If you would like to start driving a car or you have a driver license from another state and just moved into California, you would need to apply for a driver’s license from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The most common class of licenses is a basic Class C license, which let you drive all passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs (sport utility vehicles). The process is not complicated, but you need to be prepared to avoid multiple trips to DMV office. The license consists of two parts: the written exam and the driving test. On the top, additional requirements apply to people who are under 18.
The first thing to do is to get familiar with California Drivers Handbook, which you could pick up at the local DMV office, or download from http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/driver-handbook.php in one of the following languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Russian. The handbook not only explains all you need to know about getting a license, but also provides you information you need for passing the written portion of your license exam. After you got familiar with the driver handbook, make an appointment at your local DMV office. If you do not know the location, look at yellow pages, or on the web at www.dmv.ca.gov/fo/offices/toc_fo.htm.
During your appointment, you would be doing the following:
- Provide your Social Security number.
- Bring the proof of your birth date and your legal presence in the US.
- Complete and turn in your application form DL 44.
- Have your thumbprint taken.
- Have your picture taken.
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pay the $26 application fee.
- Pass a traffic laws and sign test.
The written portion of the exam—a traffic laws and sign test—is a multiple-choice test. You have an option to miss 8 points and still have it pass, otherwise you need to come another day before 4:30 pm with at least one week interval and take the test again. You would have three options to pass the test before you need to re-apply and pay another $26. Look at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/interactive/tdrive/exam.htm for samples.
After you pass the written test, you will receive a learner’s permit. With this permit, you may only drive with a licensed driver over 18 or older. When you practiced and felt comfortable on the road, make another appointment at the local DMV office to take a driving test. Those who had driving license in another state do not have to take driving test. If you pass the test, you will receive your driving license.
If you’re under the age of 18, you need to get training: pass driver’s education class (TeenDriversEducation.com ), take behind-the-wheel training, six hours with licensed instructor driver, and then 50 hours with your parents. The driver’s training required for anyone younger than 17 ½. After passing the written part of the exam you will receive a permit that allow you to practice driving skills. You need to hold a learner’s permit for six months before you could set an appointment for driving test. When you pass the driving test, for the first year you cannot ride a car with anyone younger than 20, or late at night, from 11 pm to 5 am. Remember that all the rules are issued for your protection. Always follow them to be safe!