Can a teen driver with a learner's permit drive in California if (s)he follows the restrictions of the permit?

1 Answer 1



  1. In California, you must be at least 16 years old to drive with an out-of-state permit. Since some states offer permits to persons younger than 16, those would not be valid in CA until the individual's 16th birthday.
  2. An out-of-state learner's permit is only valid for 10 days following the date of entry (inclusive). For periods longer than 10 days, one must apply for a Nonresident Minor's Certificate.

Cal. Veh. Code § 12504(a) takes the previous two sections on nonresident licensing, which apply to persons over the age of 18, applies them to persons aged 16-18, and adds the 10-day caveat as described above:

(a) Sections 12502 and 12503 apply to any nonresident over the age of 16 years but under the age of 18 years. The maximum period during which that nonresident may operate a motor vehicle in this state without obtaining a driver's license is limited to a period of 10 days immediately following the entry of the nonresident into this state except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section.

(b) provides that the 10-day restriction does not apply where the person has a license and has a Nonresident Minor's Certificate:

(b) Any nonresident over the age of 16 years but under the age of 18 years who is a resident of a foreign jurisdiction which requires the licensing of drivers may continue to operate a motor vehicle in this state after 10 days from his or her date of entry into this state if he or she meets both the following:

  1. He or she has a valid driver's license, issued by the foreign jurisdiction, in his or her immediate possession.
  2. He or she has been issued and has in his or her immediate possession a nonresident minor's certificate, which the department issues to a nonresident minor who holds a valid driver's license issued to him or her by his or her home state or country, and who files proof of financial responsibility.

General learners permit information for non-residents travelling in the 50 states can be found here.

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