How to get your driver’s license in California?

You might be a bit anxious about messing up the written test... or making  one stupid mistake during the driving test (like turning into a one-way street!)...


If you are a tourist, you can use your license (from your country) as long as it has not expired. It makes totally sense.
But  if you settle in and become a resident, you officially have 10 days to get your license (official, but… stretchy deadline).



The written test:


You have to go to the DMV. You should make an appointment, and not solely rely on your good fortune! Long lines in front of the DMV are legendary! Also, beware of their opening hours ... offices are usually closed on Fridays, and on Wednesday they are not open until 9am!

Then you'll fill out forms, they’ll take a picture of you, take your fingerprints (thumbprints), you will take a visual test, and pay some “fees”… You will also need your Social Security Number. However, for those who do not have their SSN yet, your passport and the document proving your legal presence in the States should do it.
And finally, you can take your test and its 36 questions.


Some tips...

Go online, and practice by taking tests offered on the DMV website, read the “tutorials” and the California Driver Handbook. Most questions are really easy and obvious. But you can’t guess answers for some of them like the legal deadline to notify an accident, or legal deadline for paperwork when you buy or sell a car… You will have to read carefully and learn. Come on, off to work!


Tests are available in different languages, including French. But the translation does not necessarily make it simpler.
Finally, note that it does not matter if you fail (6 mistakes and up), you can repeat up to 3 times the very same day!



The driving test: 
Once you have passed the written test, you can make an appointment for the driving test. It is possible to take it 3 times for very low fees ($ 6 to do it again).
For the test, you’ll bring your own car, you’ll watch the road, you won’t  talk to the instructor who is supposed to tell you the instructions just once, and you remain focused.
You will be given a temporary license valid for 60 days, during which you should receive the final one. Check your address and name (Misunderstandings with regard to maiden names are very common).
And that's it. You finally got your brand new ID, which will become one of your most valuable assets.


Check  the rear-view mirror and “Drive Safely”!