How to Get a California Driver’s License with an Out of State License

How to Get a California Driver's License with an Out of State License

A driver’s license qualifies you to be able to drive freely on the road. Every state gives out a driving license based on different examinations. The states also have their driving laws which every driver must follow when they are residing in the state.

You are free to drive to another state to visit a friend or family, but if you are relocating to a new state, there’s a limited time for you to use your Out of State license.

After those number of days, that license is not valid in that state anymore and you would be penalized for driving with it because it is a crime.

But rather than retesting for a new license in your new state, you can transfer your Out of State license to your new state. So, how to get a California driver’s license with an out of state license

  • Visit the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)
  • Pick up and fill out the driver’s license application form
  • Present your out of state license to the DMV
  • Submit the required documents such as proof of identification, date of birth, social security, etc
  • Take and pass your vision exam, and
  • Pay the necessary fees

Can I Get a California Driver’s License with an Out of State License?

If you are in California for a visit, you can drive around the state with your Out of State license but if you relocated to California, you have only 10 days to get a new license.

But rather than applying for a new license and starting all over again, you can get a driver’s license with your Out of State license.

How to Get a California Driver’s License with an Out of State License?

Your residency is established in California based on the following:

  • You have been living in California for more than 6 months within a year or you have a rented property there
  • You are fully employed in California or you own a business there
  • You pay resident tuition in a public higher institution or college of education
  • You are registered to vote in California

You have to start the transfer process immediately if you are a commercial driver or within 10 days of relocating if you are a non-commercial driver.

Below is the process you need to follow to get the California driver’s license with your Out of State license:

1. Visit the DMV

The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) opens on Mondays to Fridays from 8 am to 5 pm so you have to go early so you don’t leave late. Schedule an appointment with the department

2. Pick Up the Application Form

You are to fill out the New Driver’s License or Identification Card Application Form (DL 44). It is advisable you fill out the form before coming for your appointment. You should pick up the form earlier.

3. Present your Out of State License

Since you won’t be needing the Out of State license again, you have to submit it to the department so you can get the California driver’s license. Your thumbprints would be taken and your pictures would be taken.

4. Submit the Required Documents

You will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of your date of birth
  • Proof of Social Security
  • Proof that you are a resident of California
  • Proof of citizenship

5. Take and Pass the Exams

You will take the vision exam first. And this is to know if you can see road signs correctly on the road. If you have a vision problem, you will be required to wear lenses or contacts.

You will also be given a written exam. The exam is consisting of 46 questions and you must answer 38 questions correctly. That is why is good to have good eye habits while driving.

You have three chances within a year to try the exam if you don’t pass in the first instance. Another exam which is the road exam is used to test new drivers on their ability to perform normal driving maneuvers. Since you are transferring your license, the road exam would be waived.

6. Pay the Fee

After the above process, you have to pay the application fee which costs $33. It can be paid as cash, through a check, or by credit/debit card.

When you are done with the application, you will be given a paper license which will be valid for 60 days. Your new California driver’s license would be mailed to you. If you don’t a new license after 60 days, contact the DMV.

If you are below 18 with an Out of State license, you can go through the following process but you have to get an Out of State minors’ driver’s license.

To get one, you have to fill out the Driver’s license form and have your parents sign the necessary documents. There are restrictions when it comes to minors: You can’t drive between 11 pm to 5 am.

What Do I Need to Transfer my Out of State Driver’s License to California?

As reiterated earlier, you need to present some documents during the process of transferring your Out of State license. You need your social security proof, proof that you reside in California, proof of citizenship, proof of your date of birth, and proof of identification. You also need to have $33 with you to pay as an application fee.

Pros of Getting California’s License as a Resident

If you are a resident of California, it is beneficial that you get your California driver’s license.

Voters Registration

Your driving license number is needed during voters’ registration. If you can’t provide the number, you’ll have to present another form of ID or the last four digits of your SSN. Without the registration, you won’t be able to vote as a resident of the state.

You Can Drive Freely

If you are stopped on the road and it is found that you have an out-of-state driver’s license with you even though you are a resident of the state, you will be penalized. You have committed an offense.

It’s an offense not to drive with a California driver’s license if you are a resident. If you don’t have a license, you won’t be able to drive freely as you’ll be trying to avoid getting caught.

Can You Get a California Driver’s License without Being a Resident?

You have to be a resident of California before you can get your driver’s license. Even if you are an immigrant or undocumented person, you still have to be a resident before you can get a California driver’s license ( the license is different from the normal driver’s license and it’s called AB 60).

Being a resident of the state is the first requirement for getting a California driver’s license.

How Long Can You Drive in California with an Out of State License?

If you are in California for a visit, you can drive in the state with your Out of State license for the number of days you have for your visit.

If you are a new resident of California, you have to start processing your license transfer within 10 days of moving to the state.

Final Thoughts

When you are in a state, you have to follow the rules guiding the state. Driving rules are not the same in all the states even though there are general ones: having adequate knowledge of driving, passing your driving test, and so on.

Whether you are a commercial or non-commercial driver in California, you need to transfer your Out of State driver’s license to the state.

You might want to try to go above the time limit for acquiring a driver’s license by refusing to drive your car, but the truth is that you can’t actually live in California and not drive when you have a car.