How to Apply for a California Driving Permit (for over age 18)?
How to Apply for a California Driving Permit (for over age 18)?

All drivers in the state of California must receive a provisional, or “learner’s,” permit before getting an official driver’s license. Learner’s permits are restricted licenses that allow the holder to drive only in certain circumstances – generally under the supervision of an adult with a valid driver’s license.

In most cases, drivers must use the learner’s permits for one year before qualifying for a regular license. If you’re applying for your learner’s permit as someone over the age of 18, here’s how your experience might differ from that of an underage driver.

If you’re 18 or older at the time of applying for a Driving Permit, you don’t have to take Driver’s Ed. It is optional and there are some benefits if take the Driver Ed Course. Taking Driver’s Ed can also help you become a safer, more prudent driver. State-approved Driver’s Ed courses consist of 25 classroom hours and six hours of driver training. To apply for your permit as someone over 18, you will need to complete the application, present all necessary documents, pass a test, and pay the application fee.

The first step toward your license if you don’t want to take Driver’s Ed as someone over 18 is visiting your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and taking the learner’s permit exam. The exam will test your knowledge on roadway signs, rules, and best practices. It involves an eye exam and written test. The exam has 46 questions. You will need to get at least 37 correct to pass. Bring your completed learner’s permit application (not available online), proof of Social Security, birth certificate, proof of identity, and proof of California residency. Your parent or guardian will not need to sign your application if you’re over the age of 18.

If you pass the permit exam and pay the fee, you’ll receive your California learner’s permit. You have 12 months to complete all the required steps toward qualifying for a driver’s license once you have a permit. Missing the deadline means you will have to repeat all the aforementioned steps to get another learner’s permit. Even if you’re over the age of 18, you cannot drive alone with only a learner’s permit. Until you have your regular license, you must bring a parent, guardian, spouse, or other adult who is at least 18 years old (25 if you’re under 18) and has a valid license with you when you drive. The supervisor must sit close enough to control the vehicle, if necessary.