Pass Your DMV Test
Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California
Obtaining an instruction permit is generally the first step that a beginner driver takes toward becoming a fully licensed driver in California. You are eligible to apply for a provisional permit if you are at least 15 Â½ years but less than 18 years old, or an instruction permit if you are at least 18 years old, and:
- you have never been licensed to operate a vehicle, or
- you are a new resident of California who has been licensed in another state, but your driver's license has expired
HOW TO OBTAIN AN ORIGINAL INSTRUCTION/PROVISIONAL PERMIT
- Download a copy of the California Driver's Manual, or get a hard copy by visiting a local DMV office.
- Submit the proper form(s) for driver education/driver training classes
- Pass a traffic laws and sign test.
- Visit your local DMV office to submit the application. You must submit:
- The completed Form DL-44 signed by your parent or guardian. This form is not provided online and is available only at the DMV offices.
- If you are under 18 years of age, the DL-44 form must be signed by a parent or guardian.
- Provide proof of birth date and legal presence. If you have changed your name, you must bring documents that support and clearly indicate your current name.
- Provide proof of Social Security Number.
- Have your thumbprint and photograph taken.
- Pay the correct fee at the DMV office. DMV offices accept cash, money orders, checks and debit cards.
- If you are 17 Â½ years old or younger, you will have to provide proof that you are enrolled in or have completed an approved driver education and/or driver training program by submitting the appropriate forms.
- You will be given a traffic laws and signs written test and an eye screening at the DMV office. If you pass these tests, you will be issued an instruction permit that will be valid for 12 months.
When driving with an instruction/provisional permit you must always be accompanied by a California-licensed driver age of 25 or older. This person must sit beside you in the passenger seat and be ready to take control of the vehicle, if needed..
THE PROVISIONAL LICENSE
If you are under 18 and at least 16 years old, you must satisfy the following conditions before you can take the driver's license road test.
- Wait at least six months after being issued your provisional permit
- Complete a driver education course
- Complete at least 6 hours of professional driver training
- Complete a minimum of 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving experience, 10 of which should be at night (under direct supervision of an experienced adult driver who is 25 years or older)
You must also provide proof of financial responsibility before taking the road test. If you fail the driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take the test again. You have three chances to pass the road test. Once you pass the road test, you will be issued a provisional license. The provisional driver's license in California includes the following restrictions (with certain exceptions) for the first 12 months:
- Minors must be accompanied by a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old when driving between 11 pm and 5 am.
- Minors must be accompanied by a licensed adult who is at least 25 years old when driving with passengers who are younger than 20 years of age.
- If you accumulate two or more points in 12 months, a 30-day restriction will be placed on your license.
- If you accumulate three or more points in 12 months, your license will be suspended for six-months and you will be under probation for one year. Apart from this, the court may also require you to pay fines or fulfill community service requirements depending on the type of violation.
THE UNRESTRICTED LICENSE
A full, unrestricted license may be issued when you are at least 18 years old. A provisional license will convert to a regular license when you turn 18, provided you are not under any suspension or restriction for driving violations.
For additional information about changing a provisional driver's license to a regular, unrestricted California driver's license, see Provisional Instruction Permit or Driver License Information.
- For more information, see our Beginner Drivers section
- See also Applying for a Drivers License.
- See also Driver's Education, Driving Schools and Practice Tests
- Learn more about California's Licensing Requirements for Young Drivers.
- Bear in mind that in order to drive legally in the state of California, you must have valid auto insurance. See our Auto Insurance section for more information, or to obtain a competitive quote on car insurance.