CALIFORNIA DMV TEST - FAQ

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS


Who needs a California driver license?


California residents who drives on public roadways in California.

Exceptions:


Residents who drive implements of husbandry, unless they are operated or moved over a highway;
Officer or employee of the US Government driving a vehicle owned by the US on federal business, except for commercial motor vehicles;
Residents driving an off-highway vehicle across a highway.

What do I need to do to obtain a California driver license?


You must not have any outstanding actions on your record;
You must pay the tuition fee;
You must pass the knowledge and vision tests;
You must show that you mental/physical condition is satisfactory;
You must demonstrate your ability to drive safely.

I am a new resident in California. Do I need a California Driver License?


Yes, if you want to drive in California you must apply for a California driver license within 10 days.

How is residency in California established?


You are considered a California resident if you:
are registered to vote in California elections;
pay residents tuition at a California college/university;
fill for a home owner’s property tax exemption;
receive any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to non-residents.


AGE REQUIREMENTS


What is the age requirement to apply for a California driver license?


You must be at least 18 years old.

I am 18 years old. Can I obtain a California instruction permit while learning to drive?


Yes, if you are at least 18 years old, meet the application requirements and pass the required vision and knowledge tests.

I have a California instruction permit. Do I have any restriction?


Yes. If you drive with an instruction permit you must be accompanied by a California licensed driver who is at least 18 years old. Your accompanying driver must be seated close enough so that he/she is able to take control of the vehicle if needed.

I have a California instruction permit and I want to obtain a California driver license. What do I have to do?


When you are ready you have to make an appointment with a DMV field office to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. Remember to bring your instruction permit with you.

I am at least 15 ½ years old and under 18 years old. Can I obtain a California driver license?


No, you can obtain a minor provisional permit. Your application must be signed by your parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and you must pass the knowledge test. You must also provide proof that you completed driver education or that you are enrolled in an approved driver education program.

When is my provisional minor permit valid?


You provisional permit is valid when you start your behind-the-wheel driver training with an instructor. He/she will have to sign it to validate it.

I have a minor provisional permit. Do I have any restriction?


Yes. You are not allowed to drive alone at anytime.

I am at least 16 years old, I have a provisional minor permit and I have completed 50 hours of supervised driving practice (certified on my instruction permit). Can I apply for a minor driver license?


Yes. In order to obtain a minor driver license you must prove that you have finished both driver education and driver training and you must pass the behind-the-wheel driving test.

I have obtained a minor driver license. Can I drive alone?


Yes, as long as you do not have any collisions or traffic violations on your driving record. However, you cannot drive between 11pm and 5am and when you are alone you cannot transport passengers younger than 20 years old.

I am 18 years old and I have a valid minor driver license. What do I have to do?


When you turn 18 the restrictions on your driver license are no longer valid. If you wish, you can pay a fee for a duplicate driver license without the word “provisional”.

I did not pass the knowledge test or the behind-the-wheel driving test. Can I obtain a California driver license?


No.


DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS


Do I have to prove my California residency in order to apply for a California driver license?


Yes, in order to apply for a California driver license you need to submit satisfactory proof of California residency.

Which documents do I need to present in order to apply for a California driver license?


Documents establishing your identity, residency and birthdate (US Birth Certificate, US Passport, Permanent Resident Card, foreign Passport with a valid I-94);
Social security number.
You will also have to provide your fingerprint, signature and photograph.

The name on my document is different from the name on my driver license application. What do I have to do?


You must present an acceptable full name document containing your legal name before and after (adoption documents, name change documents, marriage certificate…).

Where do I find the complete list of accepted documents in order to apply for a California driver license?


The full list is available at www.dmv.ca.gov or in the “Documents Required to Apply for a Driver License (FFDL 5A) Fast Facts” brochure.


CALIFORNIA KNOWLEDGE, VISION AND DRIVING TESTS


Which are the required tests that I must pass in order to obtain a California driver license?


Vision test
Knowledge test
Behind-the-wheel driving test

Where can I can take the knowledge, vision and behind-the-wheel tests?


You can take your tests at most DMV offices in California that provide driver license services.

Do I have to make an appointment to take one or more of the required tests?


Yes, you can do it online at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours.

Do I have to provide a vehicle to take the behind-the-wheel driving test?


Yes. The vehicle must be safe to drive and have a valid registration. You must also bring proof that the vehicle is properly insured.

Can I use a rental vehicle to take my behind-the-wheel driving test?


Yes, but be sure that you are listed on the rental contract. The contract must also not exclude driving tests.


I HAVE A DRIVER LICENSE, BUT…


I am visiting California and I have a valid driver license issued by my home state or country. Do I need a California driver license?


No, if you are over 18 years old you can drive in California as long as your home driver license is valid.

I have a driver license issued by another state or US territory and I want to apply for a California driver license. Do I need to take the behind-the-wheel test?


No, this test is normally waived.

I have a driver license issued by another country and I want to apply for a California driver license. Do I need to take the behind-the-wheel test?


Yes, the behind-the-wheel driving test is mandatory if you have an out-of country driver license.

My California driver license is lost, stolen or damaged. What do I have to do?


You can get a replacement. You have to go to a DMV office in California, complete the Driver License Application form and pay the fee.

I have a valid California driver license but I legally changed my name. What do I have to do?


You must change your name with SSA before bringing your driver license to DMV in order to get a new driver license with you updated information. You will have to provide an acceptable verification of your name, complete the Driver License Application form and pay the applicable fee.

I have a valid California driver license but I changed my address. What do I have to do?


You must notify DMV of your new address within 10 days.