From the California DMV Drivers Handbook:
Adult Permit Requirements
If you are at least 18 years old, meet the application requirements, and pass the required tests, you may be issued a California instruction permit.
You must have an instruction permit while learning to drive. Your accompanying driver must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid California driver license. This person must be seated close enough to you that he or she is able to take control of the vehicle at any time.
An instruction permit does not permit you to drive alone–not even to a DMV office to take the driving test.
Adults Drivers License Requirements
If you have never been licensed, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Comply with the requirements for a driving permit and when you are ready, you must schedule your behind-the-wheel driving test.
- Make an appointment to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. When you report for the driving test, bring your instruction permit with you.
- Pass the behind-the-wheel driving test. If you fail the test, you must pay a retest fee for a second or subsequent test and schedule a behind-the-wheel driving test for another day.
If you have an out-of-state or out- of-country driver license, you must:
- Complete all the steps required for a driving permit.
- Bring your valid out-of-state driver license to the DMV. Your out-of-state driver license will be invalidated and returned to you unless you are applying for a commercial driver license.
NOTE: The behind-the-wheel driving test for holders of out-of-state or U.S. territory driver licenses is normally waived. However, the department may require a behind-the- wheel driving test for any type of driver license application. Behind- the-wheel driving tests are mandatory for out-of-country driver license holders.