What age can I obtain a driver’s license?
- 15 ½ years old: Must take driver’s education to get a provisional permit.
- 16 years old: Eligible for an intermediate license (with completion of driver’s education).
- 17½ Years Old: Allowed to apply for a provisional permit without taking driver’s education.
- 18 Years and Older: Allowed to apply for a driver’s license without getting a learner’s permit.
What is driver’s education?
Driver’s Ed (or driver’s education) is required for all California teens between 15 ½ and 17 ½ years old. If you have reached the age of 17 ½, you may apply for your permit without having to complete a driver’s education course, but it is highly recommended that you go through a certified driver’s education program to fully prepare yourself to pass the DMV driver’s test and for more experience on the road.
What is a provisional instruction permit?
You may use your provisional instruction permit to practice with a parent, guardian, licensed driver 25 years of age or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor. This person must have a valid driver’s license in their possession and must sit close enough to take control of the vehicle at any time. A provisional instruction permit does not let you drive alone — not even to a DMV office to take the driving test.
If you have an instruction permit that allows you to drive mopeds or motorcycles (or any 2-wheel vehicle), you:
- Cannot carry passengers.
- Must ride during daylight only.
- Cannot ride on any freeway.
What are the requirements to obtain a provisional instruction permit?
To apply for a provisional permit, you will need the following:
- Be at least 15 ½, but under 18 years of age
- Visit a DMV office or make an online appointment
- Complete and submit an original DL 44 application form
- Have your parents’ or guardians’ signatures on the application form DL 44
- Provide your social security number.
- Provide your true full name
- Verify your birth date and legal presence
- Submit the proper form(s) for driver education and/or driver training classes
- Give a fingerprint
- Pay the application fee (This fee entitles you to three exams of any type within the 12–month period and pays for both the instruction permit and the driver license. If all requirements are not met within the 12–month period, the application becomes void and all steps must be completed again.)
- Pass a vision exam
- Give your fingerprint again, provide your signature (that will appear on the driver license), and have your picture taken.
- Pass a traffic laws and sign test. There are 46 questions on the test. A passing score is at least 38 correct answers. You have three chances to pass the test. If you fail, you must wait 7 days before taking it again.
How to obtain your driver license
To take your driving test you must:
- Be 16 years old
- Have held your California instruction permit for a minimum of six months
- Have completed driver education
- Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training. Select a driving school
- Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult 25 of age years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.
- Before you take your driving test, check your address on your permit to be sure it is correct. When you check in to take your driving test, tell the DMV technician if you have moved or if your address is incorrect.
You will be asked to show you are properly insured before your driving test begins. If you do not have proof of insurance, the driving test will be postponed until you can provide valid proof of liability insurance.
If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take another driving test. You have three chances to pass your driving test before you have to start your application over. You will have to pay a retest fee to take a second or third driving test.
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