Obtaining A New California Drivers License

Applying for a new drivers license in California? The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a process in place for getting a driverse license, which requires exams and documentation. We've collected up-to-date information, and links to useful resources, to help save you time when going through the process. Select from the options below to get started. 

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2: By mail

Some drivers prefer to handle the renewal process by mail, rather than taking advantage of assistance services, visiting the DMV in person, or via available online services. Service by mail is available with limitations. Read below for additional details or visit your local DMV.

3: Via a DMV office

If your specific needs require an in-person visit, most, if not all, driver license services can be handled at your local DMV office. Varying DMV offices sometimes supply different types of services so you will need to check before your visit to make sure the DMV closest to you provides the service you require. In addition, you can call to see if your DMV allows you to make a personal appointment.

In order to obtain a new California drivers license, a driver must pass certain test requirements.

To prepare for the tests, a driver should pick up a copy of the California drivers manual at a local DMV office, or download it from the DMV website. 

Licensed Drivers from Another State
If an applicant already holds a drivers license from another state, it is unlikely he or she will be asked to take a driving test. If the out-of-state license holder has medical or mental conditions, he or she may have to take the test. 


The DMV drivers license examiner will be evaluating the drivers on the following:

  • Safe driving skills
  • Ability to recognize the road rules
  • Smoothness in steering
  • Acceleration
  • Deceleration

Examiners will also monitor:

  • How a driver obeys the road rules
  • How the driver responds to signs
  • How timely the driver performs signals

The applicant should arrive for testing in a registered and insured vehicle. If the car is deemed not to be roadworthy, the driver will not be able to take the test. Once a driver passes the test and received a temporary license, he or she will receive a new California drivers license within two weeks.

Are You Moving to a Different State?

If you are relocating to another state, you might also want to consider acquiring a new drivers license. For more information on that process, click here.

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