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Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

Learners Permit

The process of obtaining your CA driving permit can be intimidating. Thus, it is important for you to familiarize yourself with the tasks you are about to engage in. Preparation and patience are key when it comes to getting your new learners permit. To obtain a new drivers license in California, you must obtain a learners permit first.

More Important Information on Learner's Permit

Age Requirements

Getting your drivers permit is really not so difficult. The first things you have to remember are the age requirements:

  • Driver 15-16 years old: must take a drivers ed course to get a driving permit
  • Drivers 16-17 years old: eligible for a provisional driver license when you complete a drivers ed course
  • Drivers 17-18 years old: can apply for a provisional driving permit without any drivers training
  • Drivers over 18 years old: can apply for a drivers license without getting a permit for driving

New to California?

If you have completed out-of-state drivers training, having a learners permit from another state is not considered sufficient proof. In addition, you will have to fill out or obtain one of the following in order to display your driving capacity and obtain a CA permit:

  • Form DL 33 (To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools)
  • A letter from the out-of-state secondary school confirming your drivers education

CA Driving Permit Requirements

In order to obtain a permit for driving in California, you will have to first complete:

  • 30 hours of classroom instruction
  • Six hours of drivers training

This can be done through high school classes, state-licensed courses or online programs in California, but they must all be state approved. Once training is complete, you must make an appointment at one of the various California DMV locations, because you cannot get a drivers permit online.

How to Get a Learners Permit

Once you arrive at the Department of Motor Vehicles office, you will have to provide the following documents:

  • A filled-out Driver License or Identification Car Application
    • A parent or guardian must sign the form if you are under 18
  • One proof of full true name(only originals or certified copies):
    • Birth certificate
    • U.S. passport
    • Marriage certificate/divorce decree (if name changed)
  • One proof of Social Security Number:
    • Social Security card
    • Medicare card
    • U.S. Armed Forces Identification Card
  • One proof of birth date/legal presence (only originals or certified copies):
    • Passport
    • Certificate of naturalization
    • Certificate of citizenship
    • Birth certificate
    • Green Card a.k.a. I-551 Form (non-U.S. citizens)
    • I-551 stamp on passport (non-U.S. citizens)
  • Drivers Ed Certificate (if you are younger than 17-and-a-half)

It is only after you provide the necessary identification documents that you can go through the main portions of the process to obtain your learners permit:

  1. Pass a vision test
  2. Pass the written knowledge test
  3. Get your photo taken
  4. Give your thumbprint
  5. Pay the drivers permit application fee:
    • The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards

Drivers Education

In order to obtain a drivers license or learning permit, it is crucial that you are educated in all things related to the road. In fact, it is required for all teens between 15-and-a-half years old and 17-and-a-half years old in the state of California to take a drivers ed course. You have to read the California Driver's Manual to fully understand the rules and signs of the road.
Not feeling so confident in your ability to pass the test? Worried that you might miss out on obtaining a driving license and all of the privileges that come with it because you are not prepared? With our drivers education courses, the test is in the bag. These in-depth classes will teach you everything you need to know to pass the test, from on-road to off-road facts. So don't waste any time. Register for drivers ed today.

Study Guides and Practice Tests

By brushing up on your knowledge with a Driver's Study Guide, you will be able to familiarize yourself with all of the important practice permit test topics. In addition, while continuing your studies is an important process of pursuing a driving permit, getting to know your strengths and weaknesses is just as crucial. To best apply your knowledge before you hand in your drivers permit application, it's highly recommended you take at least one learners permit practice test. Each exam comes with questions straight from the California Driver's Handbook, so you can become familiarized what is going to be on the exam. These practice tests, along with all of your studying, are sure to help you ace the real exam. Furthermore, as soon as you see that you have mastered the practice prompts, you can make your appointment at the DMV to take the written knowledge test. Your success is guaranteed.

California Written Knowledge Exam

The biggest thing standing in the way of you obtaining your driving permit is the written test. The driving exam, which requires you to demonstrate your road skills comes later, when you are applying for a new drivers license. However, as you can surely see, you will need to pass both of these driving exams at one point or another. The good news is that both of these drivers tests will feature material that you can find in the California Driver's Manual. Sections you should familiarize yourself with include:

  • Traffic laws.
  • Traffic signs.
  • Safe driving methods.

In order to pass the written driving exam, you will have to answer 38 of the 46 questions correctly. You have three chances to pass.
Note: DMV written exams are only available in person. You cannot take the test online.

Locate a DMV

While the idea of getting drivers permit documents is very exciting, you do not want to forget to find at least one or two nearby DMV locations that you can visit to take your upcoming tests. You are going to have to take your written exam and your road skills test very soon, so make sure that you browse the various branches that are available to you, and see which one you like best.

CA Learners Permit Restrictions

A driving permit will provide you with a freedom that you have never experienced before, but that does not mean that it comes without limitations. For example, with a provisional permit, it is still illegal for any young driver to operate a vehicle without:

  • A parent.
  • A guardian.
  • A spouse.
  • An adult that is not at least 25 years old.

Furthermore, all of these potential supervisors must have a California driving license.

How to Replace a Lost Learning Permit

In the event you misplace your learners permit, you will have to go to the California Department of Motor Vehicles office to ask for a replacement. When you do so, be sure to bring all of the required identification documents that you used to apply for your original driving permit. Furthermore, there is no cost for a replacement. However, if your learning permit expires, you will be required to apply for a driving permit all over again, submitting the same documents and paying the $33 drivers permit application fee with cash, a check, a money order, or a debit/ATM card.

How to Renew a Driving Permit

If your permit for driving a vehicle has expired, you are required to go through the entire process of applying for a new driving permit. That means that you will be asked to:

  • Provide the necessary documentation.
  • Pass the various exams.
  • Pay the applicable fees.
  • Have a parent or guardian sign the application (if you are under 18).

Car Insurance

If you are ever driving down a common California street, and get pulled over by a cop, you could face repercussions without car insurance.You may face traffic fines in the near future, and they won't be easy to pay. Additionally, you can also end up with a suspended drivers license. So whether you are interested in getting your CA drivers permit or applying for a new drivers license, always remember that you need car insurance. It is illegal to drive in the state of California without proper auto coverage. Make sure that you get a car insurance quote from our fully-stocked and customized Insurance Center so that you can get on the road and remove any worry from your mind.

Related Links

Reviews of Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

I am 16 and I was emancipated a few days ago. I know that I do not have to do most of the requirements to obtain a permit, I just want to know if i have to have a certificate of completion to take the test. I've recently read that emancipated minors can go about the driving stuff as if they were over 18. Please help!

Hello, I am 19 and just failed my 3 chances at the written test. Do I need to wait the 1week to retake it since I am over 18? Also do I HAVE to have an appointment for the written test or can I just walk in? Thank you in advance for your help! :)

do i need to take any papers in when i go to retake the written test

What happens when you get your permit on the 31st? I got mine on December 31st, I scheduled an appointment for June 30th (since obviously there's no 31st in June) for my license is that correct? Or am I not eligible? Should it be on June 30th or July 1st? Someone please help!

I have the provisional license and the restriction is for the first 12 months no passenger but if I turn 18 before the 12 monthes are over does the provisional restriction still apply even though is say provisional until 18?

I am 16 but do not have someone who is 25 years atleast I am alittle worried

I am 16 and wishing to get my permit

Why does my learner's permit valid only less than a year? But my brothers learner's permit valid for one year

im 15 1/2 and i want to get my license or whatever i need to drive but i heard that i need to take a class of drivers ed but i don't know where to take it i asked at my school but they told me that they don't have that class anymore where can i go ?

hi i am 18 i have had my permit for a year i didnt take behind-the-wheel classes do i still need to do that or not?

Can you get another copy of your permit if you lost the original one

I'm older than 17 and 1/2 but younger than 18, I have my permit, so do I have to continue waiting out the six months or until I turn 18 before I can apply for a license or can I apply for a license now even though I haven't had my permit for a full six months?

I just turned 18 and i've had my permit for 9 months now but don't know if i should wait for three more months or just go ahead and get my license?

I'm 17 and a half, I had my permit like 3 months ago so can I drive to school and back by myself or with a person that had their permit too?

I'm 17 and 1/2 now, I got my permit 3 months ago and I didn't want to take driver education because I didn't want to spend my $200 something for 2 months longer .... But now I want to take the driver education to get my license earlier so can I pay for driver education for 3 months? because I been driving with an adult who is over 25 years old and valid listener so I'm really good at driving now.

Can my 17 year old brother take me to retake my permit test if my parents already signed the paper?

Hi. So I will be turning 17 in December. Do I really have to take the driver training classes? And if so, for how many hours?

I have taken my provisional test 3 times and failed. I am not a good test taker. What do you recommend?

I just moved to California 2 months ago and I have a Tennessee learner's permit. Is that valid in California or do I have to go through the whole process again?

can i take my driving test if my check engine ight is on.????

I will be turning 17&1/2 in two weeks and I've had my permit for about 9 months. My parents have not paid for me to take behind-the-wheel training and my permit expires in June. Will I still need to take the behind-the-wheel even after I turn 17&1/2?

If i am 18 already and have my permit, can i drive with a licensed driver that is 18 years old? or do they have to be 25 years or older with a valid license?

hey i just turn 17 in January 27,2012 i have my permit but do i have to wait 6 months before i take the driving test or can i just take the drivers education

hi im 15 1/2 and im going to take my permit test and i was wondering, what happens if you lost your pink slip that your instructor gave you when you took a drivers ed class in high school.

hi, im 16 1/2 and im really confused right now, i got my permit a week ago, and i couldnt understand the stupid armenian lady who said i passed the test, and she was tellling me something but i didnt understand, she said i needed to complete a driving lesson with an instructor before im able to drive with or parent or something, idk if this is true, because i just called a driving school right now and they only give 6 hour driving lessons and they are saying i dont need to take a 2 hour driving lesson with a instructor for me to be able to drive with an adult or parent, idk, this is confusing help someone?

You do need to. My boyfriend had to take a 2 hour thing the day he got his permit. It's with an instructor and it's just to make sure you know what you're doing and to make sure the parent isn't telling you wrong things. (I believe that last part on the parent is right) It's been a while since he told me and I haven't been through the process myself yet. But I know for sure that those two hours are required.

I turned 15 in October, can I take my written test when I get my pink slip from drivers ed course?

I got my permit when I was 16, I'm 17 1/2 and I've had my permit for over six months now. do I still need to do 6hours of behind the wheel to take my driving test?

Im 17 1/2 if I go in and take my written test at the dmv do I have to wait until im 18 to get my lisence or can I soon take my behind after I get my permit?

When you turn 15 1/2 does the DMV consider you 15 1/2 by the month or day?


hi i'm turning 15 in april... but im short.... and i'm worried that i cant touch the pedal in the car because i am 4'11 (height) do you think i can still take the drivers test?..... and when do i take the permit test anddddd when do you think i should start studying the book... and to practice to drive..

Hi im short to but all you have to do is scoot your seat up and youll be able to reach the seat just fine. Yes you will be able to still take the drivers test. Take the permit test after you've finished your drivers education. Study the book now the more you study it the greater chance you have at passing the written test.

I'm over 17 and 1/2 and i have had my permit for over 6ths months and i have had 2 of my behind-the-wheel trainings but do i have to do my third behind the wheel training?

I am 15 turning 15 and a half next month and i am wondering how long does drivers ed take before i can actually take the test and how long should i wait before starting drivers ed

if i have a court date for driving without a license and im a minor, but will be 18 in another month, can i take a drivers license test before my court date? do i have to get a permit first? even if im a month away from being an adult? if so, should i wait until im 18 or get the permit/license before court? does it make a difference?

If i'm 17 and a half and i just got my permit about 2 days ago and i also took driver's ed, do i still have to hold the permit for 6 months before being able to take the behind-the-wheel test or can i just go in in about a month or so to get my liscence?

So I just past my drivers test. I'm 17 1/2 and I have my provisional liscence. It says I can only drive by myself or only with ppl 20yrs of age and older ect.. can I drive my baby boy who is 1yr 6months?? He's my son is that an exception??

Yes,Its An Exception.

Okay so if I turned 17 1/2 on October 2011. If i were to go to the DMV to get my permit would i still have to wait the 6 months or will I be able to get my license once I turn 18 with out finishing the 6 months?

what if you've been holding a permit for 4 months already and i'm turning 17 1/2 in december can I take my behind the wheel test earlier than 6 months?

After you fail the written permit test 3 times ,How long must you wait to retake it again?

Can I be my grandaughters driver instructor? shes 15 1/2 yrs old

do i need to bring my parents with me when i retake my written exam

do i have to bring my parents with me if i need to retake my permit.

So say I turned 15 on May 31st will I have to wait until November 30 to receive my permit?

Can i take the drivers test as soon as i turn 17 and a half? (When i turn 17 and a half i would have had my permit for about five months.

Do have to do the 6 hours or can I just keep the provisaional permit until im 18 it's only valid for 12 months so after that can I get it again im only 16 until I'm 18?

so hard to get thru ur 1-800 number for behind the wheel driving test. When it comes to my permit number, it seems that the operator would not want to hear it. my permit no. is D9815485. Pls schedule me

should'nt this page also include what can you do if you lost your permit? bacause i can't find my permit and i dont know what to do? if to go to a near office and just ask for a copy pr do i must re take the exam?