18+How to Apply for California Full (Adult) Driver's License
What can I get: Full (Adult) License
Adults are not required to hold the instruction permit for any minimum amount of time. You may take your driving test as soon as you feel you are able.
Plan of Action:
- Apply for the Instruction Permit in person at your local DMV office.
Currently, only four offices accept walk-ins as well as appointments; the rest are by appointment only. Make an appointment online or by calling the DMV at 1-800-777-0133. Tip: applying for an instruction permit starts a 12-month driver's license application period. You should try to meet all the requirements for a driver's license before that period ends.
- Fill out and submit a Driver License or Identification Card Application form (DL 44) (not available online: visit a DMV office to pick one up in person or call the DMV's Automated Telephone Service at 1-800-777-0133 to have one mailed to you).
- Give a thumbprint.
- Have your picture taken.
- Provide required documentation for regular or AB 60 licenses
- Your identity, including your full name
- Your Social Security number (unless you are applying for an AB 60 permit)
- Your birthdate
- Your legal presence in the US (unless you are applying for an AB 60 permit)
- Your residency in California
- Pass a vision exam.
- Pass a knowledge test. You have three chances to pass it within the 12-month application period.
- Pay the $33 application fee. You may pay the DMV office in person with cash, a check, a money order, or a debit card. (DMV offices do not accept credit cards for payment in person.)
- Pass the driving test (also known as behind-the-wheel test)
Use these ideas how to select documentation:
To get the license, you'll need to provide the following: 1) your instruction permit showing that you passed a knowledge test and vision exam, 2) proof of your legal presense in the U.S., 3) proof of residency, and 4) proof that you have passed the driving test. Once you have met these requirements, the DMV will issue you a temporary license that is valid for 90 days. The DMV should mail you your permanent license before your temporary license expires.
Can't show proof of your legal presence in the US? Normally, to apply for a Class C driver license, you must also be able to show proof of your legal presence in the US. However, starting in January 2015, California began issuing AB 60 driver licenses (noncommercial Classes A, B, and C), along with corresponding instruction permits, to persons who could not show proof of their legal presence in the US.
For purposes of motor vehicle licensing, California considers your residency as your state of domicile. Your state of domicile is the state in which you have your true, permanent home and principal residence and to which you intend to return whenever you leave it. Evidence of residency for driver licensing purposes includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Your address where you are registered to vote.
- Payment of resident tuition at a public institution of higher education.
- Filing a homeowner's property tax exemption.
- Other acts, occurrences, or events that indicate presence in the state is more than temporary.