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Getting settled in Southern Orange County

Settling in a new town or state can be logistically challenging. From getting new drivers licenses, registering to vote, to understanding property taxes, there is a checklist of tasks to get through.

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Getting a Driver’s License

California law requires that a motorist obtain a driver’s license within 10 days from the date residency is established. The license is valid for four birthdays and costs $36. You must visit in person at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must take a vision and written test, but the driving test may be waived if you surrender an out-of-state license. A fingerprint, photograph and social security number and proof of birth with be required. 


To set an appointment for your driver’s license exam, call the DMV at 1 800 7770133 or visit

Registering to vote​

If you are registering less than 15 days before an election you will need to complete the Same-Day Voter Registration process and request your ballot in person at your county elections office or polling location. 


For more information on voter registration and voting locations, contact your local county elections official.


To register online you will need

  • Your California driver license or California identification card number,

  • The last four digits of your social security number and

  • Your date of birth.


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Understanding property taxes​

The average effective property tax rate in California is 0.79%, compared with a national average of 1.19%. To calculate the exact amount of property tax you would owe requires your property’s assessed value and the property tax rate based on your property’s address.



The California Constitution provides for the exemption of $7,000 (maximum) in assessed value from the property tax assessment of any property owned and occupied as the owner’s principal place of residence. The exemption reduces the annual property tax bill for a qualified homeowner by up to $70/

Planning and Development Services

Many people don’t know that a building permit is required for most, but not all, types of construction, including residential and commercial remodels, demolition and minor electrical, mechanical and plumbing work. The permitting process is designed to ensure the public’s health and safety and protect the environment by establishing standards for energy efficiency.

Learn more about OC Development Services

601 North Ross Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701

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