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How To Get A Driver’s License In California? Easy 3-Step Guide!

By  Dan McCrary | April 18, 2024

Getting a driver’s license is the first step toward adulthood. It means you’re ready to explore the world yourself. But the main question is, how do you get a driver’s license in California? Rest assured, all answers are included in this guide.

California has two main categories of driving licenses: commercial and non-commercial. Most young people need non-commercial licenses, and we’ll explain their requirements and step-by-step process.

We’ll explain the process of obtaining a driving license, from the basic requirements to the last step. You’ll also get answers about how you can obtain a driving license as a foreigner in California. Let’s get started!

Steps To Get A Driver’s License In California

Here’s the step-by-step guide to obtaining a driver’s license in California. But before we begin, ensure you’re 15 ½ years old, have proof of citizenship/residence, and permission from parents as they’ll sign the application and pay the fee.

Step #1: Diving Education

The first step to getting a driver’s license in California starts with driving education. This education is a must for teenagers aged between 15½ and 17½. Individuals who’ve hit 18 can skip the education part and jump straight to the permit test.

The driving education includes 25 hours of classroom education and about 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training, which prepares you for the permit test. This permit test is quite important as it decides whether you’re ready to drive practically under supervision.

Step #2: Obtain A Learner Permit

The knowledge gained from driving classes will prepare you for the written permit test. The test will consist of around 46 questions, with a passing score of at least 38. Failing means waiting a week for another attempt.

After passing the test, you’ll have to complete 50 hours of supervised driving training, which includes 10 hours of night driving. You may also have to drive 6 hours with a certified instructor (only if you haven’t received a driving education).

Once you meet all the requirements, including test, practical, and classroom training, you’ll receive a learner permit.

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Step #3: Take A Driving Test

With your learner permit, you must drive for six months. Afterward, you’ll be all set to take a driving test for the license, but before you do this, make sure you meet two requirements.

  • Firstly, book an appointment for the driving test.
  • Secondly, you must have insurance that exceeds California’s coverage requirements.

Upon passing the driving test, you’ll receive a temporary driving license valid for sixty days. This temporary permit allows you to drive until you receive your permanent one, which typically arrives within three to four weeks.

Note: If you fail the driving test, you must wait 14 days and pay a $7 fee for the next attempt.

Can A Non-US Illegal Citizen Get A Driver’s License In California?

Yes, a non-US citizen who is not legal in the country can obtain a driver’s license (AB 60 driver’s license) in California, but certain requirements must be met. To get the driver’s license, you must provide:

  • Provide proof of residence in California (such as a rent/lease agreement, mortgage bill, or employment documents).
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee.
  • Pass the knowledge test and provide a thumbprint scan.

If you meet these requirements, you can obtain a driver’s license in California. Simply apply for the license, complete the required education, obtain a learner’s permit, and take the driving test like any other US citizen.

How Do You Check If Your License Is Suspended In California?

Your driving license can be suspended for various reasons, such as receiving tickets or being arrested. Regardless of the cause, you should always stay informed about your license status to protect yourself from hefty fines. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Visit the official website of the DMV.
  • Create an account to access your driving record.
  • Pay a $2 fee to view and print your driving record.

If your license is suspended, its status will be shown on the driving record. The $2 fee is not a one-time payment; you must pay it each time you download your driving record.

Getting Driver License In California: Final Words

To obtain a driver’s license in California, you must first complete driving education, then secure a learner permit and complete 50 hours of supervised driving training. Afterward, you have to pass the driving test.

The process is the same for non-US illegal citizens. The main difference is that they have to prove their identity and residence in California using various documents. If they succeed, they can obtain an AB 60 driver’s license.

For more help with any legal issues related to driver’s licenses, contact our McCrary Law Firm. We can arrange a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers, who will provide guidance and solutions tailored to your needs.

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    McCrary Accident Injury Law Firm specializes in personal injury litigation. Its founder, Dan McCrary, Esq., spent 14 years working for the insurance companies before switching sides to represent personal injury victims in Rocklin as an attorney.

    Dan McCrary’s years of experience on the defense side taught him exactly how to obtain maximum recovery for his injured clients. If you have been injured in an accident you should contact the Accident & Injury Lawyers, Personal injury Attorney, Car accident lawyers at McCrary Accident Injury Law Firm in Rocklin, folsom, Sacramento to get the money you deserve, and overcome the tactics routinely employed by the insurance companies.