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California DMV Services

Today, the DMV offers many services. They are responsible for registering California vehicles, collecting taxes on them, and making sure that vehicles driven in California meet California pollution control standards. They are also responsible for managing California drivers, making sure that all licensed drivers are not only physically and mentally capable of driving, but also that they have enough knowledge to be able to drive safely. The California DMV accomplishes this task by testing new drivers, issuing licenses, and revoking them when it becomes obvious that a driver is abusing his or her driving privileges.

Naturally, the driver's license program is one of the most commonly used DMV services. What do you need to do to get a California driver's license? If you are over 18, you'll need to visit your local DMV office, pass the written driving exam and a vision test, and provide the following documentation:

  • A completed driver's license application form (DL 44)
  • A picture and a thumbprint
  • Proof of social security number (Social Security card, Medicare card, US Army ID Card, or a Military Separation Document)
  • Verification of birth date and legal presence in the US
  • Application fee of $28
  • Proof of your true full name 


If this is your first driver's license ever, you'll then be issued a learner's permit so that you can practice driving with a licensed driver in the vehicle with you. If you were licensed in another country, you can get your license immediately as long as you pass the road test demonstrating that you understand the rules of the road in California. If you have a valid license from another state, the road test is not a requirement.

If you are under 18, you will get a permit before you get your actual license. To get your permit, you'll need all the documents listed above, plus:

  • A parent or legal guardian must sign for you, agreeing to be responsible for any damage you cause while you are behind the wheel.
  • You provide proof that you have taken and passed the classroom portion of driver's ed. Driving University offers an excellent online course that is approved by the DMV! 

 

To get your license, you'll have to practice driving with your permit for 6 months, take the required driver training class for behind-the-wheel practice, show proof of insurance, and pass the road test.


When you apply for your driver's license, remember that you can also register to vote at the DMV.

 

Other Services

The California DMV also tracks accidents and violations for drivers with California licenses. These are recorded on your California driving record. The DMV monitors the number of incidents on your driving record through its negligent operator point system. If you get too many points, you could be deemed a negligent operator and have your license suspended. You can request a copy of your driving record either by going to your local DMV office with your ID or by mail. You'll need to complete form INF 1125 and pay a $5 fee to the DMV to get a copy of your record. If you are requesting your record by mail, send your request to the following address:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Office of Information Services
Public Operations Unit G199
P. O. BOX 944247
Sacramento, California 94244-2470

Also, for your convenience, California DMV offices offer the option of making an appointment to see a DMV representative instead of having to wait in line. You can even make an appointment online, by clicking here.

One other lifesaving service operated by the California DMV is the California Donate Life Organ Donor Registry. This registry gives people aged 18 or over the option to register as a donor with the state of California. Previously, donors would simply have their desire to be a donor noted on their driver's license, but the donor's family often was not aware of their decision and would sometimes decline to donate their organs after death. By signing up with the California Donate Life registry, your intent to donate is on file with the state of California, and if the opportunity arises for you to be a donor, your wishes are guaranteed to be respected.


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