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Steps to Getting Your Driver License

If you are under 18 years old, there are four main steps to getting your driver license. These must be done in order and the earliest you can apply for a permit (Step 2) is at age 15 1/2.

If you are over 17 1/2, you aren't required to take the Driver Education Course or Behind the Wheel Training but you can't take your drive test until you are 18. Our courses are designed for all new drivers, regardless of age, and it's a very good idea to get trained even if not required by the DMV!

1) Take a Driver Education Course

A DMV approved Driver Education Course can be taken in a classroom or online. The Certificate of Completion issued after you successfully complete the course is required for obtaining your provisional permit.

Bay Cities offers a DMV approved, self-paced online course.  


2) Apply for a Provisional Driver Permit

Apply for a provisional permit (aka "learner's permit") directly with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This includes paying a fee, taking a vision test and a written test. These take place at your local DMV field office.

For complete details on requirements to get your permit, see the DMV website at:
dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm

The earliest you can apply for a provisional permit is at age 15 1/2. Your permit is valid for 12 months from the date of your initial application and will allow you to take behind the wheel training.

3) Take Behind the Wheel Training

Six hours of behind the wheel training with a licensed instructor are required. Sign up now to reserve a spot for our Behind the Wheel Training and start once you have a valid permit.

In addition to the six hours of instruction, you have to practice driving an additional 50 hours with an adult over 25 years old who holds a valid CA driver license (usually your parent or guardian) and 10 of those hours have to be at night. Your first two-hour behind the wheel lesson validates your permit and allows you to begin your practice hours.

4) Take the Driver License Test

Once you are 16 years old, have had your permit at least 6 months, and completed the requirements above, you can take the drive test at the DMV to get your license. You have three chances to pass the drive test. If you don't pass, you must wait two weeks to take it again and pay an additional fee.

We strongly recommend checking our availability for your third lesson before scheduling your DMV drive test date to make sure you will get your completion certificate in time.

Bay Cities also offers a DMV Test Lesson Package which includes a short review lesson before your test and taking the test in our instructional car.

After you pass the drive test, you'll be issued a provisional license (first an interim one on paper on the spot, then the official provisional one later in the mail). For the first year, or until you turn 18 within that year, you will not be able to:
- drive passengers until the age of 20 at any time (though some exceptions may be granted by the DMV)
- drive between 11 PM and 5 AM unless with an adult age 25 or older

For additional details about provisional licenses, see the DMV's Young Drivers information page. And, for general Driver License information for new drivers, see dmv.ca.gov/dl/new_driver.htm
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