California requirements for a drivers license are strict for various reasons. Whether you are a new resident of the state or you simply never had a license in the state before, there are various requirements for you to follow. If you are in need of a new California driver’s license, take note of what you need to do so you can make this process simpler and more efficient.
Visit the DMV for a Brand-New License
The Department of Motor Vehicles is where you want to go when you are ready to apply for a new driver’s license in CA. You can go to any DMV, and it doesn’t matter if you live in the area or not. You’ll need very specific identification depending on what kind of new license you need, so pay attention to what it is and be sure you know you’re also paying to obtain a new license in CA.
If you are at least 16-years-old, you can apply for a provisional license provided you’ve completed a state driver’s education course. If you are 17 ½, the driver’s education course is not required. You must have a learner’s permit for at least six months prior to obtaining any sort of teen license until you turn 18 and can apply for a traditional license with no permit. If you are older than 18 and you’ve never had a license, you can apply for one at the DMV.
- Fill out a Driver’s License application
- Provide proof of your identity
- Pay $35 to the DMV
- Pass a written test regarding road knowledge
- Pass a road test with an instructor
Don’t show up and expect to get a license the same day without an appointment. You must take a written exam as well as a road test, and you must also pass a vision test to receive a new license. As long as you are at least 18, you don’t need to meet any other requirements to obtain a license. Finally, you will not receive a license if you have any legal problems that stipulate you cannot drive in the state.
Applying for A License As A New Resident
Perhaps you have a driver’s license, but you don’t have one in California prior to moving into the state. You need a new license with your new address and residency information, and you need to obtain this license at the DMV. You have only 10 days to show up at the DMV and apply for your new state license following your establishment of residency, which includes any of the following.
- Registering to vote
- Paying in-state tuition for college
- Filling homeowner’s tax exemption
Unless your current license is from a different country, most DMV associates will waive the requirement to take a new written and driven test for a new license. You’ll need the following documentation to change from one state license to a California license.
- Proof of your social security number
- Proof of your name both current and maiden
- Proof of your birth date such as a birth certificate or passport
- One document that proves your residency such as a utility bill, mortgage, or rental agreemen
While you are at the DMV, you will have your thumbprint taken. You will take a new photo, you will take a vision exam and you must pass, you will also pay $35 for a new license. If your agent does not waive the written test even though you have a license in another state, you are required to take it as well. It consists of 36 questions and you have only three attempts to pass.
Once you submit your application for a new license including all the required documentation, you will receive a temporary license. It’s only good for 90 days, but your new license should arrive from the state in 60 days or less. If it does not arrive within that timeframe, call the DMV to report it as missing or lost. If you fail to update your license to a California license after your move, you could end up finding many things difficult such as insuring your home, proving who you are, and even applying for loans.