California License and Permit DMV Checklist

Here is a checklist of everything you need to bring with you to get your drivers license or learners permit from the California DMV.

OK, folks, so you've completed your California drivers ed course. Now it's finally time to head to the DMV to get your driver license or permit. We know you don't want to mess up and have to wait in that nightmare of a line more than once, so we’re gonna make this really simple for ya. Here is everything you need to bring with you for any scenario that may bring you to the California DMV.

When you waited three hours at the DMV and forgot your DL 400C on the kitchen counter

DMV Course #E2017

California Teen Drivers Ed

Earn your permit and driver license with our easy-to-use course. Includes free study guide. you’ll be cruising down Route 1 in no time.


with Promo

What to bring to take your written test and get your California driver permit

  1. A completed DL 44 (Driver License Application) with your parents’/guardians’ signatures (signatures not needed if you’re over 18)
  2. Your birth certificate (original or certified) or passport, residence card (temp or permanent)
  3. Your social security number
  4. $33 application fee
  5. Certificate of Completion of Driver Education (a pink DL 400C - the form Aceable sends you)

If you’re between 15.5 and 17.5 years old, you need to bring ALL of the five items above. If you’re between 17.5 and one day less than 18, you need to bring the FIRST FOUR items above. If you’re 18 and older, you need to bring the FIRST FOUR items above PLUS proof of your residential address (mortgage payment/rent agreement, utility bill, pay stub, etc.)

What you need to bring to take your driving test and get your California driver license

  1. Your permit with second page signed by one of your parents
  2. Proof of financial responsibility (car insurance)
  3. Your Behind-the-Wheel completion certificate (DL 388 or DL 400D)

If you’re between 16 and one day less than 18, you need ALL of the three items above. If you’re 18 or older, you need just the FIRST TWO items, your permit and car insurance document. If you're appling for the the basic, Class C license, the driving test will be the same, no matter how old you are. Your examiner will be test to ensure you know the rules of the road, including (but certinly not limited to):

  • Accelerating, stopping and steering smoothly
  • Obeying the posted speed limit
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Understanding all traffic signals and signs
  • Proper signal usage for lane changes and turns
  • Identifying road hazards
  • Checking mirrors at appropriate times
  • For manual vehicles, ensuring you're in the correct gear without grinding

You'll need to provide your own vehicle for the road test. The state of California has a set of standards and features all test vehicles must adhere to. Your DMV examiner will check for all of the following:

  • License plates on the front and back, the rear plate showing up-to-date registration
  • Functional turn signals (front and back) and working brake lights.
  • Tires in good condition
  • Sufficient brake pressure
  • A functional driver's side window you can roll down
  • A windshield that doesn't obstruct your view
  • Two rear view mirrors, including one mounted outside, to your left
  • Front doors on both sides that you can open from the inside and outside of the vehicle
  • Functional safety belts
  • A functional emergency or parking brake
  • A functional horn
If your ride looks like this, you may need to give it a little TLC before taking your driving test

It may not be a bad idea to take your car into a mechanic before your driving test. There's nothing worse than getting pumped up to get your license, only to have someone at the DMV tell you you're whip isn't street-ready See? Navigating your visit to the California DMV is a piece of cake! If you need more information about getting your license or permit in the Golden State, check out our California drivers ed guide. Good luck, and drive safely out there!