The Learners Permit: Guide for Freshman
To obtain your California learners permit you must:
- Be at least 15 years old
- Fill out DMV application (DL44)
- Obtain your parents or guardian signature on the application form
- Present an acceptable birth data/legal presence document
- Have completed Drivers Education
- Provide social security number
- Pay a $12 application fee
- Pass the drivers permit test
For more details on these DMV requirements please click here.
The first step: Drivers Education to prepare for the written exam
Drivers education is the first step you need to get your learners permit. It is also a way to reduce the cost of your (parents) insurance.
You'll want to pick up a copy of the Driver Handbook published by the DMV. That manual will teach you about rules of the road in California, and it will also tell you how to apply for your first driver's license.
You must have completed driver education and provide the DMV form DL 356 or OL 237, or be enrolled in driver education and driver training during the same semester and provide the DMV form DL 391 or OL 239. Your driving instructor will give you the forms to show proof of completion.
See our section below on where to take driver education for additional information.
The next step: "behind the wheel" drivers training.
Once you have studied and passed the rules of the road examination on paper, your next step is to put your knowledge into practice. Drivers Training is a mandatory requirement for teens looking to earn their driver license before the age of 18.
Drivers training helps you get practice. YOU get behind the wheel. There are classes designed to help you gain the confidence and knowledge you need to pass the California drivers test, and more importantly help you learn the skills to be a safe driver. At the end of your drivers training program you will feel confident, secure, and safe behind the wheel of a car.
Where Can I Take Driver Education or Driver Training?
You may take driver education (classroom training) or driver training (behind-the-wheel) in a public or private high school, or in a state licensed, professional driving school.
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.
A high school may issue you a student license if you are over 15 years old and have the written consent of your parents. A student license lets you drive only during school or professional driver training.
Licensed professional driving schools issue two types of restricted licenses. A student license to a person between 15 and up to 18 years of age and a regular license to a person 18 years of age and older. A driving school restricted license only lets you drive during school or professional driver training.
The California Drivers Road Test
Once you have completed drivers education course, obtained your learners permit and have taken 6 hours of "behind the wheel" training you will be well prepared to pass your California drivers road test.
For more information on this next step, please go to Guide for Sophomores and Parents.
To Make a DMV Appointment:
To schedule an appointment at the DMV for written or driving tests, click here.
Provisional Permit Restrictions
Minors may use the provisional permit to practice with a parent, guardian, spouse, or an adult 25 years of age or older, who has a valid California driver license. The person must be close enough to take control of the vehicle at any time. A provisional permit does not let you drive alone--not even to a DMV office to take a driving test.
If you have a permit then you cannot carry passengers under the age of 18 and you must ride during daylight hours only and not on the freeway.
This web site is provided as a service to the community. Please refer to the California DMV for all current requirements, laws, and other restrictions as the above information may have changed.