Driver License and Identification Card Information

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How to

Frequently Asked Questions

Miscellaneous


How to apply for a driver license if you are over 18

If you are a visitor in California over 18 and have a valid driver license from your home state or country, you may drive in this state without getting a California driver license as long as your home state license remains valid.

If you become a California resident, you must get a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner’s property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.

To apply for an original driver license if you are over 18, you will need to do the following:

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

You will then be issued a permit if you have never been licensed before. When you practice, you must have an accompanying adult who is 18 years of age or older, with a valid California license. This person must be close enough to you to take control of the vehicle if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone.

If you have a license from another country, you will be required to take a driving test. If you have a license from another state, the driving test can be waived.

To take your driving test, you will need to:

  • Make a driving test Appointment(s) . (Driving tests are not given without an appointment.) You may also call 1–800–777–0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday–Friday, to make a driving test appointment.
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility
  • California Insurance Requirements

You have three chances to pass the driving test. If you fail, you may practice for a while, then make another appointment. There is no waiting period, but you must make an appointment. If you fail to successfully complete the driving test on the first attempt, you must pay a $6 fee for each additional driving test that is administered under an application for an original or renewal driver license.

After you pass your driving test you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double–check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

If your name is different on your birth date and/or legal presence document than the one you are currently using, you will also need to provide an additional acceptable document to establish your true full name, such as; a marriage certificate, dissolution of marriage, adoption or name change document that shows your current name.


Interpreter Services

The Department of Motor Vehicles provides interpreters, including American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, at no cost to the customer.

If you need an interpreter, please let one of our staff know and an appointment will be scheduled for when a foreign language or an ASL interpreter is available. Appointments may also be scheduled during regular business hours by calling 1–800–777–0133 and indicating foreign language assistance is needed. For the California Relay Telephone Service from TDD phones, call 1–800–735–2929 or, from voice phones, call 1–800–735–2922 for assistance in contacting DMV and making arrangements for an ASL interpreter.


How to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL)

A commercial driver license is a license issued in accordance with Federal Regulations that allows an individual to operate a commercial vehicle. Federal regulations require that an applicant be 18 years or older to apply for a commercial driver license (CDL) and be issued a commercial instruction permit.

You must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines (interstate commerce) or hazardous materials or wastes (intrastate or interstate commerce). You may drive for hire within California if you are 18 years of age or older and do not engage in interstate commerce activities. (VC §12515) (VC §12516)

10 Year History Record Check

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, and applicable Federal Regulations requires all commercial driver license applicants including renewal applications to disclose whether he or she has been issued a driver license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous ten years.  If the answer is “Yes” to the ten year history record question, a 10 Year History Record Check form (DL 939) complete and submitted with the Commercial Driver License Application (DL 44C). 

Starting May 31, 2005, new federal regulations require a person who is applying for a California commercial driver license with an original or renewal Hazardous Materials (HazMat) endorsement to undergo a security threat assessment. The USA Patriot Act requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to complete a security threat assessment (background records check) before the Department of Motor Vehicles issues a HazMat endorsement.

TSA’s Process

You start the TSA background records check after you apply for your CDL at DMV, successfully complete all appropriate law tests, and submit a valid Medical Examination Report form (DL 51). Go online www.hazprints.com or call 1–877–429–7746 to make an appointment with a TSA agent. You must submit a $94 federal fee and any additional required information to the designated TSA agent. The TSA agent will advise you of the fingerprint requirement. You must also provide the TSA agent with a DMV Commercial Instruction Permit and one of the following identification documents:

  • A California driver license and/or California identification card
  • An out–of–state driver license
Related Links

Transportation Security Administration

Transportation Security Administration – Agent Information

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act Regulations

A commercial vehicle is a motor vehicle or combination used for hire to transport passengers or property or which:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 10 passengers, including the driver
  • Tows a vehicle or trailer, which has a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Transports hazardous materials, which requires placards
  • Tows any combination of two trailers or vehicle and trailer

To apply for a commercial permit, you will need to:

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

Once you have passed your tests, you will be issued a permit. You can only drive with a person who has a valid California driver license in the class of license that your permit is for and is the specific age required for that class of license.

To apply for your commercial driver license you will need to:

  • Call a DMV CDL office and make an appointment for a driving test. (Commercial driving test appointments cannot be made online)
  • Bring the type of vehicle for the class you want to drive
  • Pass a pre–trip inspection (You have three chances to pass the pre–trip)
  • Pass a skills and driving test (You have three chances to pass the skills and driving test)
    OR
  • Submit to DMV a Certificate of Driving Skill (DL 170) if your employer is authorized by DMV to issue such certificates. Both you and your employer sign this form.

After you pass your driving test or submit your certificate, you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.


Medical report for commercial driver license (CDL)

A medical form completed by a U. S. licensed doctor of medicine (M.D.), doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), licensed physician assistant (P.A.), advance practice registered nurse, or chiropractor who is clinically competent to perform the medical examination, must be given to the DMV with your original application for a driver license or instruction permit. The medical form must be dated within the last 2 years and on the DMV Medical Examination Report (DL 51) with a revision date of 1/2012 or later for medical examinations completed prior to December 31, 2013. Medical examinations completed after December 31, 2013, must be on a DL 51 revision 1/2014.

Drivers applying for, or who hold, a certificate to drive a school bus, School Pupil Activity Bus, Youth Bus, General Public Paratransit Vehicle, or Farm Labor Vehicle must have their examination performed by a Physician Assistant, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Doctor of Medicine, (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) or a Chiropractor who is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The Medical Examination Report and Medical Certificate must be signed by the medical examiner who performed the examination. School bus drivers 65 years of age and older must submit a new medical report to DMV every year. (VC 12517.2(a) (b)

The physician will complete and sign a Medical Examiner's Certificate (PDF) for you to carry when you are driving commercially. You can be given a citation for driving out–of–class if you drive a commercial vehicle after your medical certificate expires or without a valid medical certificate in your possession.

Medical Examiner's Certificate (PDF)

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (383.71) requires commercial drivers to disclose the type of commercial operation they are engaged in:

  • Non-Excepted Interstate:  Operates or expects to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce and is subject to and meets the qualification requirements under 49 CFR part 391. The license does not restrict the transport, origination, or destination of the load to be transported.
  • Non-Excepted Intrastate:  Operates in California only. You may only transport cargo that originates in and the final destination is in California. While driving commercially you may not cross state of international borders.
  • Excepted Interstate:  California does not issue a commercial driver license that is excepted from driver qualification requirements.
  • Excepted Intrastate:  California does not issue a commercial driver license that is excepted from driver qualification requirements.

Drivers renewing their medical certificate may mail their Medical Examination Report - DL 51 (PDF) to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
CDL Unit, G204
P.O. Box 944278
Sacramento, CA 94244-2780

If you are required to have a commercial driver license as part of your job, your employer shall pay the cost of the examination unless it was taken before you applied for the job (Labor Code §231).

Beginning May 21, 2014 commercial drivers in interstate commerce must use medical examiners listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (National Registry). The National Registry is a Federal program establishing requirements for healthcare professionals that perform physical qualification examinations for truck and bus drivers. This program is being developed to improve highway safety and driver health by requiring medical examiners be trained and certified so they can determine effectively whether a commercial driver’s medical fitness for duty meets federal standards. Contact information for medical examiners will be available after August 20, 2012 online at the National Registry website. The National Registry website can be found at http://nrcme.fmcsa.dot.gov .

DMV has a booklet, A Physician Guide for Commercial Driver License Medical Exams. This booklet contains guidelines that supplement the federal regulations. The guide was revised in June 2012. Medical Examiners who would like an electronic PDF version or a paper copy of the new Physician Guide for Commercial Driver License Medical Exams, call (916) 657-6550.


How to apply for a noncommercial driver license

A noncommercial driver license is issued in the following two classes:

  • Noncommercial Class A
  • Noncommercial Class B

A Noncommercial Class A license is required if you tow:

  • a travel trailer weighing over 10,000 lbs. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is not used for hire.
  • a fifth–wheel travel trailer weighting over 15,000 lbs. GVWR which is not used for hire.
  • a livestock trailer that is not for hire, weight over 10,000 lbs. GVWR but not over 15,000 lbs. GVWR, and is operated within 150 miles of the farm by a farmer to transport livestock.

A Noncommercial Class B license and endorsement is required if you operate:

  • A housecar over 40 feet but not over 45 feet.

    Exemptions: Holders of a commercial Class A or B license, a noncommercial Class A license, and all fire fighter license classes.

Requirements for a Noncommercial Class A driver permit

To apply for a Noncommercial Class A permit, you must:

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

Once you have completed these requirements, you will be issued a permit. You can only drive with a person who has a California driver license in the same class as your permit and meets the age requirements.

Requirements for a Noncommercial Class A driver license

To obtain a Noncommercial Class A license you must:

  • Have completed all the requirements for a Noncommercial Class A permit
  • Call a DMV CDL office and make an appointment for a driving test (Cannot be made for the same day) (Noncommercial Class A driving test appointments cannot be made online)
  • Bring the Noncommercial Class A vehicle with you
  • Pass a pre–trip inspection
  • Pass a skills test
  • Pass a driving test

After you pass your driving test, you will be issued an interim license valid until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Verify your address before you leave DMV. Notify the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your photo license within 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. You will need to provide information from your interim license.

Requirements for a Noncommercial Class B driver permit

To apply for a Noncommercial Class B permit, you must:

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

Once you have passed your test, you will be issued a permit. You can only drive with a person who has a California driver license in the same class as your permit and meets the age requirements.

Requirements for a Noncommercial Class B driver license

To obtain a Noncommercial Class B license, you must:

  • Have completed all the requirements for a Noncommercial Class B permit
  • Call a DMV CDL office and make an appointment for a driving test (Cannot be made for the same day) (Noncommercial Class B driving test appointments cannot be made online)
  • Bring the housecar with you
  • Perform a vehicle safety check. NOTE: If your vehicle is equipped with air brakes, you are not required to pass an air brake law test or perform an air brake system check.
  • Pass a skills test
  • Pass a driving test

After you pass your driving test, you will be issued an interim license valid until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Verify your address before you leave DMV. Notify the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your photo license with 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. You will need to provide information from our interim license.


How to apply for a motorcycle or moped driver license if you are over 18

There are two classes of motorcycle licenses, Class M1 and Class M2.

  • With a Class M1, you can operate any 2–wheel motorcycle and any motorized bicycle in Class M2.
  • With a Class M2, you can only operate any motorized bicycle or moped or any bicycle with an attached motor.

Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to January 1, 2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to operate a motorized scooter.

A motorized scooter is defined as: A two–wheeled "device" powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding. The scooter may also have a driver’s seat.

Refer to the Motorcycle Driver Handbook for more information.

To apply for a motorcycle Class M1 or M2 permit, you will need to:

  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.)
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Pay the application fee
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Pass a knowledge test. You have three chances to pass the test.
  • Provide a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL 389) from an approved California Highway Patrol (CHP) motorcycle training course, if you are under 21.

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing, DMV will not be administering knowledge test after 4:30 p.m.

After studying both the California Driver and the Motorcycle Handbooks, call your local DMV to schedule your appointment for the knowledge test.

After completing the requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit to allow you to practice driving a motorcycle. You may not drive at night, on the freeway, or have any passengers with you.

To apply for your motorcycle Class M1 or M2 license, you must do one of the following:

  • If you are under 21, you must hold the Class M1 or M2 permit for 6 months prior to the issuance of a motorcycle license. The skills test may be waived for a person presenting a valid DL 389.
  • If you are over 21, you may either choose to complete the course by CHP and provide a valid DL 389 OR schedule an Appointment(s) at DMV to take the skills test. (You may also call 1–800–777–0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday–Friday, to make a skills test appointment.) You have three chances to pass the test.
  • If you are only applying for an original Class M1 or M2 and hold no other driver license, you may be required to perform an observation test.

For information about the CHP training course, please call 1–877–743–3411 or visit www.ca–msp.org.

After you have submitted your CHP certificate or passed your skills test, you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.


How to apply for a provisional permit if you are under 18

To apply for a provisional permit, you will need the following:

  • Be at least 15 ½, but under 18 years of age
  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete the application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies obtained by xeroxing, faxing, or other methods will not be accepted.)
  • Have your parents’ or guardians’ signatures on the application form DL 44
  • Provide your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • “Provide your true full name if your name no longer matches the name on your birth date legal presence document.”
  • Verify your birth date and legal presence
  • Submit the proper form(s) for driver education and/or driver training classes (See below for details.)
  • Give a fingerprint
  • Pay the application fee (This fee entitles you to three exams of any type within the 12–month period and pays for both the instruction 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
  • Give your fingerprint again, provide your signature (that will appear on the driver license), and have your picture taken.
  • Pass a traffic laws and sign test. There are 46 questions on the test. A passing score is at least 38 correct answers. You have three chances to pass the test. If you fail, you must wait 7 days before taking it again.

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

Driver Education and Driver Training Form Requirements

If you are 15 ½ to 17 ½ years of age, you will need to provide a:

  • Certificate of Completion of Driver Education.

OR

  • Certificate of Completion of Driver Education and Driver Training.

OR

  • Certificate of Enrollment In An Integrated (Classroom) Driver Education And Driver Training Program.

NOTE:If your driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a

  • To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools” form (DL 33) form completed by the out–of state secondary school. Obtain a DL 33 form from your local DMV office or by calling DMV at 1–800–777–0133. Send the DL 33 form to your out–of–state secondary school to complete.
  • letter from your out–of state secondary school on the out–of–state secondary school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses you have taken are equivalent to a California secondary school course described in Section 10020 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

An out–of–state driving instructional permit is not acceptable proof of driver education and driver training.

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 turn 18.

Once you pass your written test, you will be issued a provisional 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, if necessary. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

Before being eligible to take your driving test you must:
  • Be 16 years old

AND

  • Have held your permit for a minimum of six months
AND
  • Have completed driver education
AND
  • Have completed 6 hours of professional driver training

AND

  • Have completed 50 hours of practice with an adult 25 years or older. The adult must have a valid California driver license and certify to the 50 hours of practice. At least 10 of the 50 hours must have been done at night.

To take your driving test, you will need to:

After you pass your driving test you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

If you fail your driving test, you must wait two weeks before you can take the test again. You have three chances to pass.

If driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools form DL 33 completed by the out–of state school, or a letter on the out–of state school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses are equivalent to California’s requirements. Instructional permits issued by another state are not acceptable proof.


Provisional Instruction Permit – Cumulative Credit

Your driver license application is valid for 12 months from the application date. If your application will expire before you have held your provisional instruction permit for six months, you must return to DMV and start a new application. You will need to pay the application fee and fulfill all application requirements. Take your instruction permit with you to DMV. You will be credited for the time you have held your instruction permit and receive cumulative credit towards your subsequent provisional instruction permit to meet the six–month requirement before taking your driving test.

You must keep the expired instruction permit with your new instruction permit until you pass your driving test. The new instruction permit and the expired permit is the only proof of credit that satisfies the six–month requirement. When a new application is started, DMV does not retain the previous application information. If you lose your expired instruction permit, without the necessary proof of a previous application, the full six–month waiting period will be required before you will be allowed to take your driving test.

Bring both your instruction permits with you when you take your driving test.


Parents’ or guardians’ signatures – accepting liability for a minor

A minor’s application for a driver license must have the signatures of:

  • Both parents, if the parents are California residents and have joint custody, or
  • Both parents, if divorced, with joint custody, or
  • One parent, if that parent has custody, or
  • Guardians of the minor, if neither parent is living or has custody, or
  • The person(s) having actual full and complete custody, if no legal guardian is appointed.

NOTE: Nonresident parents cannot sign the application form and cannot accept liability for a minor in California. Nonresident military parents stationed and living in California can sign the application form and accept liability for a minor.

When parents or guardians sign for a minor to get a driver license, they are stating that they will accept financial responsibility for that minor. Financial responsibility in California requires that drivers and vehicle owners carry the following minimum monetary limits:

  • $15,000 for injury or death of 1 person per accident
  • $30,000 for injury or death of 2 or more persons per accident
  • $5,000 for any property damage per accident

Evidence of financial responsibility must be carried at all times in the vehicle. Most Californians maintain financial responsibility through insurance companies, which provide the policy holder with an identification card to be used as evidence of coverage. The card must state the insurance company’s name and address, the period of coverage, and policy number.


Driver Education and Driver Training Information

You may take driver education (classroom training) or driver training (behind–the–wheel) in a California secondary school, or in a state licensed, professional driving school. A California secondary school is a private or public high school, technical school, or adult school.

Driver Education and Driver Training courses must be conducted as prescribed by the Department of Education. Driver Education must consist of at least 30 hours or 2 1/2 semester periods of professional classroom instruction. Driver training must consist of at least six hours of behind–the–wheel professional instruction.

Professional schools and instructors in California are licensed by the DMV. Schools must carry liability insurance, be bonded, and maintain complete records for DMV inspection. Their teaching cars are subject to inspection every 6 months. Instructors must pass qualifying examinations every three years, or show proof of continuing education in traffic safety.

NOTE:If your driver education and driver training were taken in a state other than California, DMV will accept either a

  • To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools” form (DL 33) form completed by the out–of state secondary school. Obtain a DL 33 form from your local DMV office or by calling DMV at 1–800–777–0133. Send the DL 33 form to your out–of–state secondary school to complete.
  • letter from your out–of state secondary school on the out–of–state secondary school’s stationery signed by a school official stating that the courses you have taken are equivalent to a California secondary school course described in Section 10020 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

An out–of–state driving instructional permit is not acceptable proof of driver education and driver training.


Provisional driver license restrictions during the first year

Effective January 1, 2006, a new law will increase driving restrictions for persons under the age of 18 who:
  • Are issued a provisional driver license (DL) on or after January 1, 2006, or
  • Already hold a provisional DL issued on or after January 1, 2005.
Provisional Driving Restrictions—You must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older or a licensed or certified driving instructor when you:
  • Transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time, for the first twelve months.
  • Drive between 11 pm and 5 am for the first twelve months.

To determine if these restrictions apply to you, look at the date on your driver license.  The date printed just to the left of your photograph is the date these restrictions begin.  The new restrictions apply for 12 months following this date.  For example:  If the date on your license is May 7, 2005, you will have the above restrictions through May 7, 2006.  Violation of either restriction can result in a fine and/or community service.

Persons under 18 may not be employed to drive a motor vehicle. When you turn 18 years of age, the provisional part of your license ends. You may continue to drive as an adult using your photo license, which will expire on your 5th birthday after the date you applied.

Exceptions to Restrictions

When reasonable transportation is not available and it is necessary for you to drive, the law grants the following exceptions for minors to drive between 11 pm and 5 am or to transport an immediate family member unaccompanied and unsupervised.

The law allows the following exceptions when reasonable transportation is not available and it is necessary for you to drive. A signed note must be kept in your possession for any of these exceptions explaining the necessity and the date when the driving necessity will end (except emancipated minors).

  • Medical necessity when reasonable transportation alternatives are inadequate. The note must be signed by your physician, and contain the diagnosis and probable date of recovery.

  • Schooling or school–authorized activity. The note must be signed by your school principal, dean, or his/her designee.

  • Employment necessity and the need to operate a vehicle as part of your employment. The note must be signed by your employer verifying employment.

  • Your necessity or the necessity of an immediate family member. The note must be signed by your parent or legal guardian.

  • If you are an emancipated minor, no documentation is needed. However, you must have already declared yourself emancipated and provided DMV with Proof of Financial Responsibility (SR 1P) in lieu of your guarantors’ signatures.

Questions and Answers–Changes to Provisional Driver License Restrictions

For questions and answers regarding the provisional Driver License restrictions, see our new Teen Pages.

Related Links:
Provisional Licensing Changes 
Parent–Teen Training Aid 
Teen Treasure Hunt


How to apply for a motorcycle or moped driver license if you are under 18

There are two classes of motorcycle licenses, Class M1 and Class M2.

  • With a Class M1, you can operate any 2–wheel motorcycle and any motorized vehicle in Class M2.
  • With a Class M2, you can only operate any motorized bicycle or moped or any bicycle with an attached motor.

Effective January 1, 2006, you may operate a motorized scooter with a Class M1 or M2 driver license. Prior to January 1, 2006, you must have a Class C or higher driver license to operate a motorized scooter.

A motorized scooter is defined as: A two–wheeled "device" powered by a motor with a floorboard that is designed to stand on when riding. The scooter may also have a driver’s seat.

Refer to the Motorcycle Driver Handbook for more information.

To apply for a motorcycle Class M1 or M2 permit, you will need to:

  • Be at least 15 ½ years of age
  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies obtained by Xeroxing, faxing, or other methods will not be accepted.)
  • Have your parents’ or guardians’ signatures on the application form DL 44
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Submit proof you have completed both driving education and driver training.
  • Present an acceptable birth date/legal presence document.
  • Provide your true full name.
  • Provide your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • Pay the application fee. This fee is good for 12 months and allows you to take the appropriate law test(s) and skills test three times, if needed, within the 12 month period. This fee pays for both the instruction permit and driver license, if you qualify within that time period. If the application expires, it becomes void and all steps must be completed again.
  • Pass an vision exam.
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test.
  • Pass an additional law test of motorcycle driving rules.
    OR
  • Show your California driver license, if you have one issued to you.
  • Pay the application fee
  • Pass a vision exam
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test for motorcycles

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

After studying both the California Driver and the Motorcycle Handbooks, call your local DMV to schedule your Appointment(s) for the traffic laws and sign test.

After completing the requirements, you will be issued an instruction permit to allow you to practice driving a motorcycle. You may not drive at night, on the freeway, or have any passengers with you.

To apply for your motorcycle driver license, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have had your permit for 6 months
  • Have completed driver education and driver training or have your California driver license.
  • Complete a motorcycle rider training course given by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). All persons under 21 are required to complete the course.
  • Submit the CHP completion certificate (You will not be required to take the motorcycle driving test at DMV.)
    For information about the CHP training course, please call 1–877–743–3411 or visit www.ca–msp.org.

After you submit the CHP completion certificate, you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if you have moved or if your address is incorrect. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 and they can check on the status for you. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.


How to renew your driver license in person

If you already have a California license and you want to renew, you will need to:

  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application form (DL 44 or DL 44C) or Commercial Driver License Application form (DL 44C).
    (An original DL 44 or DL 44C form must be submitted.) A DL 44 or DL 44C form can be requested by calling 1–800–777–0133. Copies will not be accepted OR bring in the DMV renewal notice mailed to you (Cross out any old information on the renewal notice and write in the current information).
  • Commercial Driver License holders only:  If renewing in person complete a 10 Year History Record Check form (DL 939) or the Driver License Ten Year History Record Check renewal form (DL 10Y) if you have been issued a driver license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous ten years.  Submit the DL 939 with your Commercial Driver License Application (DL 44C) or the DL 10Y renewal application.
  • Commercial Driver License holders only: Medical Certificate Card (DL 51A), if required.
  • Give a thumb print.
  • Have your picture taken.
  • Pay the application fee.
  • Pass an vision exam.
  • Look at your renewal notice. It will tell you if you need to take a written test. If you must take a test, it will include traffic laws and sign test. You will only need to answer the first 18 questions of the 36 question exam. A passing score is at least 15 correct answers. You have three chances to pass.
  • Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect.

Note:To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

After you complete the requirements you will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days until you receive your new photo license in the mail. If you have not received your license after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. Have your interim license with you to provide information when requested.

If your license has expired, it is illegal for you to drive. There are no late fees to renew your license. While there are no penalties, you may be cited by a police officer for driving with an expired driver license. If you are a commercial driver and your license has been expired over two years, you will need to also take a driving test in the type of commercial vehicle you will be driving.


How to renew your driver license by mail

You may be eligible to renew your license by mail if you can answer No to all of the following questions:

  • Does your driver license expire more than 60 days from today’s date?
  • Will you be 70 years of age or older when your current driver license expires?
  • Are you currently on any type of driving probation or suspension?
  • Did you violate a written promise to appear in court within the last two years?
  • Have you already received two consecutive five year extensions by mail?
  • Do you have a driver license from more than one state or jurisdiction?

If you qualify and have not received a notice to renew by mail, complete a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form (DL 410 FO) (skip Section 3 unless you have a commercial driver license) and send it along with a check for the renewal fee to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290–0001

If you need further information, please call 1–800–777–0133.

You can register to vote with the California Secretary of State at Voter Registration.


How to renew your commercial driver license by mail

You may be eligible to renew your license by mail if you can answer No to all of the following questions:

  • Does your driver license expire more than 60 days from today’s date?
  • Will you be 70 years of age or older when your current driver license expires?
  • Are you currently on any type of driving probation or suspension?
  • Did you violate a written promise to appear in court within the last two years?
  • Have you already received two consecutive four year extensions by mail?
  • Do you have a driver license from more than one state or jurisdiction?

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999, and applicable Federal Regulations requires all commercial driver license applicants including renewal applications to disclose whether he or she has been issued a driver license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous ten years

If you have a commercial driver license with a Hazmat Endorsement you are not eligible for renewal by mail.

If you qualify and have not received a renewal by mail, complete a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form (DL 410 FO). If you have a commercial driver license you must complete Section 3A and 3B. If you check "Yes" to 3B because you have been issued a driver license in the same or different name to operate any type of motor vehicle in another state or other jurisdiction within the previous ten years, you must complete a 10 Year History Record Check form (DL 939), mail it in with your completed California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form (DL 410 FO) and enclose a check for the renewal fee to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290–0001

If you need further information, please call 1–800–777–0133.

You can register to vote with the California Secretary of State at Voter Registration


How to renew your driver license by Internet

You may be eligible to renew your license by Internet if you receive a Renewal By Mail (RBM) Notice with a Renewal Identification Number (RIN), and:

  • Have access to the Internet
  • Not have a change of address or change of personal description
  • Have a verified Social Security Number (SSN) on DMV’s record (since October 2000, DMV verifies SSNs with the Social Security Administration)
  • Have a valid credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover)

If you qualify and wish to renew by Internet, go to www.dmv.ca.gov, click on the Online Services (tab) and then choose Driver License Renewal and complete the instructions to renew your driver license online.

Please have your RBM notice and credit card handy before starting your transaction.

If you would like further information, please visit our Driver License Internet Renewal FAQ web page, or call 1–800–777–0133.

You can register to vote with the California Secretary of State at Voter Registration.


How to renew an instruction permit

If your permit has expired, you must start again. This means resubmitting documents, paying the application fee, and taking the required tests.

If you are under 18 years of age, you will need your parent(s) or guardian(s) signature on the application form.


How to apply for a duplicate (replace lost or stolen) driver license or identification (ID) card

To apply for a duplicate license or ID card, you will need to:

To ensure your identity is secure, the DMV will validate your photograph, social security number, and your personal information.

You will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days and/or a receipt for your ID card until you receive your new photo license and/or photo ID card in the mail. Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new license and/or ID card will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you have not received your license and/or ID card after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. Have your interim license and/or ID card receipt with you to provide information when requested.


How to change your name on your driver license and/or identification (ID) card

To apply for a name change you will need to:

Acceptable evidence of your new name may be provided by showing an original or certified copy of a Birth Date and Legal presence document or a true full name document.

Please contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change your name on SSA records before you make an appointment with DMV to have your name changed on DMV records. DMV electronically verifies your name, birth date and social security number with the SSA.

If your information does not verify, you will not receive your new California driver license or identification card. You will receive a Request for Verification of Information letter from DMV informing you that the information you provided (name, birth date, and/or SSN) does not match SSA’s records.

You will be issued an interim license valid for 90 days and/or a receipt for your ID card until you receive your new photo license and/or photo ID card in the mail. Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new license and/or ID card will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you do not receive your license and/or ID card after 60 days, call 1 (800) 777–0133 to check on the status. Have your interim license and/or ID card receipt with you to provide information when requested.

Note: A name change on your driver license or identification card will not change your vehicle registration information. Follow this link to find out how to change or correct the name on your vehicle/vessel’s DMV record.


Identification (ID) cards

DMV issues ID cards to persons of any age. The ID card looks like a driver license, but is used for identification purposes only. A regular ID card is valid for six years, and a senior citizen ID card is valid for 10 years. To qualify for a senior citizen ID card, you must be age 62 or older.


Reduced–fee ID card

You may pay a reduced application fee for an original or renewal identification card if you meet income requirements from a public assistance program. If you are eligible, the governmental or non–profit program will give you a completed Verification for Reduced Fee Identification Card form (DL 937) to take to DMV to apply for your reduced fee identification card.

See your local public assistance program agency for information about eligibility requirements and obtaining a DL 937 form.


How to apply for or renew an identification (ID) card

DMV issues two types of ID cards. A regular ID card valid for six years, and a senior citizen ID card valid for 10 years. To qualify for a senior citizen ID card, you must be age 62 or older.

To apply for an ID card you will need to do the following:

  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44 (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.)
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Provide your social security number. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • Verify your birth date and legal presence (you may use your California driver license)
  • Pay the application fee. (No fee for a senior citizen ID card.)

Check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new ID will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you have not received your ID after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 to check the status. Have your receipt and/or old ID card with you to provide information when requested.

DMV will exchange a valid license for a no–fee ID card to drivers who are no longer able to drive safely because of a physical or mental condition. Please call your local DMV for additional information.

To renew your ID card, you will need to:

  • Visit a DMV office (make an Appointment(s) for faster service)
  • Complete application form DL 44. (An original DL 44 form must be submitted. Copies will not be accepted.)
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • Pay the application fee. (No fee for a senior citizen ID card.)

Double check your address before you leave DMV and tell the DMV representative if your address is incorrect. Your new ID will be mailed to you within 60 days. If you have not received your ID after 60 days, call 1–800–777–0133 and they can check on the status for you. Have your receipt and/or old ID card with you to provide information when requested.

You can see if you are eligibile to renew your identification card by mail by completing and submitting the California Identification Card Renewal by Mail Eligibility Form (DL 410 ID).


Social security number (SSN) requirement

The Social Security Act allows any state to use the SSN to establish the identification of an individual. The California Vehicle Code requires the collection of the social security number.

All applicants must submit to DMV their social security number. Evidence of your social security number is required only on applications for an original commercial driver license and any request to correct a SSN that is already on the driver record data base, regardless of the class. The SSN is considered confidential and will not appear on the photo license or be encoded on the magnetic stripe. Any documents that the department is authorized to release to the public will have the SSN masked. The SSN is electronically verified with Social Security Administration while you are in the DMV office for all DL/ID card transactions, if it has not already been verified.

The only documents acceptable for SSN verification are originals of the following:

  • Social Security Card (cannot be laminated)
  • Medicare card
  • U.S. Armed Forces Identification Cards:
    Active–DD 2
    Retired–DD 2
    Reserved–DD 2
    Dependent–DD 173
  • Military separation document–DD 214

Exception to the SSN requirement:

If you are legally present in the US, but ineligible for an SSN, you are exempt from SSN requirements. However, you must still provide an acceptable birth date/legal presence document for any DL/ID card application OR provide a valid SSN.


True Full Name

Your true full name appears on your BD/LP document. If you change your name, then you must provide one of the following documents to verify your name change:

  • Adoption documents that contain the legal name as a result of the adoption.
  • A name change document that contains the legal name both before and after the name change.
  • Marriage certificate (issued from a local or state Office of Vital Statistics).
  • A certificate, declaration, or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership.
  • Dissolution of marriage document that contains the legal name as a result of the court action.

This document must be issued by a government agency within the United States or a foreign jurisdiction that is authorized to issue such documents. The document must be a legible and unaltered original or certified copy with a government seal, stamp or other official imprint. You will need to surrender your current driver license and/or ID card.


Birth date verification and legal presence requirements

The issue of identification reliability, integrity, and confidentiality is of prime concern to all citizens. Eligibility for government services, issuance of various licenses, assessment of taxes, the right to vote, etc., are all determined through evaluations based on identification documents. It is critical that identification documents be authenticated and accurate in identifying each individual. The California driver license and ID card have been declared as primary identification documents in this state by the California legislature.

State law requires every applicant for an original California identification (ID) card and driver license to show verification of birth date and proof of legal presence within the United States to help safeguard the accuracy and integrity of departmental documents.

If your current name no longer matches the name on your birth date/legal presence document, see "True Full Name" and "How to Change Your Name" for more information.

Only the original or a certified copy of one of the following documents is acceptable:

  • US Birth Certificate (certified copy from state or local vital statistics office)
  • US Certificate of Birth Abroad or Report of Birth Abroad
  • Federal Proof of Indian Blood Degree
  • USCIS American Indian Card
  • Birth Certificate or passport issued from a US Territory
  • US Passport or US Passport Card
  • US Military Identification Cards (Active or reserve duty, dependent of a military member, retired member, discharged from service, medical/religious personnel)
  • Common Access Card (only if designated as Active military or Active Reserve or Active Selected Reserve)
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Northern Mariana Card
  • USCIS US Citizen ID Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Temporary Resident Identification Card
  • Canadian Passport/Birth Certificate
  • Non–resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card
  • Valid foreign passport with a valid Record of Arrival/Departure (form I–94)
  • "Processed for I–551" stamped in a valid foreign passport
  • Permanent Resident Re–entry Permit
  • Refugee travel document
  • Certified court order or judgment issued from a court of competent jurisdiction. Must contain name, birth date, place of birth, legal presence status, and judge’s signature.
  • Certification from California Department of Corrections or California Youth Authority
  • Employment Authorization Card
  • Valid I–94 stamped "Refugee," "Parole or Parolee," "Asylee," or Section 207, Section 208, Section 209, Section 212d(2), HP or PIP
  • Valid I–94 with attached photo stamped "Processed for I–551 temporary evidence of lawful admission for permanent residence"
  • Notice of Action (I–797 Approved Petition) – must indicate approved extension of stay or change in status that grants temporary or permanent residency, or indicates that an original, duplicate or renewal Resident Alien card is forthcoming.
  • Immigration judge’s order granting asylum
  • Mexican Border Crossing Card with valid I–94
  • U.S. Border Crossing Identification card with valid I–94

For information or to request a certified copy of a birth certificate from another state, you may call the following vital statistics offices:

  • Alabama (334) 206–5418
  • Alaska (907) 465–3391
  • Arizona (602) 364–1300
  • Arkansas (501) 661–2336
  • California (916) 445–2684
  • Colorado (303) 692–2200
  • Connecticut (860) 509–7897
  • Delaware (302) 744–4549
  • District of Columbia (202) 671–5000
  • Florida (904) 359–6900 ext. 1029
  • Georgia (404) 679–4702
  • Hawaii (808) 586–4533
  • Idaho (208) 334–5988
  • Illinois (217) 782–6553
  • Indiana (317) 233–2700
  • Iowa (515) 281–4944
  • Kansas (785) 296–1400
  • Kentucky (502) 564–4212
  • Louisiana (504) 593–5100
  • Maine (207) 287–3181
  • Maryland (410) 764–3038
  • Massachusetts (617) 740–2600
  • Michigan (517) 335–8656
  • Minnesota (651) 201–5000
  • Mississippi (601) 576–7450
  • Missouri (573) 751–6387
  • Montana 1 (888) 877–1946
  • Nebraska (402) 471–2871
  • Nevada (775) 684–4242
  • New Hampshire (603) 271–4654
  • New Jersey 1 (866) 649–8726
  • New Mexico 1 (866) 534–0051
  • New York (518) 474–3075
  • New York City (212) 639–9675
  • North Carolina (919) 733–3000
  • North Dakota (701) 328–2360
  • Ohio (614) 466–2531
  • Oklahoma (405) 271–4040
  • Oregon (971) 673–1190
  • Pennsylvania (724) 656–3100
  • Rhode Island (401) 222–2811
  • South Carolina (803) 898–3630
  • South Dakota (605) 773–4961
  • Tennessee (615) 741–1763
  • Texas (512) 458–7111
  • Utah (801) 538–6105
  • Vermont (802) 863–7275
  • Virginia (804) 662–6200
  • Washington (360) 236–4300
  • West Virginia (304) 558–2931
  • Wisconsin (608) 266–1371
  • Wyoming (307) 777–7591

For information or to request a certified copy of a birth certificate from a US Territory or possession, you may call the following vital statistics offices:

  • American Samoa (684) 633–1406
  • Guam (671) 735–7292
  • Puerto Rico (787) 767–9120
  • Virgin Islands:
    St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John (340) 774–9000 ext 4685 or 4686
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (670) 236–8717
  • Canal Zone (202) 955–0307

US Citizenship and Immigration Services; a Bureau of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Customer Service Center 1 (800) 375–5283
  • US State Department (For US citizen born abroad) (202) 955–0307

All phone numbers and website information are subject to change without notice.


Limited Term Legal Presence

All original and pending driver license or identification cards will expire on the expiration date of his/her birth date and legal presence document (BD/LP) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Your BD/LP document must have an expiration date 30 or more days from your application date. If your BD/LP document has an expiration date less than 30 days, you will not be able to start a driver license or identification card application.

If your BD/LP document has an expiration date of less than 60 days, you may complete your licensing requirements (written/vision/driving tests), but you will need to submit another BD/LP document with an expiration date of 60 days or more before your driver license or identification card is mailed to you.

Before your limited term driver license expires, the department will mail out an “extension” letter with instructions on how to complete your application for a driver license.

If your current name no longer matches the name on your birth date/legal presence document, see "True Full Name" and "How to Change Your Name" for more information.


Vision exam requirement

A 20/40 visual acuity with or without glasses is the department’s vision guideline. Customers applying for a Class A, B, or commercial C license must see 20/40 with both eyes and each eye individually. The departmental authority for administering the vision exam is 12804.9 (a) (1) (E) of the California Vehicle Code.

Visual acuity measurements are obtained for both eyes together and for each eye separately while both eyes remain open, as in normal driving. There are two methods of testing, a Snellen chart or Optec 1000 Vision Tester.

The Snellen chart contains five lines of letters and measures the portion of an applicant’s general seeing ability, known as visual acuity or keenness of vision. The Optec 1000 Vision Tester obtains a more precise vision score by providing a test situation, which is equivalent to placing the applicant at one end of a room 26 feet long to read a test target at the opposite end of the room.

Applicants who do not pass either exams may, depending on the circumstances, be referred to a vision specialist. The vision specialist may prescribe eye glasses or a stronger prescription for the current eye glasses worn.


Military Personnel Away From Home

If you are out of state on active military service in the United States Armed Forces, your and your spouse’s California driver licenses will continue to be valid beyond the normal expiration date. If your driver license has expired and you are out of state, call (916) 657–7790 to update your driving record. DMV will send you an Extension of License for Person in Armed Forces (DL 236) card to carry with your driver license. The DL 236 card shows California Vehicle Code (CVC) ยง12817 which authorizes the extension of your and your spouse’s driver licenses. It is important to update your driving record to prevent it from being purged.

Ask the authorities in the state or country where you are on duty if they will honor your extended license. Your driver license is not valid if it has been suspended, canceled, or revoked.

Your and your spouse’s extended licenses are good for 30 days after you or your spouse return to California. If honorably discharged, carry both your driver license and discharge papers during those 30 days.

When you and your spouse return to California, you will need to:

Note: To allow sufficient time for testing DMV does not administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

If you will not be returning to California:

  • Go to the office that issues driver licenses in your new state of residence
  • Follow the state’s requirements
  • Present your California driver license with your DL 236 card when requested.

For a lost driver license, call DMV at (916) 657–7790 and provide all pertinent information requested. A Certificate of Valid California Driver License (DL 231) will be issued without a photo stating, “Valid without photo.”

If your dependent’s California driver license expires soon, he/she can apply for a renewal of their driver license by calling DMV at (916) 657–7790 or he/she can request a no–fee one–year extension by writing to DMV at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, California 94290–0001

Be sure to include the name as it appears on the driver license, driver license number, birth date and address in the request.


How to find a driving under the influence (DUI) program

Every person convicted of a first offense DUI is required to complete an approved drinking driver program. For second and subsequent convictions, completion of an 18 or 30–month program is required.

To find out which program you require, contact the Municipal Court in the county where you appeared for sentencing of the DUI violation, or you may contact the DMV at (916) 657–6525.


I was on a court–ordered probation for a DUI conviction and have been arrested for DUI. What happens now?

An officer will serve you an immediate order of suspension if you have a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.01% or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening (PAS) device or other chemical test, if you are on court–ordered probation for a DUI conviction. This is an Administrative Per Se (APS) action. You are not eligible for a restricted driver license during your suspension. The chart below shows the length of your suspension.

While on court–ordered probation for a DUI conviction, you… You will receive…
submit to a PAS or other chemical test with a BAC of 0.01% or greater,A one year suspension.
refuse or fail to submit to a PAS test or other chemical test,A two year suspension.
refuse or fail to submit to a PAS test or other chemical test, and you have two or more prior DUI convictions,A three year revocation.

If the officer determines that you are in violation of more than one APS action, you may be issued a suspension and/or revocation order for each action.

You may request a hearing from DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension by contacting a local Driver Safety office.


Negligent operator violation point count

Once you are licensed to drive in California it is important that you continue to follow all the laws and practice safe driving habits. If you start accumulating tickets for moving violations, which count as one or two points, you may be considered a negligent operator and may lose your privilege to drive.

Most driving offenses, such as hit and run, reckless driving, and driving under the influence, are designated as 2 points and will remain on your record for seven years from the violation date. Most other offenses are designated as 1 point and will remain on your record for three years from the violation date. Any "at fault" accident is normally counted as one point.

You will be considered a negligent operator if your driving record shows any of the following point count totals:

  • 4 points in 12 months, or
  • 6 points in 24 months, or
  • 8 points in 36 months

When you are required to report an accident to DMV

If you are involved in a vehicle accident that occurred in California, you must report it to DMV if:

  • There was property damage of more than $750 or
  • any one was injured (no matter how minor) or killed.

Each driver must make a report to DMV within 10 days, whether you caused the accident or not and even if the accident occurred on private property.

You must complete a DMV Traffic Accident Report form SR 1/SR 1A.

To submit the form electronically, use the eForm version or complete the PDF form and mail it to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Financial Responsibility (Mail Station J–237)
PO Box 942884
Sacramento, California 94284–0884

If you do not submit this report, your driving privilege will be suspended. DMV may ask your insurance company to verify that you had coverage in effect at the time of the accident. If you did not have insurance, your driving privilege will be suspended for one year. To get your license back, after the suspension, you will need to provide proof of financial responsibility and maintain it on record for three years. The accident may count as one point on your driving record (California Insurance Requirements).

For information about violation points and your driving record, see negligent operator violation point count.

For information about what vehicle section violations count as negligent operator points, see common California vehicle code violations used in negligent operator count

For additional information regarding accident reports, call the Financial Responsibility section at (916) 657–6677.


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Alternative methods for completing the driver license written examination

DMV offers alternative methods for completing the driver license written examination. The examination may be conducted:

  • In a foreign language.
  • In American Sign Language.
  • By listening to a cassette tape rather than reading the material (audio).
  • By having an examiner ask the questions (Person–to–person Examination).

It is advisable for an individual with special needs to discuss those needs with the local driver license supervisor to allow him or her to better assist the applicant.

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.


Interpreter Services

The Department of Motor Vehicles provides interpreters, including American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, at no cost to the customer.

If you need an interpreter, please let one of our staff know and an appointment will be scheduled for when a foreign language or an ASL interpreter is available. Appointments may also be scheduled during regular business hours by calling 1–800–777–0133 and indicating foreign language assistance is needed. For the California Relay Telephone Service from TDD phones, call 1–800–735–2929 or, from voice phones, call 1–800–735–2922 for assistance in contacting DMV and making arrangements for an ASL interpreter.


What other languages is the written or audio test available in?

Besides English, the basic Class C written driver license exam is also available in the following languages:
Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Besides English, the basic Class C audio driver license exam is also available in the following languages:
Armenian, Chinese/Mandarin, Hindi, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese

Note: To allow you sufficient time for testing DMV will not be administering written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m.

Graphic for disabled person services Helpful Information for DMV’s Disabled Customers


International Driving Permits

The State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license. California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident.

The IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person’s foreign driver license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California. Citations issued to a person in California who has an IDP, but does not have a California driver license will be placed on the Department of Motor Vehicle database.

The IDP is also called an International Driver License, International License, etc.

For more information about travel and driver licensing requirements outside of the US, visit the US State Department Road Safety Overseas website at: http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html


What is the California Motorcycle Safety course?

The California motorcycle safety course (Basic Rider Course) is provided by the California Motorcycle Safety Program (CMSP) and is administered by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The CMSP is California’s official motorcycle safety and training program.

All riders in California under 21 years of age must successfully complete this course to obtain a motorcycle license or endorsement. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be given a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training (DL389).

For information about the CHP training course, please call 1–877–743–3411 or visit www.ca–msp.org


What happens if I fail my Class C or motorcycle driving test?

You must:

  • schedule another driving test OR wait two weeks before scheduling another driving test if you are under 18 years of age. (VC 12814.6(a)(5))
  • pay a retest fee.

To make a driving test Appointment(s) , go online or call 1–800–777–0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday – Friday


What do I need to do to get my driver’s license if I fail the driving test on all three tries?

If you fail your driving test on all three tries, you will need to start another driving license application. You will have to:

  • Complete a new Driver License and/or Identification Card application (DL 44) form.
    NOTE: If you are under 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the application form.
  • Pay another application fee.
  • Provide the following again: your SSN, birth date and legal presence, and true full name. If you are under 18 years of age, you must provide your driver education and driver training certificates again.
  • Take another picture and thumbprint.
  • Retake and pass the written exam.
  • Retake and pass the vision exam

After you are issued a new instruction permit, you may schedule an appointment to retake your driving test.


What happens if I lose my Permit?

If you lose your driving instruction permit, you may apply for a duplicate.

  • Complete a Driver License and/or Identification Card application (DL 44) form.
  • If you are under 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the application form.
  • Visit a DMV office to apply for your duplicate permit.

Make an Appointment(s) to apply for your duplicate permit.

Why do I need to bring my Instruction Permit to my driving test if I am over 18 years of age?

Regardless of age, a person must have in their immediate possession a driver license or Instruction permit of the appropriate class to operate a motor vehicle.


If I lose my driver’s education certificate, will I be able to take my driving test?

If you lose any of your completion certificates (driver’s education, driver’s training or motorcycle course completion), contact the issuing school and request a duplicate.


What can I expect during the noncommercial Class C driving test?

The Class C driving test is used to determine your driving competency. You must provide a vehicle that is safe to drive and insured. When you appear for your driving test, the driving test examiner will ask to see your instruction permit(s), driver education and driver training completion certificates (if you are a minor), and proof of insurance for your vehicle.

Your driving test begins with a vehicle safety check. This pre–drive inspection demonstrates that you are familiar with your vehicle and that your vehicle meets the DMV’s minimum safety requirements. You will be asked to identify and/or demonstrate parts of the vehicle commonly used in driving. If your vehicle does not meet the minimum safety requirements, your driving test will be rescheduled.

You will also be asked to demonstrate the arm signals for right and left turns, and for stopping or slowing down. The examiner will ask you to drive out of the DMV driving test line and the driving portion of your test will begin. Your examiner is an observer only and will only speak to give you instructions ahead of time on what driving maneuvers you are to perform. He/she will not try to trick you or ask you to do drive illegally. Your examiner will be marking your score sheet during your driving test.

On the road, your examiner will be looking to see whether you:

  • Check traffic, including pedestrians, by your head and eye movements as well as using your mirrors.
  • Signal before you pull into or out of traffic, make a turn, or change lanes.
  • Drive at an appropriate and legal speed: not too fast and not too slow.
  • Leave adequate space between your vehicle and other vehicles.
  • Maintain good control of your vehicle.
  • Obey all traffic laws.

During your driving test, your examiner will ask you to perform certain critical skill test maneuvers that include:

  • Backing your vehicle.
  • Driving through intersections (controlled, uncontrolled, and stop signs).
  • Completing left and right hand turns.
  • Completing left and right lane changes.
  • Driving in residential and business areas.

If you make a critical driving error (CDE), you will be given an unsatisfactory test score (failure). A CDE is a dangerous or potentially dangerous driving maneuver. Examples of critical driving errors include:

  • Driving at least 10 mph over or under the speed limit.
  • Failing to look over your shoulder when pulling into traffic or changing lanes.
  • Running a red light.
  • Failing to use windshield wipers when necessary because of rain.

When you return to the DMV, your examiner will inform you whether your driving test was “satisfactory” (pass) or “unsatisfactory” (fail). He/she will also go over your score sheet with you, and explain any mistakes you made and stress areas that need improvement. If your driving test is unsatisfactory, you must reschedule for another day and pay a retest fee when you want to take another driving test.

Study the Parent–Teen Training Guide (PDF) to help you with practicing your driving skills and the California Driver’s Handbook to familiarize yourself with the laws of the road.

Review the "How to prepare for your driving test" brochure for additional information.


What is a suspended driver license?

A suspended driver license means a person’s privilege to drive a car is temporarily withdrawn. The driver license may be suspended by either DMV or the court. Suspensions may be imposed if a person:

How long will my driver license be suspended?

The length of your suspension depends on the reason for the action. Suspensions can run from 30 days for a first conviction of reckless driving to 1 year for not taking a chemical test for DUI to indefinite because of a physical/mental condition or disorder.

Contact DMV at 1–800–777–0133 during normal business hours (Between 8–5, Mon., Tues., Thurs., & Fri. Between 9–5 on Wednesdays.) for information about your particular situation. Please have your driver’s license number and any other information sent to you from DMV available.

If my license is suspended, how can I get it back?

The steps you take to get your drivers license back depends on the reason(s) it was suspended. The following examples give you an idea of what you might need to do.

If your driver license was suspended for:

Being a negligent operator

  • Pay a reissue fee to DMV.
  • Pay fines to the court.
  • File proof of financial responsibility
  • Complete negligent operator probation without incurring a traffic violation or being involved in an avoidable accident.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (DUI).

  • Complete a mandatory suspension period.
  • Pay a reissue fee to DMV.
  • File Proof of Financial Responsibility (California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR 22 )
  • File a Notice of Completion Certificate (DL 101) (You must complete a Driving under the Influence [DUI] Treatment program.)
  • Pay fines to the court.
  • Possible imprisonment.
    NOTE: A restricted license may be issued prior to the completion date of the mandatory suspension period if certain reinstatement requirements are met.

Having a physical/mental condition or disorder.

  • Provide a satisfactory Driver Medical Evaluation (DS 326) and/or other medical information indicating the condition no longer affects the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Was involved in a car accident and did not have proof of financial responsibility (car insurance).

  • Complete a mandatory one year suspension.
  • Pay a reissue fee to DMV.
  • File Proof of Financial Responsibility (California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR 22)

Failed to pay (FTP) a traffic citation or failed to appear (FTA) in court on a traffic citation, you must:

  • Pay your citations or appear in court. You will be given an FTP/FPA abstract that says you fulfilled this requirement from the court.
  • Pay a re–issue fee to DMV.

Contact DMV at 1–800–777–0133 during normal business hours (Between 8–5, Mon., Tues., Thurs., & Fri. Between 9–5 on Wednesdays.) for information about your particular situation. Please have your driver’s license number and any other information sent to you from DMV available.