Driver's License Information for New California drivers

by Joshua on June 30, 2014

Because there are well over 22,000,000 drivers in the Golden state of California , the DMV has a set of very strict, very important laws which are imperative to the DMV’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its many drivers.

The state gives new California residents 10 days to obtain a drivers license, and additional 20 days to register a vehicle in your name. There are also state inspections in which your vehicle must meet certain standards in order to pass the Smog Qualifications , as well as the requirements of car insurance.

Drivers License Information For New California Drivers

Since you only have 10 days after moving into the state to apply for your license or ID , you should plan on calling ahead of time and setting an appointment with a California DMV office as soon as possible. This will ensure you follow the rules accordingly. You should also keep in mind that there are separate rules those under the age of 18, and those over the age of 18 who are applying for their new California driver’s license. When applying, be sure to bring the following information with you to your visit:

  • Your Social Security card
  • Any out-of-state valid licenses
  • Your true full name (proof)
  • Your date of birth & your legal presence
  • A completed drivers license or ID card application — Form DL-44
  • A fee of $33.00, payable to any CA DMV Office near you (cash, money order, debit, or check)

If you are just looking to get a California ID card so that you are able to enjoy the wonderful nightclubs, become eligible for discounts (such as senior citizen exemptions), or even to board a bus, train or plane, you should know that California offers two different types of identification cards:

  • A “regular” license, which is valid for up to 6 years as long as you obey all state laws
  • A residents ID for those 62 years of age or older, which is valid for up to 10 years

California Insurance and Smog Check Information

State insurance requirements mostly correspond to other state laws, but you should know your states laws before you register your vehicle in a new state. In California, your vehicle must be covered by minimum coverage. In addition, you will be required to bring an additional copy of proof of insurance (one for the DMV to keep on file) to your visit.

Any new California resident is required by law to perform a smog check on any vehicle registered within the state. Some cities require a “recheck” every 2 years. A growing list of newer vehicles is exempt from the smog check entirely. See the list below to see if your car is an exemption:

  • A Hybrid Model
  • A gas-powered 1975 model (or older)
  • A diesel-powered 1997 model (or older with a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) more than 14,000 lbs.
  • An electric vehicle
  • Natural gas-powered, and holding a GVWR more than 14,000 lbs
  • A motorcycles or trailer

How To Register Your Vehicle If You Are New To California

You are required to register your vehicle no more than 20 days after establishing your new California residency. You may be forced to pay penalties if you do not meet the deadlines. If you are new to the state of California and need to register your vehicle(s), you will be required to possess the following information:

  • Your out of state title certificate. This is required for any change of ownership.
  • A Vehicle verification though any authorized employee of your local California DMV.
  • California state smog certification.
  • Any out of state registrations (these certificates are only required if you do not have a title).
  • Money for registration. These fees will vary.

What Happens When You’ve Obtained All Required Documentation

When you are ready to take the driving test, you should:

  • Bring proof of insurance
  • Bring proof of your financial responsibilities
  • Set an appointment for your test. These tests are by appointment only.

You are given 3 chances to pass your driving test. If you fail, you can schedule another appointment right away, since there is no waiting limit. It is always a good idea, however, to study a bit longer if you didn’t pass. This will help ensure your success the next time around. You must also pay a fee of $6.00 each time you take the test. This goes for renewals as well.

Once you have passed the driving test, you will obtain your interim license. This license is valid for 90 days, which is the time given to receive your new license with photo via postal services. You should always recheck your address before leaving your appointment. If you have moved or are moving within the next 90 days, you should provide the DMV with your most accurate address to ensure you receive your ID.

Additional documentation may be necessary if your last name differs from the name on your legal presence documents. Examples of these additional documents are marriage certification (or dissolution), adoptions, or any other change of name.

Additional information can be found on the California DMV Website.

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