Parent FAQs

Below DSAC has answered some of parents most commonly asked questions regarding the process of getting their child licensed and driving safely behind the wheel.

 What are the state requirements for a minor below 17 1/2 to get a permit?

To apply for a provisional instruction permit, you need the following:
Be at least 15 ½, but under 18 years of age.
Complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application.
Have your parents' or guardians' signatures on the application.
Visit a DMV office (appointments are recommended).
Provide your social security number (SSN). It will be verified with the Social Security Administration while you are in the office.
Verify your Identity. If your current name no longer matches the name on your Identity document, see "True Full Name" and "How to Change Your Name" for more information.
Present your acceptable residency document if you have never had a California DL or California identification (ID) card.
Submit the proper form(s) for driver education and/or driver training classes (See below for details.)
Pay a nonrefundable application fee.
The fee is good for 12 months. (If all requirements are not met within 12 months, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.)
Allows you three (3) attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. (If you fail the same knowledge test three (3) times the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.)
Allows you three (3) attempts at the driving test.
Important: If you fail the driving test, you must pay a retest fee of $7 for subsequent test(s). You must wait 14 days (2 weeks), not including the day the test was failed, before you are retested. If you fail the driving test three (3) times, the application will no longer be valid and you must reapply.
Give a fingerprint scan.
Pass a vision exam.
Have your photograph taken.
Pass the knowledge test(s). If you fail, you must wait seven (7) days before taking it again.
If applying for a REAL ID provisional instruction permit and are under 18, you must provide proof of your Identity, SSN, and residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID document options.


Can I drive once I get a permit?

No, the provisional permit is not valid until you start your behind the wheel driver training with an instructor or reach 17 ½ years old. At 17 ½ years old, the trainee can drive with an adult.
How soon can I start my behind-the-wheel training?
You can start driver training as soon as you receive the permit. Call your driving school to find out when is the soonest they can begin your training.
When does the 6 months of having the permit start?
The 6 months begin from the day you receive the permit, not from the day of your first behind-the-wheel.

How many hours are required by law?

For those who are between the ages of 15 ½ to 17 ½, 6 hours in car driving with our instructors, 50 hours in car driving to be given by the parents, 10 hours must be at night. The 6 hours must take place with a licensed driving instructor and the trainee must be in the driver seat for the duration of the 6 hours. Time in the back seat does not count towards the 6 hours. The 50 hours of training (to include the 10 hours of night driving) must be with an adult who is at least 25 years or older and must have a current drivers license issued by the state of California.

When can I make a driving test at the DMV?

In order to take the DMV drive test, you must:
be at least 16 years old
have had the permit for at least 6 months
have completed 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction with a driving instructor
have completed 50 hours of additional driving
supply the vehicle to take the test in

How many hours per day do I drive with an instructor?

There is no minimum requirement as to how long to drive with the instructor. The maximum allowed time is two hours.
Where can I find a driving school?
Check your local business directory or online. For schools that are members of the Driving School Association of California, please visit our website at
How do I know if the driving school is a good one to take my student?
All driving schools must be approved by the DMV. You can check with the DMV for information on whether the school is still licensed. Ask the school for any references or ask others who have recently gone through driving school about their experience. Many schools get students based on reputation and references.