In the State of California, obtaining the coveted Driver's License is a two-part process. First, for teens, you must obtain your Learner's Permit. Second, you must train and practice your driving to be able to pass the DMV behind-the-wheel test. Upon passing, you will be issued your California Driver's License.
- Must be 15 1/2 years of age or older
- Must have completed a Driver's Education and be able to present a DMV Completion Certificate (in some states, adults may not have to take this course)
- At the time of application, applicant must provide:
- Two documents proving California Residency
- A completed DL 44 form with all required signatures
- DMV Completion Certificate
- Social Security Number
- Proof of Identity and Birth Date
- Thumbprint and a picture must be taken
- Must pay an application fee
- Must pass a vision exam
- Must pass a written traffic laws test
(For examples of documents that can be presented for proof of residency, birth date, etc., check out the DMV's website.)
For teenagers, a driver's education course is required. This can be taken online or in a classroom, and upon completion, a Certificate of Completion will be issued. Teenagers must present this certificate in order to apply for their permit.
Prospective permit-holders should make an appointment with their local DMV office. At the appointment, applicants are required to provide all required documentation and take the knowledge test. This written test examines knowledge of traffic rules and regulations. Applicants must answer a certain number of questions correctly to be deemed as passing.
When the applicant passes, they will be issued their California Learner's Permit, which is validated after their first lesson with a licensed driving instructor.
In possession of the Learner's Permit, a driver can drive within the state of California as long as they are accompanied by a licensed driver age 25 years or older. They may not drive alone with their permit.
- Must be 16 years of age or older
- Must have held their Learner's Permit for six months or more
- Must have completed six hours of formal driver's education with a licensed driving instructor, and must provide a Completion Certificate
- Must have completed at least 50 hours of practice (10 of these hours at night) with an adult who is licensed and 25 years of age or older
- Must provide vehicle registration and insurance documents
For teens applying for their license, they are required to complete six hours of behind-the-wheel driver's education with a DMV-certified driving school. (Check out our behind-the-wheel lesson packages to complete this requirement with the most qualified driving school in the Sacramento region).
Teenagers are also required to complete 50 hours of practice with a licensed adult.
Applicants should book an appointment at the DMV for their behind-the-wheel test. At their appointment, applicants should provide all required documentation, and they will be set to start their test.
During the test, a DMV examiner will ride with the applicant and will evaluate their driving abilities, specifically paying attention to the applicant's ability to control the vehicle, identify vehicle features, drive defensively, and perform various driving maneuvers. Points are marked off for any errors, classified as major or minor. Applicants must be able to demonstrate safe driving, and can only make a few minor errors and no major errors to be able to pass.
When an applicant passes their driver's test, they will be issued a temporary license. The actual provisional license will arrive in the mail in the days after.
Drivers with their provisional license are allowed to drive by themselves, but must abide by specific restrictions for a period of twelve months or until they reach 18 years of age, whichever comes first:
- Must not drive with passengers under the age of 20 without a licensed driver 25 years of age or older present
- Must not drive between 11 pm and 5 am
For more information on the process of getting your license, and for information about getting your driver's license as an adult (over 18 years of age), click on the following links: