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Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Old Aug 10th 2011, 1:35 pm
  #61  
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

thanks for replies

DH has been offered the job and we've accpeted so looks like we'll be moving over in February (once we've had a the paper contract and gone over it with a fine toothcomb!) Will have thousands of questions leading up to it I'm sure but one major thing that's been brought to my attention is driving licences, if anyone can help me with that I'd be grateful.

I can't drive at the moment and we were tossing up learning here first or waiting til we land in LA. I've heard if I get my licence here I then can't actually drive abroad for a year?! In which case do you have to be resident or have a particular visa in order to take lessons and then the test?

He'll be on a H1B visa, they'll start putting the paperwork through for a Green Card 4 months after arrival apparently, but I'll be on the spousal visa to go with his (h3? h2?), if that makes any difference to the driving thing.

We'll be put up in serviced apartments for 2-3months close to his work in Santa Monica while we find our feet. If it is ok for me to learn to drive in the US, I'll probably take a few lessons at home before going so I'm not completely green.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Not sure what you mean about not being able to drive for a year.

If you have a UK licence you can go straight to the DMV and take the written test, if you pass that you can book a behind-the-wheel test, then you get the California licence. You will be H4 and will not get a social security number, you just have to declare that you are not entitiled to one on the form.

If you learn here, I guess you have to follow the same route as teenagers, you do a driver's education (theory) course and get a permit on which you take lessons, then take the test. Someone who learnt here should confirm.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Good luck with your upcoming move!

I think taking lessons here (and even taking and perhaps getting your license there) a great idea. Even if you come over with a British license, since you're a pretty new driver, you'll want to take some lessons here.

Again, best of luck with your new adventure.

Here's more information:

http://dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#two500

Last edited by AmerLisa; Aug 10th 2011 at 3:07 pm.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 3:46 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Not sure what you mean about not being able to drive for a year.

If you have a UK licence you can go straight to the DMV and take the written test, if you pass that you can book a behind-the-wheel test, then you get the California licence. You will be H4 and will not get a social security number, you just have to declare that you are not entitiled to one on the form.

If you learn here, I guess you have to follow the same route as teenagers, you do a driver's education (theory) course and get a permit on which you take lessons, then take the test. Someone who learnt here should confirm.
If you are over 18 you can just go in the DMV take the written test, get your permit, learn with someone over 21 (or is it 23 I forget) then go back and take the behind the wheel test. No professional instructor lessons required unless you want them, but you may want one to make sure you are ready to do the driving test part.
Both my Ds's did it under 18 and had to have a pink slip from high school drivers ed. My friend made her boys wait till 18 and did it without pink slips and professional lessons.
Oh and make sure you make appointments unless you live where the DMV is super quite, thats rare now days.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 3:54 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
If you are over 18 you can just go in the DMV take the written test, get your permit, learn with someone over 21 (or is it 23 I forget) then go back and take the behind the wheel test. No professional instructor lessons required unless you want them, but you may want one to make sure you are ready to do the driving test part.
Both my Ds's did it under 18 and had to have a pink slip from high school drivers ed. My friend made her boys wait till 18 and did it without pink slips and professional lessons.
Oh and make sure you make appointments unless you live where the DMV is super quite, thats rare now days.
Crikey I didn't know that you didn't need professional lessons over 18 Explains a lot
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Crikey I didn't know that you didn't need professional lessons over 18 Explains a lot
You aren't required to have professional lessons in the UK, either....
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 4:38 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
You aren't required to have professional lessons in the UK, either....
True, the test is a little more rigorous I'd say.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 4:45 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
True, the test is a little more rigorous I'd say.
Absolutely.

But the tests, like other things, have certainly changed over the years. I got my first driver"s license in California, when I was 16. If I remember correctly it was a lot more than driving around the corner, as it seems to be now.

Last edited by AmerLisa; Aug 10th 2011 at 4:49 pm.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 6:24 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

in which case would it be better to learn in LA if it's easier

Don't know where my friend got it from that you can't drive abroad for a year after getting your licence here - maybe that's just a hire car thing? But maybe it would be better to do most of it in LA anyway seeing as it's opposite side of the road, stick shift etc?
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by mymatemarmite View Post
in which case would it be better to learn in LA if it's easier

Don't know where my friend got it from that you can't drive abroad for a year after getting your licence here - maybe that's just a hire car thing? But maybe it would be better to do most of it in LA anyway seeing as it's opposite side of the road, stick shift etc?
I think it would probably make sense to learn here. Stick shift=manual, you'll probably want to do it in an automatic.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by AmerLisa View Post
If I remember correctly it was a lot more than driving around the corner, as it seems to be now.
I just took the driving test in Indianapolis in June and I was in the car for 30 mins.. cheeky cow asked me to stop at the grocery store as she needed milk, chatted away to her husband on the phone and could we stop at the gas station as she hadn't got her lottery ticket yet!
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Orangepants View Post
I just took the driving test in Indianapolis in June and I was in the car for 30 mins.. cheeky cow asked me to stop at the grocery store as she needed milk, chatted away to her husband on the phone and could we stop at the gas station as she hadn't got her lottery ticket yet!
Thats too funny.
Ds did his in 2010 and he was gone about 20 minutes some of that was time spent checking the car out. He said they didn't go far, went through the traffic lights to a 4 way stop and turned about in housing development and came back the same way.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 10:02 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Orangepants View Post
I just took the driving test in Indianapolis in June and I was in the car for 30 mins.. cheeky cow asked me to stop at the grocery store as she needed milk, chatted away to her husband on the phone and could we stop at the gas station as she hadn't got her lottery ticket yet!
Typical of an Americans life in the car though, so quite realistic.

Mine told me 'I've enjoyed our chat, oh you've passed by the way', I was in the car with the engine switched off chatting about England longer than I was driving.
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Old Aug 10th 2011, 10:59 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Originally Posted by Orangepants View Post
I just took the driving test in Indianapolis in June and I was in the car for 30 mins.. cheeky cow asked me to stop at the grocery store as she needed milk, chatted away to her husband on the phone and could we stop at the gas station as she hadn't got her lottery ticket yet!

omg, that's pretty bad....
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living for a young family in LA?

Hi there,
Just wanted to point out that you can drive for up to a year on your British driver's license here in MA, and I'd always assumed it was the same in other states?
Good luck with he move - my daughter lives in Century City and works in Santa Monica. She's been there 2 years and loves it!
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