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California Driver's Permit, Drivers Education, Lessons, Tests

How do I get my California Driving Permit?

Requirements for getting your Driving Permit

To earn your California provisional instruction permit, any minor must be at least 15½, but under 18 years of age and have completed a DMV approved driver education course, like, and have received your DMV Certificate of Completion of Driver Education - DL400C.

Once you are at least 15 1/2 years of age, you can take the DMV's provisional (under 18) written instruction permit knowlege test at a DMV office to get your instruction permit. See the instruction permit page on the DMV website for current requirements. For DMV questions, call 1-800-777-0133.

What happens after you pass the Driver Ed course?

Receive your pink DMV certificate of completion shipped by first class mail. Note: Please CONTACT US if your certificate has not arrived after 2 weeks. See the DMV Teen Driver Tips and DMV Teen Driver Roadmap pages for a detailed overview of the process and requirements.

Prepare for the DMV Permit Test - Read the DMV Handbook

Review the DMV California Driver Handbook. Remember, all of the test questions are taken from the California Driver Handbook (available online in multiple formats and languages). Links to the California Driver Handbook and the DMV Parent-Teen Training Guide are in the footer of every page in our website. You can also pick up a printed copy at any DMV office. Start reviewing it while you wait for your certificate to arrive in the mail. The handbook contains vital information and may take you a few days to fully study.

Take Free DMV Practice Permit Tests
Before you go to DMV to take your written instruction permit test, take these DMV Sample Practice Tests (Regular Driver - Class C) and be prepared for the way the DMV phrases questions. The practice tests are also available in Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL). There is no cost for these tests.

Be sure to take all of the following to the DMV:

  • Certificate of Completion of Driver Education DL-400C - signed by parent or guardian (the pink slip we mail you when you complete this course)
  • Your Birth Certificate or Legal Presence Papers - originals or certified copies only
  • your Social Security Number
  • One (1) form of proof of residency - REAL ID requires two (2). See the REAL ID requirements.
At the DMV you must:
  • Fill out or bring a completed DL44 application and have both parents sign it (available at DMV offices or complete the electronic DL44 application online ahead of time).
  • Pay the DMV application fee, this fee pays for both your permit and your driver's license.
  • Pass a vision test - if you wear glasses, bring them.
  • Pass the DMV's written instruction permit knowledge test. You have three chances to pass the test within a year. You will have 3 chances to take the test, but if you fail a test you must wait 7 days (not including the day the test was failed) before taking the test again. If you fail the test all 3 times, you must start over by filling out a new application and paying the appropriate fees. Remember, questions for this test are taken from the California Driver Handbook.

See the instruction permit page on the DMV website for current requirements. You will also need to pay the DMV fee, have your picture taken, and give a thumbprint.

Once you pass your written test, you will be issued a provisional instruction permit. A parent, guardian, spouse or adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver license, must be with you when you drive. He or she must sit in a position close enough to take control of the vehicle. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You are required to keep your permit a minimum of 6 months, irrespective of when you turn 16. If you are already 16, you must still keep the permit for 6 months before you will be eligible for the driving test.

Start Now! Get your California Drivers Ed Certificate