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How to apply for a permit if you are under 18

  • Complete and submit an original application form DL 44 (Only an original DL 44 form will be accepted. Copies obtained by xeroxing, faxing, or other methods will not be accepted.) Sample DL 44
  • Provide your social security number on the DL 44. It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
  • Have both of your parents' or guardians' signatures on the DL 44 application form
NOTE: When you sign your application for an instruction permit/driver license, you agree to submit to a chemical test to determine the alcohol or drug content of your blood when required by a peace officer. If you refuse to sign this statement on your driver license application, DMV will not issue a permit or license.
  • Give a thumb print
  • Have your picture taken
  • 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.
  • Provide your full legal name
  • Submit the proper form(s) for driver education and/or driver training classes. (See below for details)
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 traffic laws and sign 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 DL 44.
NOTE: All written or audio exams must be taken before 4:30 p.m. so you are not rushed when taking the test. We want you to pass your test. Study the handbook and make use of the practice tests and driving knowledge tutorial.

If you are between 15 ½ and 17 ½ years of age, you will need to provide proof that you:

  • Completed driver education
    or
  • Completed driver education and driver training.
    or
  • Enrolled and participating in an approved integrated driver education/driver training program.

    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.

NOTE: If your driver education and/or driver training were completed in a state other than California, DMV will accept a letter from your out-of state secondary school on the school's official stationery. The letter must be signed by a school official stating that the completed courses you have taken are equivalent to a California secondary school course as described in Section 10020 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations and on form “To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools” (DL 33)

The “To Secondary Schools Other Than California Schools“ (DL 33) form should be sent to your out-of-State School. The DL 33 should not be completed, but rather contains the information for the out-of-state school to complete the letter. Obtain a DL 33 form from your local DMV office or by calling DMV at 1-800-777-0133.

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

As soon as you pass your written test, you will be issued a permit.

The 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 17 ½.

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. It is illegal for you to drive alone at any time.

NOTE: New Driving Restrictions for Persons Under 18 Years of Age

As of January 1, 2006, a new law changes the length of time for two restrictions on your driver license, if you are under 18 years of age:

For a period of 12 months, you may not transport passengers under age 20 unless you are accompanied by a parent, guardian, instructor or licensed driver over the age of 25, and you may not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

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.