If you are under 18 and at least 15 ½ years old, you can apply for a provisional driver license. The first step to getting your license is to get your instruction permit. Because you are under 18, your permit and driver license are called, “Provisional.” This means you have additional restrictions placed on your permit and driver license that adults (18 and over) do not have.

 Your provisional instruction permit will have the following restrictions:

  • You must obey the traffic laws
  • You must drive without a collision
  • You must drive with your parent, guardian, spouse, or an adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver license.
  • You must hold your permit for six months before you can take your driving test to get your driver license.

To apply for the instructional permit, you must complete the following:

  • Complete a California Driver License or Identification Card Application.
  • Have both of your parents’ or guardians’ signatures on the DL 44 application form.
  • Visit a DMV office (make an appointment online for faster service).
  • Bring your original birth certificate or a certified copy. If you are not a US-born citizen, you must provide proof that you are a legal US resident.
  • Present acceptable residency documents.

NOTE: If you are over 17 ½ but under 18 years of age, you may get your permit without the driver education and driver training certificates however, you will not be able to take the driving test until you are 18 years of age.

  • Pay the application fee (This fee entitles you to three exams of any type within the 12-month period and pays for both the permit and the driver license. If all requirements are not met within the 12-month period, the application becomes void and all steps must be completed again.)
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Pass a knowledge test. You must get at least 38 questions right out of 46. You will have 3 chances to take the test, but if you fail a test you must wait 7 days before taking the test again. If you fail the test all 3 times, you must start over by filling out a new application.

    If you are between 15 ½ and 17 ½ years of age, you will need to provide proof that you completed driver education.

NOTE: Provisional instruction permits are not valid until the instruction permit is signed by a licensed or authorized driving instructor or the applicant reaches the age 17½.

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 the front seat in order to take control of the vehicle, if necessary. You may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. while using a learner’s permit. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.


To take your driving test you must:

  • Be 16 years old
  • Have held your California instruction permit for a minimum of six months
  • Have completed driver education
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training.
  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult 25 of age years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.

Before you take your driving test, check your address on your permit to be sure it is correct. When you check in to take your driving test, tell the DMV technician if you have moved or if your address is incorrect.

You will be asked to show you are properly insured before your driving test begins. If you do not have proof of insurance, the driving test will be postponed.

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take another driving test. You have three chances to pass your driving test before you have to start your application over. You will have to pay a retest fee to take a second or third driving test.

After you pass your driving test you will be issued a temporary license valid for 90 days. Your new photo license will be mailed to you. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check on the status. Have your temporary license with you to provide information when requested.