March 5

What Is The California DMV Driver’s License Examination Process In 2023

The California DMV driver’s license examination process is very straightforward. In this quick and simple guide, you’ll understand what the examination process is like.

How To Get Your First Driver’s License In California As A New Driver

If you have never had a driver’s license before and you live in the state of California, there is a pretty simple process depending on how old you are. If you are under 18, the requirements are different and a bit more strict.

Process To Obtain A California Driver’s License Under The Age Of 18

If you are under the age of 18 and want to get your first driver’s license in California, you will need to complete a few steps. The first step is to sign up for and complete several hours of “classroom” driver’s ed training. This classroom time can actually be completed by enrolling in an online driver’s ed course in California.

Once you have completed your driver’s ed course, you can obtain a driving permit. From there, you’ll need to complete 50 hours of driving instruction with a licensed California driver aged 25 or older.

After that, you’re ready to head to the DMV so you can take your vision exam, written test, and driving exam. Once you pass those, you get a provisional driver’s license and can drive on your own!

Listed below are a few of the better online driver’s ed courses to consider.

The 4 Best Online Driver’s Ed Courses In California

The California DMV Driver’s License Examination Process For New Drivers 18 And Over

If you are a California resident over the age of 18 and you have never had a driver’s license before, the examination process to get your California driver’s license is very easy. There are no driver’s ed courses required and you do not need to have any behind-the-wheel training time.

All you need to do is schedule a time to go to the DMV, take your vision test, written exam, and pass a quick driving test. Once you’ve done that, you get a full fledged California driver’s license!

California DMV Driver’s License Examination Process For New California Residents

If you just moved to California, you’ll need to apply for a California driver’s license within 10 days of establishing residence.

The examination process is simple. Schedule an appointment at the DMV so that you can bring proof of residency. You’ll also need to take a vision exam and a written exam. As long as you had a valid driver’s license from another U.S. state, you’ll be able to get your California driver’s license without ever having to take a behind-the-wheel driving exam.

VIDEO: How To Get A Driver’s License In California

Where To Take The California DMV Driver’s License Tests

You may take the knowledge, vision, and behind-the-wheel driving tests at any DMV field office that provides driver license services.

To save time, make an appointment online at: or call 1-800-777-0133 during normal business hours.

NOTE: The DMV will not administer written or audio exams after 4:30 p.m. to ensure you have sufficient time for testing.

Knowledge and vision tests are required when you apply for an original driver’s license or upgrade to a different class of driver’s license.

Cheating On Your Driver’s License Exam Is A VERY Serious Offense

The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: The California Driver Handbook, cheat sheets, or electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc.

If any testing aid is used during the written test, the written test will be marked as a “failure.” An action may also be taken by the DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process.

Types Of California DMV Driver’s License Examinations In 2023

California driver’s license examinations include:

  • A vision test. (Bring your eyeglasses or contact lenses to the exam.)
  • A test of traffic laws and road signs.
  • A behind-the-wheel driving test, if required. You must have an appointment to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. For the driving test, bring:— Your old driver’s license or instruction permit, if you have one.
    — A licensed driver age 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license.
    — Proof that the vehicle is properly insured.

IMPORTANT: If you use a rental vehicle, the driving test applicant must be listed on the rental contract. The contract must not exclude driving tests.

— A vehicle that is safe to drive, and has valid registration. The vehicle’s brake lights, horn, parking brake, and turn signals must work properly. The vehicle cannot have bald tires, which would have less than 1/32 inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves. The driver’s side window must roll down. The windshield must allow a full unobstructed field of vision for you and the examiner. There must be at least two rearview mirrors (one must be on the left outside of the vehicle). You will be asked to locate the controls for the vehicle’s headlights, windshield wipers, defroster, and emergency flashers. You must demonstrate how to use the parking brake.

NOTE: The behind-the-wheel driving test will be rescheduled if the vehicle does not meet the above requirements or if you refuse to use your seat belt during the driving test.

For more information, refer to the DMV’s Driving Test (FFDL 22) Fast Facts brochure, DMV videos, and sample tests available online at

VIDEO: What The California DMV Driving Test Is Like

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