Driver's License

You can obtain a California Driver's License (Class C) from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will need to take the following steps in order to obtain a license:
  1. Visit a DMV Office with the following documents. Make an appointment online for faster service.
    • Passport
    • I-94
    • I-20
    • $31 for the Application Fee

    Click here to view a list of California DMV Offices.

  2. At the DMV office, you will:
    1. Complete application form DL 44
    2. Give a thumb print
    3. Provide your social security number
    4. Verify your birth date and legal presence (use your Passport, I-94 and I-20)
    5. Pay the $31 application fee
    6. Pass a vision exam
    7. Pass a written test (traffic laws and sign test).
      • The written test: There are 36 questions on the test and you will have three chances to pass it.
      • Sample written tests: Please see the sample test available on the DMV's website. You may also practice the test online at the DMV's website.
      • Studying for the written test: To study for the written test, you can pick up a study booklet at the DMV, or go online and choose either California Driver Handbook (HTML) or California Driver Handbook (PDF).
      • Other Languages: You can also take the written test in the following languages if you prefer: Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Persian/Farsi, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog/Filipino, Thai, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
  3. If you pass the written test, you will be given a permit. This will allow you to practice driving. However, you must be accompanied by someone who is 18 years old or older and has a valid California driver's license.
  4. When you are ready you can make an appointment to take the driving test at any DMV office. Call 1-800-777-0133 or use the DMV Appointment System
    • If you do not pass the driving test, the first time, you must pay $6 for each time that you re-take the test.
    • If you do pass the driving test, you will be given a temporary license which is valid for 60 days until you receive your photo driver's license card in the mail. If you have not received your license after 60 days, please call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status on your license.
  5. Call the DMV if you change your address so that you can be sure to receive the license from them at the correct address.

California ID

You can obtain a California ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which can be used to show your identification. It is helpful to have a California ID if you do not have a driver's license, especially when you need to show your ID when you purchase an item using a credit card. The ID card is valid for six years.

  1. In order to apply for a California ID, you will need to take the following to the DMV. Make an appointment for faster service.

    Click here to view a list of California DMV Offices.

  2. When you arrive at the DMV, you will:
    1. Complete application form DL 44
    2. Give a thumb print
    3. Have your picture taken
    4. Provide your social security number
    5. Verify your birth date and legal presence (use your Passport, I-94 and I-20)
    6. Pay the $26 application fee

You will receive your ID in the mail within 60 days. If you have not received your ID after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status. Have your receipt and/or old ID card with you when you call.