This Step: Get a Drivers License

Driver's License Checklist

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    Get a Drivers License in California

    Depending on your age, you can apply for either a provisional or interim license. Both require that you pay the CA DMV a visit and pass a road test. If you are applying for an interim license and haven't yet taken your written test or vision test, plan on taking those as well during your visit.

    A) Make an Appointment

    Make an appointment online to submit your paperwork and take the driving test. No appointment, no road test.

    Find Your Local DMV Office

    B) Take the Road Test

    As you quickly approach the last hurdle before getting your license, be sure you have the following in check. To take the CA driving test, you must:

    • Be at least 16 years old on the day of your scheduled road test
    • Have held your California instruction permit for at least 6 months
    • Show proof of auto insurance
    • Have completed driver education, 6 hours of professional driver training AND 50 hours of practice behind the wheel.

    Get Your California Driver's License

    Provisional License―16 years old and Up

    After passing the driving test, you will receive a temporary license valid for 90 days while you wait for your new photo license to arrive in the mail. If you do not receive your CA Provisional License by mail after 60 days, contact the CA DMV to check on its status. Keep your temporary license handy when you make the call.

    If you don't pass, you can retest in 2 weeks. The state gives you 3 chances to pass the road test before starting the application process over. When you return to the CA DMV, be prepared to pay a retest fee and show your proof of auto insurance.

    Interim Drivers License―over 18

    The steps to get a regular drivers license for those over 18 years old are not that different from those required for younger teens. The biggest difference is that you don't need drivers ed, professional driver training and documented practice hours to get a license. You will only need the following:

    Pass the written test and you'll receive a permit so you can practice driving. Just be sure you always have an accompanying adult (18 years old or older) who holds a valid California license.

    Once you feel comfortable enough behind the wheel that you could ace a road test, make another appointment at the CA DMV to take your driving test. Be sure you bring proof of insurance (financial responsibility). After you pass the exam, you'll receive an interim license valid for 90 days while you wait for your new photo license to arrive by mail.

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