If you or your teenager have been told you need a “pink slip” to get a California driver’s permit and you’re wondering what a pink slip is and how to get one, you came to the right place. There are many steps involved in the process of getting a driver’s permit. The pink slip is one of the first ones. But it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

This term can be confusing since it also refers to a slip of paper that proves ownership of a vehicle. But in California, the term refers to the certificate of completion that a new driver under the age of 18 must earn from a state-approved driver’s education program before they show up at the DMV to apply for their permit.

So, do you need a “pink slip” to get your permit? The answer is YES if you are (or you’re the parent of) a teenager between the ages of 15 and a half and 17 and a half.

The state of California will make an exception for some first-time drivers between the ages of 17 and a half and 18. You can learn more about this on the California DMV site. However, most teens want to get their driver’s license as soon as possible. So they won’t want to wait until they’re 17 years old.

How To Get A Pink Slip For The Permit Test in California

Getting a pink slip is the first step in meeting the provisional license requirements in California. Here’s how to get one:

STEP ONE: Find and Enroll the Driver in a State-Approved Driver Education Program

The new driver needs to enroll in a state-approved, driver education program. These programs are offered through secondary schools or through external, professional schools like ours. A driver education program is the “classroom” portion of driver learning. It’s a nuts-and-bolts introduction that’s meant to teach driving and road basics. It prepares new drivers by covering material such as:

  • Speed limits
  • Signals and highway signs
  • Road safety and defensive driving
  • Practices for sharing the road with other drivers
  • Right-of-ways and other fundamental driving laws

The California DMV requires that the driver education program “consist of either 30 hours or 2 1/2 semester periods of professional classroom instruction (not including breaks or meal times) or a home study or internet training program.” This means you can take the course online.

STEP TWO: The Driver Must Successfully Complete the Driver’s Education Program to Get the Pink Slip

Once the new driver enrolls in a professional, state-approved driver education program, they must complete it satisfactorily. This means they’ve met the school’s requirements and have successfully finished the introductory course in driving basics.

Though a driver needs to finish the driver’s education program to get their pink slip, this isn’t a formal permit test for any type of licensure. It’s a preliminary step showing that they’ve completed the initial driver education component.

Once they complete the driver education course, the program will issue them a “pink slip.” That proves they’re eligible to progress to the next step in the licensing process: applying for a provisional license.

What Happens After the Pink Slip: Applying for a Provisional Driver’s License in California

Once a driver has their pink slip, they need to take it to the DMV to officially begin their permit application.

Along with the pink slip, they’ll need two other things. First, they’ll need a completed “Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL44) form,” which includes the applicant’s social security number. Don’t forget that each parent and/or guardian with custody over the minor applicant must also sign this. Second, they’ll need a birth date/legal presence document, or an acceptable identity document.

Once the prospective driver has presented these documents to the DMV, the DMV issues a provisional license and is eligible to begin a driver’s training program. This is the behind-the-wheel training.

Finally, here’s a handy summary of the basic steps to getting a California driver’s permit. This should help guide you or your teenager as you prepare for the next step in this exciting process:

  1. Find and enroll in a state-approved “driver’s education” program
  2. Complete the program successfully to receive a pink slip
  3. Prepare the necessary paperwork outlined on the California DMV’s website
  4. Present all paperwork and the pink slip to the California DMV to apply for the provisional license
  5. Complete a state-approved “driver training” program
  6. Prepare for and take the California DMV’s necessary exams and driver’s license test