Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am

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Child cannot apply for driver's license without father's signature

Q: I am a single mother and my 17-year-old son plans to apply for a driver’s license. My son’s father and I have joint custody, but I live in Sacramento (with my son) and his father lives in Los Angeles. Is it OK if I am the only one who signs my son’s license application, because he lives with me 85 percent of the time?

A: No. No application for a driver’s license shall be granted by the department to any minor unless it is signed and verified by the father and mother, if both father and mother are living and have custody of the minor. To learn more about signatures and verifications, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d09/vc17701.htm.


Q: I saw recently that practice written tests are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov. Can I take the real written test online? It would be easier, because I don’t have my license yet and I live with my mom, who is usually at work when I have free time.

A: Unfortunately, you can’t take the written exams online. All DMV written tests must be taken onsite at a DMV field office. The practice tests are available online for you to better prepare yourself for taking the actual written test. For faster service, schedule your written test appointment online and you won’t have to wait in any unnecessary lines when you arrive at your closest field office.


Q: I recently received two renewal notices for a vehicle that I sold a year ago. This has to be an error, right?

A: Renewal notices are sent to the owner of record, so it’s likely the new owner has not transferred the vehicle. As required by law, you must file a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form (REG 138) with the DMV immediately upon selling a vehicle. Filing this document protects you from responsibility for any use of the vehicle as well as registration fees and parking violations associated with use after the transfer date. The form can be filed online at dmv.ca.gov. If you have received a billing notice or other notices requesting payment of fees after submitting your Notice of Release of Liability, call the DMV at (800) 777-0133 for assistance.


Q: I want to get a license to drive a motorcycle. I do not own a car and I don’t intend to drive one at any point, so do I need a regular California driver’s license in addition to my motorcycle license?

A: You do not need a Class C California driver’s license (the one required to operate automobiles) in order to obtain a Class M1 or M2 motorcycle license. The procedure for obtaining a motorcycle license is a separate DMV process. But if you do have a Class M1 or M2 license, you may only operate any two-wheel motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, bicycle with an attached motor or motorized scooter. In the event that you decide to operate an automobile, you can only do so legally with a valid Class C driver’s license. For more information, visit www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl.htm.


Q: My license expires soon. Am I responsible for replacing it or does the DMV automatically send me a new license? I want a new picture, so if the DMV automatically resends it, can I alert them that I want a new picture before I get a new license?

A: The DMV will not automatically send you a new driver’s license, but it will send you a renewal notice in the mail. It is your responsibility to renew your driver’s license either by mail, by going into a DMV field office or, to save time, by visiting www.dmv.ca.gov to renew online. If you’d like a new picture, go to a field office, fill out a renewal application and get a photograph taken. To reduce wait time, schedule an appointment online at www.dmv.ca.gov. After completing the requirements, you’ll be issued an interim license and will receive your new photo license within 60 days.


George Valverde has served as California Department of Motor Vehicles director since 2006.

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