Ready to start driving? Your Provisional instruction permit, also known as the California Learner’s permit, is the first place to start! Today will go over everything you need to know about getting your permit!
Yes! Under California’s Graduated Driver’s License Program, every first-time driver needs to drive under a provisional permit for at least six months, regardless of age.
Just moved here? If you already have a valid driver’s license from another state, you can turn it in for your California Driver’s License. You will not have to start with a permit.
If you are at least 15 1/2, you qualify to submit your application for a California driver’s permit. There are additional requirements depending on your age as well.
You will need to fill out the California Permit Application DL-44 and have your parents or legal guardians sign it. When they sign, they are pledging that they will take financial responsibility for you on their auto insurance.
***Important Note. While you are not required to be actively enrolled in a behind-the-wheel driver’s training course prior to applying, it is recommended. Your permit will not be valid until you enroll in a behind-the-wheel driver training program OR turn 17 ½.
Once you meet the requirements listed above, you’ll need to collect the following documents to take with you to the CA DMV. All proof documents MUST be readable original copies. Photocopies or originals that cannot be read due to damage will not be accepted.
We recommend booking an appointment with your nearest California DMV office. Some locations won’t let you in if you don’t book in advance. It’s also a huge time saver at other locations! Test areas will not administer the written test after 4:30 pm, so it pays to have an appointment ahead of time. You can also read our guide on the best time(s) to go to the DMV.
The CA DMV makes the process fairly quick and simple.
The California knowledge test is a written exam that tests your knowledge of driving laws, driver’s safety, and the ability to identify street signs. It consists of 46 questions, and you must answer at least 38 questions correctly to pass.
If you fail the written exam, you can retake it seven days later.
Check if you’re ready for your test with our free practice test!
Your permit is not valid until you are in a certified driver training program. Your instructor will sign the card to validate it.
First, you have to practice under your California provisional instruction permit. This gives you time to practice behind the wheel before you apply for an unrestricted license. Before you can apply for your unrestricted license:
After this, you qualify to apply for your unrestricted license.
Getting your California driving permit is an exciting milestone. Don’t get held up by re-tests! Check out our easy-to-understand California DMV manual and practice tests.