalties, including:
When New Residents Must Apply for a Drivers LicenseIf you are new to California, then applying for drivers license documentation must be done within 10 days of setting up a newresidence. Residency is established when you take part in benefits not offered to nonresidents, including in-state university tuition, in-state voter registration, and more. Keep in mind that the California DMV will likely waive your previous driving exam if you have a valid out-of-state license. However, if you have never received a license to drive, you will need to take the written test to get your driving permit before beginning your drivers license application.
How to Apply for a Drivers License in CaliforniaIf you want to apply for drivers license credentials in California, then you must pay a visit to the local DMV office because you cannot get a CA drivers license online.While at the DMV, you will also have the chance to obtain your CA voting registration.In any case, you have to follow all of the steps below closely to successfully complete the process:
- Make an appointment with your local DMV office for the vision and written test
- No tests are administered after 4:30 p.m.
- Fill out the Driver License or Identification Card Application
- Have one proof of your Social Security Number:
- Social Security card
- Military ID card
- Have one proof of your full name (only originals or certified copies):
- Birth certificate
- U.S. passport
- Marriage certificate/divorce decree (if name changed)
- Have one proof of your birthdate/legal presence in the United States (only originals or certified copies):
- U.S. passport
- U.S. birth certificate
- Get your thumbprint taken
- Get your picture taken
- Pay the $33 fee:
- CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards
- Pass written permit test, which will give you the driving permit (to be used to practice for your driving exam)
- Pass the driving exam with a vehicle that has proof of car registration and car insurance
How to Apply for a Drivers License as a Non-CitizenThe application process for non-citizens is very similar to that of U.S. citizens. However, you must show proof of the following items to complete adrivers license application:
- One proof of Social Security:
- Social Security card
- Medicare card
- One proof of date of birth and legal presence (only originals or certified copies):
- Birth certificate
- Permanent resident card
- Limited Term (LT) license, if your birth date/legal presence document expires in less than five years from your drivers license application date.
- Full drivers license, if your BD/LP document expires more than five years from your application date.
Buying a CarIf you are looking to buy a car after getting your drivers license, there are a many things to consider. Purchasing a vehicle can be a difficult process. It takes research, work, and above all, it can be extremely time-consuming. The first thing you want to do is ask yourself these questions:
- How long is my commute?
- How many seats do I need?
- How important is performance/safety?
- Avoid the salespeople at dealerships.
- Compare multiple quotes without going from dealer to dealer.