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California DMV approves online driver tests for some residents

Traffic piles up in San Francisco in June 2023. | Source: Isaac Ceja/The Standard

There’s good news for Californians looking to avoid lines at their local DMV: The state just announced that some residents can start taking written driving tests online.

However, not everyone is eligible. The online test option can only be taken by individuals younger than 18 and those who have moved to California from out-of-state. All other drivers must take the test in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.

And even if drivers pass their online test, Californians must still visit a DMV office to prove their identity, residency and other requirements to obtain their license.

READ MORE: California DMV ‘Digital’ Driver’s Licenses: How To Protect Yourself From Security Risks

A line forms outside the DMV in Westminster, California. | Source: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

California requires that drivers pass a “knowledge test,” which tests drivers on the rules of the road. Drivers get two attempts to pass the test online before going in person to take a third exam.

The DMV says the online tests can only be taken on a computer with a webcam, which will be used to monitor test-takers. The state offers an eLearning course to help drivers prepare for the written exam.

“The online test can be taken in the convenience of your living room,” said DMV Director Steve Gordon. “This is another example of how the DMV is providing service to customers when and where they want them.”

The online tests are only available during business days and hours, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.