California Permit Requirements

When applying for your California driver permit with Department of Motor Vehicles it is helpful to know the permit requirements.  Make sure you have the met the DMV requirements and that you have the necessary documents.

Acquiring a driver’s provisional permit, also known as a learner’s permit is an important step toward becoming a licensed driver.  In California provisional permits are issued to teens once they reach the age of 15 ½, allowing them to drive a vehicle with a parent in the car. 

The first step toward obtaining your permit is to complete a state approved driver’s education classroom course.  This class will prepare you for the information you need and what to expect in getting ready to earn your driver’s license. 

Once you have completed driver’s education classroom component and you are 15 years and 6 months old you are ready to get your provisional permit.  Make sure you understand these steps to avoid hassle and delay in getting your permit:

  • Make an appointment for the permit at the nearest DMV.  Appointments are available by going to http://www.dmv.ca.gov/foa/welcome.do?localeName=en
  • You will need a completed DL44 form, signed by both parents, if you live with both.  By signing this form your parents or guardians are acknowledging that they are taking responsibility for your safe driving while under the provisional permit.  You must have an original copy of form DL44, available at your DMV or driver’s education school.  Photocopies or faxed versions of the form will not be accepted.
  • A Certificate of Completion of a driver’s education classroom course is required.  You should be provided this by your driver’s ed school.  You should take driver’s ed in California, but if not, the school is required to prove that they meet the California driver’s educational requirements.
  • You will need to verify your birth date and residency or citizenship.  For this you will need either a valid birth certificate (not a copy), a valid passport or Resident ID Card.
  • You will need your Social Security Card or other official documentation with your social security number.

When you arrive at the DMV office you will be required to:

  • pay the application fee of $32.  This will cover your regular fees of obtaining your permit and the actual driver’s license for one year.
  • take a standard vision test.
  • give a fingerprint sample.
  • complete and pass the traffic law and sign test.
  • complete your signature and get your picture taken for the permit.

The entire licensing process must be completed within 12 months of obtaining your provisional permit.  Otherwise you will have to start the application process over again.  However you may be credited for time earned toward the 6 month permit requirement.

Be aware that applying for a permit will require you to sign that you will agree to a breath or blood test for drugs and alcohol at the request of a police officer.

Once you have obtained your permit, it will be valid for you to drive with a parent, guardian or spouse in the car with you.  They must be at least 25 years old and possess a valid California driver’s license.

After holding the permit for at least 6 months, drivers are eligible to apply for a provisional driver license at age 16.  The applicant must have successfully passed both the classroom and behind-wheel segments of driver education, and have logged 50 hours of practice driving, with at least 10 hours after dark.  A driving test will be administered before issuing a license.  The provisional license limits unsupervised driving to between 5 AM and 11 PM, and drivers may not carry passengers under the age of 20 for the first 6 months.