Driving in California for New Immigrants & Visitors
In order to drive in California, you must apply within 10 days for a California driver license.
Residency is established by: voting in California elections; paying resident tuition at a California college or university; filing for a home owner's property tax exemption; obtaining a license; or receiving any other
privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.
Adults Visiting California
Visitors over 18 years old with a valid driver license from their home country or state may drive in California without getting a driver license as long as their home state license remains valid.
Minors Visiting California
Visitors between 16 and 18 years old may drive with their home state license or instruction permit for only 10 days after arriving in California.
After the 10 days, they must have either a:
California driver license, or
Non-resident Minor's Certificate which is issued by DMV to a minor who has given proof of financial responsibility.