California teens can start the process of becoming a driver as young as 15½ years old. It starts with getting your learner's permit, also called a provisional instruction permit. We break down exactly what is required so you can move through the process quickly and smoothly.
The Criteria to Apply for a Learner's Permit in California
The route to take to apply for a learner's permit in California depends on your age.
If you are between 15½ and 17½, you need to take a driver's education course before you apply for a learner's permit. You will need to present your driver's ed certificate of completion when you apply for your instruction permit.
If you are over 18, a driver's ed course isn’t necessary. You can head straight to the DMV to apply for your permit.
You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Bring all relevant documents to the DMV, such as birth certificate, Social Security card, proof of California residency, and proof of legal residency if you are an immigrant.
If you’re under 18, a parent or guardian must accompany you to the DMV to sign the Driver License or Identification (DL/ID) Card application form.
Take the knowledge test to prove your competency of California driving laws. Pass, and the permit is yours!
Even though it’s not mandatory, we highly recommend that teens 18 years and older also consider driver education. A driver's ed course teaches the principles of safe driving that’s beneficial to all young drivers.
Sign Up for a California Driver's Ed Course Online
If you’re under age 17½, your first step is to find a California driver's ed course. You can take in-class lessons, but an online driver's ed course is faster and more convenient.
What to Consider When Choosing an Online Driver's Ed Course
There are many online driving schools on the web. Choosing a reputable one is important. Here’s what to take into consideration:
Is the driving school approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles? Don’t waste your time taking a course that doesn’t meet the state’s requirements. The DMV only grants permits to applicants who have completed a state-approved course.
Do they offer a 30-hour course? The State of California requires that all online California driver's ed courses cover 30 hours of instruction.
Are past students happy? If reviews are posted on the driving school’s website, take the time to read through them.
What Our California Driver's Ed Online Course Covers
A California driver's ed course should cover California traffic laws and signs, rules of the road, and driving safety.
At I Drive Safely, our course is broken up into eight chapters, each covering a specific topic. At the end of each chapter, you’ll answer a short multiple-choice quiz. The course is 30 hours long, as per the state’s requirement. Depending on how fast you work through it, you can finish it in a much shorter period.
When you reach the end of the course, you’ll take an exam consisting of 50 questions. To pass, you need to score at least 80%. Worried that you may not pass the first time? Relax. You can retake the exam as many times as needed at no additional cost.
Prepare for Your Knowledge Test
When you successfully complete the course, we will send your certificate of completion for free. By regular mail, it normally takes five to seven days. Once you receive it, head to the DMV to take the knowledge test. The test includes 46 multiple-choice questions about California traffic laws, but don't worry — you'll have covered all this material in your driver's ed course.
You just need to get 38 questions right to pass. If you pass, you’ll walk out waving your learner's permit and be one step closer to becoming a California driver.
Get Your Learner's Permit With I Drive Safely
It’s that simple. In fact, getting a learner’s permit in California is probably easier than learning to surf! It all starts with our California driver's ed online course, so sign up today.