How to Get a California Drivers License if You’re From Out-of-State

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If you are just “visiting” in CA, you technically don’t have to get a CA driver’s license as long as your home state or home country’s license is valid. To get a California Driver’s License (provided you have already have a valid license from your home state) you only have to take a written Traffic Laws and Sign test at the DMV, no driving test.. thankfully!

Step 1)

Visit a local DMV office. You should make an appointment for faster service(you can make an appointment directly on the website). This will allow you to just walk right in on your appointment day and avoid the line.

Step 2)

Complete application form DL 44 (only originals will be accepted). You must provide your Social Security number and birth date.

Step 3)

The things you will be required to do at the DMV are:
* Pass a vision test. (don’t worry it’s very simple if you have decent vision)
* Take a picture
* Give a thumb print
* Pay a fee ($28)

Step 4)

You must pass a Traffic Laws and Signs Test. This test is 36 questions and you have 3 chances to pass. It’s fairly simple and tests your basic knowledge of driving and obeying all traffic laws.

There are Sammple Tests located on the CA DMV website here:

The DMV recommends you read the California Driver Handbook located here:

The handbook is about 100 pages and you can just read through it briefly to get the basic information and pass the test.

Step 5)

There is also a great resource called “DMV Cheat Sheets” online that basically gives you all the information you’ll need to know for the written test and also gives you sample questions that are just like the actual questions on the real test. Just go to and get the California version. It’s $9.95 and will save you hours of studying for the real test.

Step 6)

Below are some “sample’ questions that you might see on the DMV written test:

1) What is the speed limit in business and residential areas if not otherwise posted?
Answer: 25 mph
2) When parked on a hill, what should you do before getting out your car?
Answer: turn your wheels away from the curb, make sure your parking brake is set, and check your rear view mirror before getting out of the car to watch out for bikers or pedestrians.
3) What should you have your lights set to during foggy or snowy weather?
Answer: low beams
4) In what direction should the wheels of your vehicle face when about to make a left turn?
Answer: Pointed straight ahead until safe to make the turn.
5) What is the 3 second rule?
Answer: Allow 3 seconds between the time the car ahead of your passes a given point and the time your car reaches that same point to avoid traveling too close.

Step 7)

After you have completed these steps at the DMV, they will issue you a temporary driver’s license and send the original to you in the mail in about 2-3 weeks!


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