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Do I need California Drivers License to drive in California?

If you are a California resident and would like to drive a vehicle, you must obtain a California driver's license.

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If you are over 18 years old and have a valid driver's license from another state, you may drive in California only while visiting. However, if you've decided to move to California or take a job in the state, you are required to obtain a California license within 10 days.

Visiting minors between 16 and 18 years old who have licenses or permits from other states or countries may drive in California for 10 days. After that time, they must either obtain a California driver's license or a Nonresident Minor's Certificate.

You are not required to have a California driver's license:

  • To drive snowmobiles or off-highway vehicles that are legally registered (except on a freeway).
  • To operate farm machinery, including farming vehicles.
  • For members of the U.S. Armed Forces or civilians while on federal business operating a vehicle owned or controlled by the U.S. government.