CA Learner’s Permits

No matter what type of driver’s license you obtain within the state of California, you will first need to obtain a learner’s permit to ensure that you get the practice you need before becoming a licensed driver in the state. The laws and requirements surrounding the California learner’s permit should be well understood, and 4dmv.com won’t let you go on an information hunt when you can get all your information all in one place. Getting the most updated information is the deal when you use 4dmv.com as your top resource for California DMV information.


In order to apply for your California driver’s permit, you must be at least 15 and 6 months old. You will need to carry your California permit for a period of 6 months or until the age of 18, after which you are able to apply for your driver’s license or provisionary license.

All driver’s permits must be obtained in-person at the local DMV, with a completed form DL 44 or DL 44C for noncommercial and commercial drivers. This form will not be offered online as it is an official form that complies with the standards of federal law and is the same form that you will use when you get your standard driver’s license.

In order to apply, you must meet age requirements, as well as one of three other requirements:

  • Completed certified California driver’s ed and driver’s training
  • Completed certified California driver’s ed and currently attending training courses
  • Currently attending both driver’s ed and training courses

You will be required to bring the appropriate documents certifying compliance with this requirement.

Finding the Local Office

Finding your local DMV office is easy as there are many throughout the state. If you are ready to make your appointment, you will need to know which office to report to, as well as the office to make an appointment with. To find the right office near you, you are provided with two resources:

If you would rather call to determine which office is closest, you can speak to a California DMV representative between 8am and 5pm Pacific time at 1-800-777-0133.

Schedule Your DMV Appointment

In order to get a learner’s permit, you will have to report in-person, so it is essential that you schedule an appointment with the DMV. To do so, you can go online or call the DMV.

Practicing for Your California Driver’s Written Exam

Before you are able to obtain your learner’s permit, you must first pass your written exam indicating full understanding of California traffic laws and maneuvers, as well as road signs and pedestrian signals. The exam is very important and you should be well prepared before you begin.

The first thing you should do is obtain the California Driver Handbook, as this is the more important publication for any California driver on the road. This handbook will ensure that you are given the full details of every element of driving in California. For the best access, there are three separate methods of obtaining this handbook, free of cost.

The next step is to check out the California DMV’s driving knowledge tutorial found online at Driver License Knowledge Review Introduction, which requires Adobe Flash Player to view. This is a great tutorial that explores the various elements of the exam, simulated in a format and fashion that is quite similar to the exam you will take when you are ready.

If you feel that you could use more study, you can also utilize the sample tests from the California DMV found at Samples of Driver Tests. These sample tests provide questions that you will find similar to those on the writing exam. You can choose between various license types to ensure you are getting a sample of the driving test you will take.

There are also practice tests offered, such as those offered by idrivesafely.com. These practice tests aren’t provided by the California DMV but will ensure that you are well prepared, with content that is much like that of the California DMV written exams.

Getting Your Permit

Getting your permit is quite simple once you have studied and understand the procedure to follow. You want to set your appointment ahead of time as you won’t be able to get a same-day appointment. Once your appointment is set and you have practiced and studied for the written exam all that is left to do is obtain your permit.

  • Submit completed DMV form DL 44 or 44C Driver License or Identification Card Application or Commercial Driver License Application
  • Parent or guardian signature must be present on application to ensure liability is assumed
  • Your thumb print will be taken
  • Provide valid Social Security number
  • Verify your birthdate –if you aren’t sure what applies, visit Driver License and Identification (ID) Card Information
  • Pay $31 fee
  • Pass vision exam

Passing the written permit exam is quite simple if you have studied and prepared properly. There are 46 questions in all, of which 36 must be answered correctly for a passing score. If you happen to fail, you can make another appointment and take again 3 more times, before you will have a 7 day waiting period in between any more tries. If you do fail, the best thing to do is postpone until you are more confident that you have studied enough to make a passing score.

  • The driver’s permit will need to be held for a minimum 6 month term or until you have turned 18, whichever comes first, after which you are eligible to apply for your driver’s license. Of practice with your permit, you will need a total of 50 hours driving with a licensed parent or guardian, or a California driver aged 25 or older, 10 of which must be night time hours.
  • While you hold a permit, however, you may not drive alone at night, or at all with passengers present within the vehicle if they are not 25 or older, licensed, and helping you gain your practice hours.

Replacing Lost or Stolen California Permits

If you lose or have your permit stolen, you simply provide the same documents and paperwork as you did to obtain the permit initially. You will be charged any fees applicable by the DMV, which must be received before the duplicate is provided.

Expired Permits

If your California driver permit is expired, you will again complete the same process, however, you will complete the writing exam all over again. The fee is $27 to renew, and your time will carry forward as long as you keep your original permit as well.

Knowing the right processes to get your learner’s permit can save you time while ensuring that you complete the process at your appointment without having to return for any reason. It is such an aggravating experience to complete a process only to find out that you are missing something, preventing you from completing the procedure entirely. If you want to make sure that your forms are all there, the paperwork is correct, and you have followed the right steps, let 4dmv.com be your guide when getting a California learning permit.


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