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Licensing Requirements

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The Provisional Driver License

To decrease motor-vehicle collisions involving teens, a special “provisional” license and instruction permit is issued to minors. A minor is a person under 18 years old.

The following restrictions apply to minors during the first 12 months:

A minor cannot:

  • Drive between 11 m. and 5 a.m.
  • Transport passengers under 20 years old, unless accompanied by a licensed:
    • Parent or guardian.
    • California driver 25 years old or older.
    • Or certified driving instructor.

Principal Licensing Requirements

As a parent or guardian, you may revoke your consent at any time by completing a Request for Cancellation or Surrender of a Driver License or Identification Card (DL 142) form. The form is available online at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website at www.dmv.ca.gov or at a DMV field office. Revoking your consent will cancel the minor’s instructional permit or DL and may extend the provisional restrictions when applying for a new application.

Complete driver education (classroom training) and driver training (behind-the- wheel training) in a public or private high school, or a state- licensed professional driving school. (The hours required for driver education and driver training classes are defined in the California Education Code §§51851 and 51852.) Internet, correspondence, or other distance-based driver education training must be the equivalent of an approved classroom instruction.

Note: If you use the services of a professional driving school, ask to see the instructor’s identification (ID) card and confirm that the school is licensed by DMV. Professional driving schools and instructors in California are licensed by DMV after meeting qualifying standards.

Pass the knowledge test. Your teen should have completed the knowledge test on the TouchScreen Terminal (TST) and obtained a provisional instruction permit. If your teen did not pass the knowledge test, they must wait 7 days (1 week), not including the day the test was failed before retaking the test.

Note: The provisional instruction permit is not valid until your teen begins driver training with an instructor or is 171/2 years old.

Complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving. It will take more than 15 minutes of practice time every day for 6 months to complete 50 hours of practice driving, of which at least 10 hours must be night driving practice. The parent or guardian and the instructor must sign the statement on the provisional permit certifying that the teen has completed the supervised training. The signed permit must be presented to DMV before the driving test may be taken.

Note: You may obtain a Driving Test Criteria (DL 955) handbook at a local DMV field office or online at www.dmv.ca.gov to assist with driving instruction.

Your teen must have a California instruction permit or an instruction permit issued from another state for at least 6 months (or turn 18 years old), before they can schedule their driving test.

Information regarding the knowledge and driving tests are found in the California Driver Handbook, which is based on the California Vehicle Code.