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Greetings everyone! Another week or so and it’s Thai New Years. I hope everyone is as excited about this as I am.  It’s that time of the year that we, as Thai people, get together and celebrate all that is good.  And if you have had any negativity in your life, let it go and start fresh.  As for me personally, I’m really looking forward to starting the Thai new year right.  I hope you are too. And as always, be safe and have fun. 

Okay, now on to this week’s question.  I received an email from Khun “Hutgi", who wanted to know about driver’s licenses. Her question and my answer is as follows:

Q: “Khun Joey, I live in another state but will be coming to California soon.  Do I need to get a California driver’s license in order to drive over there?  Thank you! ” (Khun “Hutgi"; Area Unknown).

A: Hello Khun “Hutgi”. Because driving a motor vehicle is considered a privileged and not a right, in general, the rules and requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another.  If you are just merely visiting or traveling through the State of California, you do not need to get a California issued driver’s license.  You can temporarily drive in California using your state-issued driver's license. If, however, you intend to live here and call California your state of residence, then yes, you will need to get a California state-issued driver’s license. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, you are required to do this within 10 days of moving here.  Some other states allow you a longer time to do this, but California only gives you 10 days.


For those of you who already have a driver’s license issued from another state and wish to obtain a California-issued driver’s license because you intend to permently reside here, you will need to do the following within 10 days:

1.  Schedule An Appointment – Contact the CA Department of Motor Vehicle and schedule an appointment.  Inform them that you have a driver’s license from _________ (fill in the blank with the state that you have license from), and that you intend to live here in the state of Calfornia and that you want to be a registered driver here.  Most likely you will need to fill out Form DL44C or DL44, but the clerks at DMV will go through which applies to you. Please check with them regarding the exact requirements.

2.  Eye Examination – On the day of your schedule, you will go in and take an eye examination.

3.  Written Test – You will be given a written test in which you must select the correct answer.

4.  Driving Test - You will have to take a driver's test if you are applying you've never had a driver's license and applying for a new one. Note: The California DMV will most likely waive your driving exam if you already hold a licenseUNLESS your license is from another country.


If you have any questions you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out this and other topics on my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.