How do I receive a Learner's Permit from the DMV?

In California, you must be at least 15 ½ to receive a Learner's Permit.

A Learner's Permit is not a driver’s license, but rather a permit to drive under the following conditions:

learners permit dmv

  • You must have a parent, guardian, spouse, or an adult 25 years of age or older with a driver's license in the car with you.
  • You must follow traffic laws and avoid having an accident.

To obtain your Learner's Permit, you need to:

  • Complete an online (more convenient) or classroom-based driver's education course that is equivalent to 30 hours of classroom time and is approved by the DMV. Our course qualifies for the 30 hours of classroom time. Once you complete our course, we will mail you a DMV Certificate of Completion (DL 400C) to take to the DMV.
  • Review the California Driver’s Handbook and prepare to take the DMV's written test. Below is a link to the DMV's practice tests that should help you:
    Samples of Driver License Written Tests

NOTE: If you are due for a vision exam or need glasses, attend to those matters before going to the DMV to get your Learner's Permit. At the DMV office, you will be tested for your ability to read a visual acuity chart.

Have the following items ready to take to DMV:

  • Driver's Education Completion Certificate (DL 400C) (we will mail you the certificate).
  • Application for Driver’s License or Identification Card (DL 44). This form is not available online. You can contact the DMV's automated phone service anytime at 1-800-777-0133 and they will mail you the form.
  • An acceptable document verifying your age and legal presence such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or military ID, permanent resident card, certificate of naturalization or citizenship. You can receive the full list at the following link: Birth date verification and legal presence requirements
  • Your social security number and your true full name.
  • $33.00. The DMV accepts cash, money order, check, or ATM/debit card.

Make an appointment with the DMV office (walk-ins are only accepted at four DMV Driver’s License Processing Centers).

Go to the DMV office on your scheduled appointment, bring all documents, be prepared to take the written test, and pay the fee. You also need to take the vision test.