A Guide to Getting a Driver's License in San Diego California

Getting your driver's license means freedom, mobility, and access to an entirely new world of adulthood. To get your license in San Diego, you'll need to visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles and apply for a learner's permit. 

Forms You'll Need to Get Your License in San Diego

The old Driver License or Identification Card Application, also known as Form DL44, is being slowly phased out in favor of the California DMV's new online registration and application process. This paperless system requires you to sign up for a DMV account

To create an account, you'll need your Social Security number, email address, and phone number. The system features two-factor authentication, so you'll receive a text message or phone number to confirm your account. Once that's done, you're able to apply for an instructional permit. This process requires you to attend a DMV office. 

Step 1: Apply for an Instructional Permit

You need to log into the California DMV site and fill out the application form. You will also need to pass a knowledge test, which consists of 36 questions on road rules and safety. You must answer at least 30 of these questions correctly. You can prepare for this using the California Driver's Handbook or taking online practice tests

There is a $33 fee for this application, and you have up to three tries to pass the written test before you have to reapply. If you take our traffic school, we guarantee you'll pass or you get your money back. 

Step 2: Learn to Drive in San Diego Traffic

Drivers in San Diego who are between 15 and 18 must take a minimum of six hours of teen driver education, as well as 50 hours of supervised instruction from a parent or other experienced driver, including professional driving instructors. At least 10 of those 50 hours must be conducted at night. 

Drivers who are over 18 don't face these requirements, but it is critical that you gain the right skills to be a safe and effective driver and pass the DMV driving test. The best way to do that is by undergoing instruction from experienced driver coaches

Step 3: Pass a Driving Test

Driving tests in San Diego consist of two parts: a pre-drive safety check that shows you know how to make sure your vehicle is safe and that you understand how to operate it, and a Driving Performance Evaluation (DPE) where a DMV examiner will assess your ability to drive safely on real roads as you drive. 

If you pass this test, you're a driver! 

How to Pass the California Driving Test on the First Try

The best plan for success lies in education. Taking a teen driver's education course in San Diego will give you the skills and confidence to be a safe driver out on the roads. By carefully practicing, making use of resources on the DMV website, and learning from driver's ed professionals, you'll be well on your way to securing your license on your first go. 

Where to Do Your Driver's License Exam in San Diego 

There are San Diego DMV Field Offices at the following locations: 

  • San Diego
    3960 Normal Street, San Diego, CA 92103 

  • San Diego Clairemont
    4375 Derrick Drive, San Diego, CA 92117 

  • Chula Vista
    30 N Glover Avenue, Chula Vista, CA 91910 

  • El Cajon
    1450 Graves Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92021 

  • San Ysidro
    6111 Business Center Court, San Diego, CA 92154 

  • Poway
    13461 Community Road, Poway, CA 92064 

  • San Marcos
    590 Rancheros Dr, San Marcos, CA 92069

Get Driving in San Diego!

Visit DriversEd.com today to get your driving journey underway. We offer online California driver's ed to help you meet your educational requirements and learn how to be safe on the road. We've been teaching young and adult drivers for more than 25 years. 

Get Started with your Online Drivers Ed Course Today

Learn More


../