Have you recently moved to California and you’re trying to get settled in? One of the first things you need to take care of is getting an official California Driver’s License (DL). California residents who drive on public highways, or in public parking facilities, are required by law to carry a driver’s license when operating a vehicle. There are some exceptions for military and government personnel, but by and large, you must apply for a license or notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about your change of address immediately.
There are Penalties if You Don’t:Driving in California without a valid driver’s license qualifies as a misdemeanor crime. If law enforcement catches you driving without a license, not only will you be cited, but your vehicle may be impounded and you’ll also have to appear in court. The DMV advises that “If you become a California resident, you must get a California DL within ten (10) days. Residency is established by voting in a California election, paying resident tuition, filing for a homeowner's property tax exemption, or any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.” Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to apply for a California driver’s license:
- A complete driver’s license application form available at the DMV.
- A valid Social Security Number.
- At least two different forms of valid government-issued identification.
- Documents which provide proof of California residency.
- Cash to pay for nonrefundable application procedures.
- 20/20 Vision – which will be tested throughout the DMV’s examination process.