Getting a CDL replacement in California is necessary whenever your original license card is lost, damaged or stolen. Drivers can replace CDL license documents using the methods provided by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Currently, California requires all CDL replacement requests to be processed in person at a DMV field office, but certain tasks can be accomplished ahead of time online.

Commercial drivers are required to replace CDL license documents as soon as possible, as it is illegal to operate a commercial vehicle without a valid license on hand. Review the following sections to learn how to replace a CDL license in California, including the individual steps of replacement and the fees you can expect to pay.

When do you need to get a duplicate CDL license in California?

A lost CDL drivers license is perhaps the most common reason for commercial license replacement, but it can become necessary for many different reasons. Occasionally, a CDL replacement is necessary because the license has been stolen. Although California does not require commercial drivers to report a missing CDL due to theft, it is a good idea to notify your local law enforcement agency anyway. Having a police report of the crime can be helpful if you find yourself facing identity theft or other issues linked to the stolen document.

DMV CDL replacement is also required when the document becomes severely damaged. You will need a duplicate CDL license if your original card is worn, creased, burned or otherwise mutilated to the point that the text or photo is unclear. Other reasons for obtaining a replacement CDL include changing your name or address. Note that regardless of the reason you apply for a duplicate CDL, you should initiate the process as soon as you are able. CDL replacement fees are low compared to the penalties you must pay if you receive a ticket for driving without a valid, readable CDL.

Documents Required to Replace a CDL in California

When you apply for a duplicate CDL in California, the state will simply check your identity and verify the information you provided at the time you obtained your original commercial driver license. For CDL replacement purposes, the DMV will validate your Social Security Number, photograph and other personal information in person when you visit the DMV field office.

Because all information needed for a CDL replacement is stored electronically, your fingerprint scan will provide the necessary validation of your personal information. However, if you have changed your name since your original CDL application, you must provide documents verifying the name change. These true full name documents include:

  • A marriage certificate
  • An adoption document
  • A certificate, declaration or registration document verifying a domestic partnership
  • A divorce decree or other dissolution of marriage document
  • Any other court-issued name change document

In addition, if you are getting a CDL replacement and applying for the first time for a REAL ID driver license, you will need to provide REAL ID identity documents. A complete list of these documents is available online, and includes items such as a birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card and certificates of naturalization or citizenship.

How to Replace a California CDL in Person

The California DMV requires that applicants for a duplicate CDL license complete the process in person. However, you may begin your CDL replacement process online, as explained in the section below. Whether you choose to submit your DMV CDL replacement application online or at the DMV field office, you will follow these steps:

  1. Complete Form DL 44, Driver License or Identification Card Application.
  2. Visit your local DMV field office.
  3. Pay the CDL replacement application fee.
  4. Provide a fingerprint scan.
  5. Make sure that your name, address, CDL classification, endorsements and restrictions are all accurate. If not, tell the DMV clerk.
  6. Receive a temporary duplicate CDL license and/or receipt to use in place of your license until the new card arrives by mail.

If you decide to use your CDL replacement as an opportunity to apply for a REAL ID for the first time, you will be required to provide identity verification, Social Security Number and proof of residency documents. Note that your temporary duplicate CDL license is valid for 90 days. If you have not received your permanent license within 60 days, call 800-777-0133 to check the status.

How to Replace a California CDL Online

Although you cannot fully complete the steps to replace CDL license online, you can begin the process by going to the CA DMV website first. Because appointments are required for in-person CA DMV CDL replacement, you can expedite the process by making your DMV field office appointment online.

You may also save time by completing the Electronic Driver License and Identification Card Application online prior to your DMV appointment. You must have a valid email address to fill out application at home. If you do not have an email address, you can complete the application at the DMV via a touch-screen terminal prior to your appointment. The electronic commercial drivers license replacement application is available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • Hindi
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • Japanese
  • Tagalog

CDL Replacement Fees in California

Each CDL replacement application must include the appropriate duplicate driver license fee. Currently, the fee for a duplicate CDL license in CA is $33 for Commercial Class A, Class B and Class C licenses. Your DMV field office will accept cash, check, money order or ATM/debit cards. You may not pay your CDL replacement fees by credit card at a DMV field office.

Last updated on Thursday, May 2 2019.

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