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How to Renew a Driver's License in California

How to Renew Drivers Licenses in California

In the state of California, your driving license is set to expire every five years on the day of your birth. However, to make sure that you are aware of the impending need to file for CA drivers license renewal, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles will mail you a renewal notice approximately two months before the expiration date. As long as your drivers license is not considered expired, suspended, lost or damaged, you will be able to renew it through any of the following methods:

  • Online
  • By mail
  • In person
  • By phone

Keep in mind that there are eligibility requirements that must be met before you attempt to renew drivers license credentials. Also, if you do not receive a renewal notice, you are still responsible for going through the renewal process. If you would like to verify the status of your license, you can call them toll-free at 1-800-777-0133.

More Important Information on Driver's License Renewals

Eligibility Requirements to Renew a Drivers License in California

In order to renew online, by phone, or by mail and avoid going in person to a local DMV office, you must meet these qualifications:

  • You are younger than 70.
  • You do not have a suspended drivers license or be on probation.
  • You have a drivers license that expires within 60 days.
  • You do not have a driving license from out-of-state.
  • You have not performed your last two drivers license renewals by mail.
  • You have not failed to appear in court in the last two years.

If you are not sure whether or not you qualify, your drivers license renewal notice sent from the CA DMV will detail which options are available to you.
Note: There is no age requirement for renewing your drivers license in California.

When to Renew a Drivers License

If you do not want to wait to receive your renewal notice in the mail, the California Department of Motor Vehicles allows you to go through the renewal process early. With a valid drivers license, which has not expired, you can renew:

  • Up to six months before its expiration date.
  • Up to 90 days after expiration.

You will receive a temporary 90-day card until your permanent driving license arrives in the mail within 60 days. In addition, if you wait more than 90 days to begin renewing drivers license credentials, your privileges will be considered "expired." If that happens, you must visit your local DMV office and submit a Driver License or Identification Card Application.Additional penalties for late renewal include having to pay additional fines.

Renewal Fees

The price for renewing drivers license credentials in the state of California varies based on the drivers license in question. In terms of non-commercial driving licenses, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Class C: $33
  • Non-Commercial Class A: $34
  • Non-Commercial Class B: $34

When going in person, the DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders and debit/ATM cards.


To renew drivers license online, you must meet these two qualifications:

  1. You are not changing your address.
  2. Your Social Security number is on file with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you are eligible based on the above requirements, then you can visit the California DMV website to register. Remember to have a credit card, a debit card, or your bank account number on hand for the renewal fee.

By Mail

You have two ways of renewing your drivers license by mail. You can either complete the renewal notice that you received in the mail, or you can fill out a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form. Once you have completed the form of your choice, you must mail it and a check or money order with the applicable renewal fee to the following address to renew your expired drivers license in California:

Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290    

In Person

Before you consider renewing your drivers license in another fashion, you should make sure that you are not required to renew licensecredentials in person. You must do so if:

  • Your California driving license will expire in more than 60 days.
  • You did not renew your last two drivers licenses in person.
  • You are 70 years of age or older.
  • You need to take the written knowledge exam.

In the event you are required to visit the DMV, you must:

  1. Fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application, which you will find at the DMV office.
  2. Give your thumbprint.
  3. Get your photo taken for your driving license.
  4. Pass a vision exam.
  5. Pass the written knowledge test, if applicable.
  6. Pay the applicable renewal fee, depending on your drivers license class:
    • The DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards.

Finally, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment before your trip to any DMV locations. The lines can be long, and these appointments will allow you to bypass any unnecessary waiting.Also, to maximize your efficiency, you should also consider applying for your voting registration while at the DMV. You can do so during the renewal process and save yourself the inconvenience of another trip.

By Phone

The state of California also offers you the opportunity to renew driving license credentials by phone. To do so, you simply have to call the phone number that appears on your drivers license renewal notice. Once you have a representative on the line, you will be asked to give them your:

  • Renewal Identification Number.
  • Debit/credit card information for renewal fee.

Drivers License Renewal for Out-of-State/Military Residents

In the event that you will be out-of-state when your CA drivers license expires, there is no need for you to worry. You can request a free one-year extension before you are required to renew drivers license credentials. All you have to do is write a letter requesting this extra time, and include the following details:

  • Name
  • Address in California
  • Out-of-state address
  • Drivers license number
  • Birth date

Then send this letter to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290    

Military members, on the other hand, enjoy the privilege of having their driving license remain valid for 30 days after honorable discharge. However, you are still required to renew expired drivers license credentials by calling the CA DMV at 916-657-7790. By doing so, you will receive an Extension of License for Person in Armed Forces card. Your spouse can either request a one-year extension or renew his or herdrivers license by calling the California DMV.

Non-United States Citizen Drivers License Renewal

If you are not a citizen of the United States and have a temporary California driving license, you are still required to show updated legal presence and date of birth documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Furthermore, you can expect the California Department of Motor Vehicles to mail you instructions on how to extend your drivers license's validity right before your temporary license expires.

Related Links

Reviews of How to Renew a Driver's License in California

Same issue here. I'm going on 6 MONTHS now and still have not received my new license. I have called several times, and visited the local office to find that I still have no license. Love their 916 # that is nothing but a busy signal... If you happen to get a phone number that works please post it here, and I will do the same, as I'm again sitting on hold...



I submitted an online renewal application online in early December (at which point my credit card was charged and I received a confirmation email) and now over 6 weeks later nothing has arrived and my licenes expires on Friday. What are we supposed to do in this situation?

My license expired July 2010. I went to a DMV office beginning of August. After about 2 months had passed and I had not received it I called them to inquire about the status. They could not tell me why I had not received it yet and told me that something might have happened to the photo and advised me to go back. I did. This was last November. I'm still waiting. The 800 # is useless, all they can tell me is that it has been renewed and then refer me to a 916 number that is constantly busy. I don't know what to do anymore.

are you a citizen or resident?

how long should it take to get a license that has been renewed online???? mine has been two weeks already....

I submitted my renewal license through the mail on 10-14-2009 i filled out the forms and i sent a check. I have not received my renewal notice or even my license i would like to know why its taking so long? i need a response a.s.a.p.


anita marez

I am in the same situation. I renewed my license on 1/3/11 and filled out the proper forms and sent my check, which they have since cashed. Put I have yet to receive my renewed license. I guess the best thing to do is to go physically to a DMV office and see if I can get some help.

I'm checking to see if my renewal of my license has gone through. The check has cleared but I haven't received my license. If I get pulled over will I be in trouble dur to not having a current license.

i'm checking to see if my renewal of my license hasgone

through.the check has cleared but ihaven't received my license

if iget pulled over will i be in trouble dur to not having a corrent license

I renewed my license on 12/2/09. My check cleared. I have not received my new license nor have I any paper saying I renewed. How long does it take?

I did not receive my renewal notice in the mail. My license expires on 10-26-09. Do I need to go to the DMV or can I renew by email?

Same as all these people! iv'e sent my check over 6 weeks ago and have not recieved anything!!! My license is expired. Hope i dont get a Ticket!!!

i sent my renewal check and form last month, but there is no any comment from DMV. my driver license gonna be expire next week. can u sent my driver liencese ASAP? thanks

I sent in my check for renewal. This was in August, 2009. The check came back to me

stating that I needed to complete the application - what application?

I sent it back to the address given and I haven't heard a word from anyone from the DMV.

When can I expect to get my license? It expired on 9/29/09.

I need a response ASAP.!!!

I have been out of the country since about one year and was unable to present myself for license renewal last December. My license expired since it was already renewal two times by mail. What must I do to renew my license? I am returning in October. I have an auto and motorcycle license.

I sent in my renewal in the beiging of Aug. my check cleared and I have not recieved my License renewal yet. Please let me know what is going on with my license? Becauce it is now expired.

I did not receive my renew notice in the mail and my license expire on September 16, 2009. Do I need to come in and renew my license


I did not get my renewal in the mail my

license expired on 8-14 of August will i get my renewal

in the mail?

I did not recieve a

"Drivers Lisense Renewal"

for in mail and my lisense has expired on the 17th of August. Is it possible to do it online since im always busy with work?

I completed the renewal form to renew my license and I have not received my license yet! When should I expect my license? My license has expired now and I'm worried they may be lost in the mail or something. When can I expect my license to arrive?

I forgot to send in my renewal until 3 days before my birthdate. I put it in the mail with a check then found the place to renew online and also did that with a credit card. My main concern is getting the license before I have to travel and rent a car -- in 8 days! Is there a way to track status? Will the check get returned since I did it online?

I renewed via mail and it never showed up, and the old license is expired?

I have apply for my driver licence on the internet but i havent reciveded and my old one is allmost ready to expired what can i do.

I had received the renew notice and need to renew my driver license in person before this coming September. However; I am currently out of town at this moment due to my work reason. I may not be able to return on time. How do I apply for renew procedure postponement? Thank you.

My renewal fee has cleared my bank since June 26, 2009 but I still have not received my renewed liicense. Can you tell me the status?

I sent my renewal form in to renew my drivers license 3 weeks ago it is expired now and i still havent recieved my new one what do i do?

I sent in for my drivers license renewal on the first of May and still have not recieved it. I am driving on a expired license. What shall I do? Pamela Raders

i applied for my drivers license on may 5 still havnt recieved it please send it to me thank you

i need to know when my new license is coming i apply for it online

I no longer live or speak to my parents and my rewal goes to there home address and my license renewal is due in about a month and i wish to renew my license through the website how do i go about that

I wear monovision contacts, one eye is for distance other for close up. When worn together I see perfectly but with your eye test of close one eye and read chart I cannot read with the eye corrected for close up. Does DMV take this into account or how do I prove that my vision is fine as long as both eyes are used to drive with, since I dont know anybody who drives around with only one eye open.

Please send me a renewal notice to my e-mail address. I'm out of the country right now but my address is still the same

Thank you,

David B. Rubic

I renewed the DL via interent on 2-22-09 and received a tranaction confirmation in which it states to allow 10 days for processing. To this date, I have not received my new D.L. What should I do?

Hey All,

I hope you all realize this is not a secure site. Do you really think posting your name, address and DL# on an open fourm is a good idea? Just something to think about.

ok, thanks

I'm past my renewal date and would like to make an appointment at the victorville department to take care of this matter

I am trying to retrieve information on replacing a lost driver's license and when I click on the How to Replace a Lost License, it on takes to me further links on replacing motorcycle and/or commercial driver's license. I am only seeking information on a regular Class C license.



I have mode from my old address, and I need to renew my Driver'S License.


please send me a renewal notice to my new address. i have moved from 32170 Pueblo Trail, Cathedral City, CA 92234 to my new address which is:

21822 Grace Avenue

Carson, CA 90745.

kindly advise also how much is the renewal fee. i just can't get it here online as my computer hangs up when i get to the point of getting the renewal fee.

i appreciate your prompt reply. Thank you very much.

I have not received the renewal application yet. I have moved and probably didn't change my address. It may have gone to another address. My current name and address is:

Sharon Chiurazzi

9676 Anton Oaks Way

Elk Grove, CA 95624

CA DL: N6122254

Please advise. Thank you.

Please send me the renewal information in the mail or to my email address. My birthday is 3/3/1939 and I haven't received notification.

You should add on the website how long it takes for the license to get to the persons house via mail. Information like that is important so the person can expect it since it is sensitive documentation. Just wanted to comment on that.

HI My I.D exprie today I Paid fee for renew already please let me know what going onmy email adr: thanks a millions thanks.

About one month I sent the payment to DMV Today is my birthday I didn't see the new I.D please sent the message to me emil adress let me knows thank you very much for your concern.

You guys are stupid posting your DL no.s and address here.

What are you thinking? You will not get a response this way!