How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

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How To Get a Driver’s License in California? 

Obtaining a driver’s license is crucial to experiencing absolute freedom. If you are a first-timer, such as a learner’s permit holder or someone who has recently moved to California, you must obtain a driver’s license. Many people are uncertain about the required documentation and the process to get a driver’s license in California. In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive guide on California driver’s licenses, written tests, behind-the-wheel training and tests, and everything else.  

What are the Requirements to Get a driver’s license in California?  

  • Eligibility Criteria  

If you live in California and want to get a driver’s license, you must meet certain requirements set by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Generally, you need to be at least 16 years old, have a valid Social Security number, and meet any medical or legal status requirements.  

  • Age Requirements  

To get a driver’s license in California, there are age requirements that you need to meet. If you are a teenager, you can apply for a provisional license when you turn 16. To do this, you must have completed driver’s education and held a learner’s permit for at least six months. In addition, you need to have completed a certain number of supervised driving hours. For adults aged 18 and older, you can apply directly for a full driver’s license without needing to have a provisional license first.  

  • Residency and Citizenship Status  

To apply, you need to show that you live in California and are legally present in the United States. Some documents that prove residency include a utility bill, rental agreement, or mortgage statement. You can use a valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, or permanent resident card to prove citizenship status.  

  • Required Documents for California Driver’s License Application 

Here are the details of all the important documents you will need to apply for a driver’s license in California. 

Completed driver’s license application form  

Proof of identity and date of birth 

  • Birth certificate  
  • Passport  
  • Other government-issued ID with photo and date of birth  

Proof of Social Security number 

  • Social Security card  
  • W-2 form  
  • Paystub with full SSN  

Proof of California residency 

  • Utility bill  
  • Bank statement  
  • Lease agreement  
  • Rent receipt  
  • Other government documents showing California address  

Additional documentation may be required based on, 

  • Legal name changes (marriage certificate, court order)  
  • Non-citizen status (permanent resident card, visa)  

Always check the DMV website for the latest and complete list.  

How to Prepare for the Written Test to Pass California DL 

If you want to get a driver’s license in California, you need to pass a written test. To do well, you should study hard using the California Driver Handbook. It covers important topics like traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving practices. You can also find helpful resources online and practice exams to test your knowledge and improve your skills.   

It’s important to allocate enough time to study and focus on understanding the key concepts instead of memorizing them. Practice exams can help you get used to the test format and build your confidence. By following a structured study approach and using the available resources, you can significantly increase your chances of passing the written test and getting your California driver’s license.  

Scheduling and Taking the Written Test for California driver’s license   

Where can I schedule a written test? 

Online: Visit the California DMV website  

Phone: Call the DMV on 1-800-777-0133.  

In person: Visit your local DMV office.  

How to Schedule your appointment? 

  • Select “Apply for a driver’s license” or “Apply for a permit,” depending on your situation.  
  • Choose your preferred location and date.  
  • Select an available time slot.  
  • Confirm your appointment details and schedule it.  

Things to remember before taking Written test to get California DL 

  • Bring your appointment confirmation, required documents, and any approved testing aids (if applicable).  
  • Pay the testing fee (if applicable).  
  • The test is computer-based, with 46 multiple-choice questions. You need a minimum score of 38 to pass.  

Finding a Driving School for Behind-the-Wheel Training  

  • Start by searching online or asking for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have recently obtained their driver’s licenses. Make sure to find one that offers online free driver’s ed. 
  • Look for driving schools that are licensed and accredited by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Read reviews and testimonials from previous students to gauge their satisfaction and overall experience.  
  • Ensure that the driving school employs experienced and certified driving instructors who are knowledgeable about California driving laws and regulations.  
  • Evaluate the cost of behind-the-wheel training packages offered by different driving schools. Consider factors such as the number of hours of instruction, vehicle rental fees, and any additional services included in the package.  

Behind-the-Wheel Exam Step by Step Process 

DMV Appointment Process 

What is the Eligibility to take the driving test at DMV? 

  • Hold a valid learner’s permit for at least six months (unless you have completed a DMV-approved driver’s education program).  
  • Meet all vision and hearing requirements.  
  • Provide proof of car insurance.  

How to Schedule a Behind the Wheel Driving Test? 

Online: Visit the California DMV website   

Phone: Call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133.  

In-person: Visit your local DMV office.  

Steps to schedule a driving test 

  • Select “Schedule a Drive Test”.  
  • Choose your preferred location and date.  
  • Select an available time slot.  
  • Confirm your appointment details and schedule it.  

Tips for Scheduling your Behind the Wheel Driving test in California 

  • Schedule well in advance as appointments fill up quickly.  
  • Reschedule or cancel online or by phone at least one business day before your appointment to avoid cancellation fees.  
  • Arrive on time with your learner’s permit, proof of insurance, and the vehicle you will be using for the test.  

How much Time will it take to Receive a Driver’s License in California? 

The processing time for receiving your driver’s license after passing the behind-the-wheel exam can vary depending on several factors, including your location, current workload at the DMV, and whether you choose standard or expedited processing. Generally, expect 2-4 weeks for standard processing and up to a week for expedited processing (additional fees may apply). You can check the estimated processing time for your state on the DMV website.  

Do I get Temporary Licenses after Passing the Driving test in California? 

After successfully passing the driving test, the DMV will issue you a temporary driver’s license. This temporary license is valid for 60 days until you receive your permanent driver’s license in the mail, which typically takes around 3-4 weeks to arrive. Always carry your temporary license with you when driving during this period.  


There is no need to worry about getting your California DL, as most people get it on their first try. However, it’s important to acquire the license and keep it on you before you start driving. In this blog, we have provided a complete guide to getting your driving license in California. Just follow all the steps we mention in the blog and get a lot of driving practice before the behind-the-wheel test.   

If you are looking for a reputable and trustworthy driving school in Los Angeles, Click2Drive is the best choice. We have years of experience in the field and expert instructors that can help you easily get your driving license in California. So, try searching for “best behind-the-wheel driver training near me,” and you will find us. 

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