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.

Appointments

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

 

Real ID

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/

Real ID Checklist

  • 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.

 

Locations

Most field offices are open Monday to Saturday, 8AM – 5PM.

Daly City
1500 Sullivan Avenue
Daly City, CA 94015
(800)777-0133

El Cerrito*
6400 Manila Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
(800)777-0133

Oakland
5300 Claremont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
(800)777-0133

Oakland Coliseum
501 85th Ave
Oakland, CA 94621
(800)777-0133

San Francisco
1377 Fell Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(800)777-0133

*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.