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California M1 License Updated for 2019

The requirements to obtain an M1 license in California are straightforward. A simple checklist stating the requirements to apply for this type of license is available on its own CA DMV webpage. The requirements listed on this page fulfill several different categories.

Motor Training

Individuals that are under 18 must complete a driver’s education, a driver’s training course, and have had their permit for 6 months. Driver’s education occurs in a classroom setting and gives the motorist the chance to visually and verbally learn about the rules associated with driving. Driver’s training is a behind-the-wheel experience that is mandatory after the completion of driver’s education.

California’s Department of Education sets the requirements for both driver’s education and training. Novice drivers must complete 30 hours (2.5 semesters) of driver’s education following by 6 hours of driver’s training. The DMV must license any professional that instructs driver’s education and/or training. To prevent a driver’s hard work from becoming null, they should make searching for a licensed school/instructor a priority.

Driver’s education and training are mandatory for all classes of licenses. However, motorcyclists who seek M1 licensure require extra schooling. California’s Highway Patrol offers a motorcycle-rider training course (MTC) that is a total of 15 hours long. Classroom instruction spans the first five hours of instruction, while the future motorist spends the remaining 10 hours practicing what they learned in class.

Motorcyclists under 21 must complete this course by law, but it is not mandatory for individuals over 21. Older motorists can choose between taking the MTC or going straight to the DMV to take a written test.


Driver’s education and training equip the driver to take a written test to prove that they possess adequate knowledge of vehicle operation and can competently navigate their vehicle in roadways. The Class C driver’s license test is only mandatory for individuals who don’t already possess a license and/or are under 18. The DMV encourages all motorists to use the California Driver Handbook to study.

Motorcyclists must also take their M1 license test on top of their Class C license test if they are under 18. This test is similar in nature to the Class C test, but places focus on motorcycle operation versus car operation. The DMV requires all applicants to take this test.

Proof of Identity

If an individual that is over 18 seeks an M1 license but does not have a Class C license, they must provide proof of their identity. Individuals that fit this category must provide three documents to verify that they are providing accurate information to the DMV.

  • The first of these documents must be an identity document, like an ID card that possesses the individual’s true, full name, or a birth certificate.
  • The DMV also requires a document illustrating California residency if they don’t possess an ID or driver’s license or do not possess a REAL ID.
  • Lastly, the DMV requires proof that the motorist has a Social Security Number.

California DMV requires all license applicants to provide their social security number when submitting the application.

After satisfying these requirements, the motorist can submit their physical application and fee. A clerk will then take the driver’s picture and thumbprint and administer a temporary license. After this process, the driver’s remaining task is simply to wait.