How to get a California driver's license
So, you’re all set to be a California resident. Here are your next steps to getting your license:
1. Schedule an Appointment
There are two ways to book an appointment with California DMV: get an appointment from the DMV office or make an appointment online. The appointment can be scheduled for both:
- In-office tests
- Behind-the-wheels driving tests
2. Fill Out Your California Driver's License Application
Before your appointment with your local DMV, it’s essential to fill out the Drivers License Form (Form DL-44). You can get this form from the DMV office or fill it out on the California DMV’s website online. With your form now complete, you can go for your appointment at the DMV office where a representative will verify it.
3. Furnish Your Personal Information
There are several documents required by DMV – proof of residency, social security number, and more – to verify your identity. Make sure you get the following documents in order when heading to the DMV office.
- Proof of your full legal name
- Social Security number
- An original or certified document that proves what your birth date is.
- Two documents that prove your residency in California.
You can check the full list of documents that can be accepted here.
4. Make the License Fee Payment
So, you’ve finally filled out your California ID Application. But before you take your written knowledge test, you will have to pay a $37 license fee. For this fee, you can get three attempts to give the written knowledge and driving test within a span of 12 months.
5. Pass the Vision Exam
The vision is an essential part of driving which is why you need to take a vision test before getting your license. You need to have a minimum of 20/40 vision to pass the vision test.
6. Take the Written Knowledge Test
The final step to getting your license is to take the written test. The California DMV lets you make three attempts for this. If you don’t pass the test, you will have to reapply. To make sure you perform well in your test, you can train here.
7. Get Your Driver's License
While you’re waiting for your photo driver's license to arrive, you will get an interim driver’s license that you can use for 90 days. A photo license typically arrives within 60 days of your test.
By following these steps, you are good to go with acquiring your new California license. If you haven’t applied for a driver’s license before, there’s just one extra to take care of - passing the driving test.
Quick Note: Newcomers from other countries who have their driver’s permit will have to pass the driving skills test as well as those who do not have driver’s permission yet. One more important point is that your former state driver’s permission will be nullified after you obtain the local driver’s permit and register a car in CA.