Navigating the California DMV
Starting Oct. 1, 2020, a regular California driver's license or ID card won't be accepted as a valid form of federal identification. Only Real ID will be accepted at federal courthouses, military bases, and airports.
First years should consider making an appointment at the DMV to obtain a driver's license. Appointments may book up to three (3) months in advance, so it is important to plan ahead.
The DMV allows for online scheduling of appointments up to three (3) months in advance. However, depending on the day, walk-in appointments may still be served more quickly than appointments. If you find it challenging to schedule an appointment, it may be worthwhile to take a day to complete your business as a walk-in.
DMV Appointments: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/dmv/appointments
Starting Oct. 1, 2020, a regular California driver’s license or ID card won’t be accepted as a valid form of federal identification. Only Real ID will be accepted at federal courthouses, military bases, and airports.
DMV Application for Real ID: https://realid.dmv.ca.gov/
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Two (2) Proofs of Residency
License Transfer or Driving Test
If you already hold a valid license from another state, visit a DMV location and take the CA written test and vision test. If you pass these, the driving test is generally waived and a CA license will be granted and your former state’s license will be nullified.
If you only hold a valid license from another country, you must also take the driving skills test.
To prepare for the Driving Test, either as a new driver or as a driver holding an international license, check out the DMV Preparing for your Driving Test. A Driving Test requires a specific appointment at the DMV, which are frequently booked up. For the best results, book your appointment early and/or call the DMV to check for open appointments due to last minute cancellations.
Most field offices are open Monday to Saturday, 8AM – 5PM.
1500 Sullivan Avenue
Daly City, CA 94015
6400 Manila Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
5300 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
501 85th Ave
Oakland, CA 94621
1377 Fell Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
*Students with new Canadian passports have found that the glossy-ness of the ID page has been giving DMV scanners problems. These students have had good results at the El Cerrito DMV.