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Basic Information About Class C (Noncommercial) Driver’s Licenses

A Class C license is the basic, noncommercial driver’s license in California. The only way to get one is to show up at a DMV field office. What you do once you’re there depends on your age and legal residency (documentation) status. Motorists 18 years of age and older must complete an application and be photographed, verify their identity, pay a fee, and pass the vision and written tests. Once you pass the written test, you must make an appointment for a driving examination. Upon passing, you will receive a license.

The Fine Print

If you are 18 or over, you must show up at the DMV, complete the DL 44 application, have a picture taken, give your thumbprint, provide your social security number, verify birth date and legal presence, provide your true full name, pay the fee, pass a vision exam and pass the written test. Should you fail, you have two more tries to retake it. If you fail again twice, you must reschedule your written test for a later time.

When you pass the written, you will be given a driving permit if you have never before been licensed. Practice until you are confident! The final step before getting a license is taking and passing the driving test. If you pass that, you have a license! You will be sent a provisional license until the official one is ready. If you are under 18, you will need a provisional permit, which will become a provisional license.

For help solving driver’s license acquisition or renewal problems in California, contact Beat DMV, a division of the Law Office of Rodney Gould in Sherman Oaks, by calling 818-570-6989 or sending an email inquiry.

Basic Information For Non-U.S. Residents Living In California

Section 12801.9 of the vehicle code allows unauthorized migrants, illegal immigrants and other federally unrecognized foreigners who have been residing in California to obtain a license as well.

Whatever identifying documents you possess should be brought to the DMV when you apply. Examples include consular ID, tax returns, utility bills, a foreign driver’s license and sealed school transcripts. The process works in much the same way, though instead of a Social Security number and documents issued by the United States, the other presented documents are used.

NOTE: This provision cannot be used to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Commercial driving is under the purview of the federal government. A Social Security number and federally approved residency are required to apply for a commercial driver’s license.


VC 12801.9, DMV web

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