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How to Renew a Driver's License in California

Drivers License Online Services Guide

California Drivers License Renewal

Learning how to renew drivers licenses in California nearing the expiration date is essential for each licensed driver. Since driving with an expired drivers license is illegal in the state, drivers must renew their driving licenses at the appropriate time. Residents have the option of renewing drivers licenses in CA through a variety of methods including online, by mail and in person. For further information on how to renew drivers licenses with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, continue reading below.

How to Renew Your CA Driver's License



Renew your California drivers license before it expires

Note: Your California drivers license expiration date is also your birth date. Locate it on the front of your drivers license card.

To apply for a drivers license renewal in California, residents must decide upon which method is suitable for them. The CA DMV allows drivers license renewal applicants to renew their credentials in three different ways: online, in person or by mail. California online drivers license renewal applicants must first sign up for an account on the CA DMV website to become a certified user. To renew drivers licenses in person, drivers can make an appointment to receive expedited service. When visiting a CA DMV office to apply for a drivers license renewal, applicants will need to provide the renewal notice that was mailed to their residential address. That same CA DMV license renewal notice can be instead sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles for application by mail. To be eligible for by-mail or online driver's license renewals, you must meet a specific set of criteria.

Fees

California driver license renewal fees vary based upon the class of license. The cost to renew a standard Class C non-commercial driver's license is $33. Payment for the renewed driving license in CA is due at the time of application. Be sure to furnish the form of payment applicable to the manner in which you apply. For example, by-mail drivers license renewal applicants must pay by check, while internet users will need a credit or debit card to complete their transactions.

When to Renew Your California Driver's License

Drivers in California can renew drivers licenses as soon as they receive a renewal notice. Residents will be mailed a notification on how to renew drivers licenses with the Department of Motor Vehicles approximately two months prior to their driver's license expiration date.

Expired License

California drivers license renewal dates coincide with the driver's date of birth. Driving licenses are usually issued for a five-year period so your drivers license will expire on your birth date, the fifth year following issuance. Driving with an expired drivers license is illegal in California. Those caught driving with an expired license by law enforcement are at risk of receiving a traffic citation. Drivers should receive a drivers license renewal notice in the mail at least 60 days prior to their driver's license expiration date, giving them sufficient time to apply for a renewal either online, by mail or in person.

Requirements To Renew A California License

When renewing drivers licenses in California, motorists must submit the appropriate application materials required. The requirements vary depending on the the manner in which an applicant applies. Residents who do not qualify for by mail or online drivers license renewals must apply in person at a CA DMV office location.

In-person California DMV license renewal applicants must submit to a vision exam and have their photo and thumbprint taken. When applying for a drivers license renewal in person, the renewal notice serves as your application form and your current driving license as proof of identification. Bring both with you to your renewal appointment. To find out more about the requirements to renew drivers licenses in California, continue to the applicable sections below.

Renewing A CA Suspended License

California drivers license renewal procedures following a suspension vary depending on the type of violation for which the license was suspended. In most cases, renewing a drivers license following suspension requires an applicant to follow a series of steps, such as serving his or her suspension period, paying the reinstatement fee, as well as any court fines that are due. For more specific information on your particular case including where to renew drivers licenses in CA that have been suspended or revoked, contact the state's Department of Motor Vehicles during normal business hours.

CA Drivers License Online Renewal

To renew drivers licenses online in California, residents will need a Renewal By Mail (RBM) Notice containing a Renewal Identification Number (RIN). Drivers who have not received this notice can go online to schedule a DMV appointment, and thereafter complete the drivers license renewal process in person at a CA DMV location. Typically, drivers who can meet the following requirements are eligible to apply for drivers license renewals online or by mail:

  • You have not received two consecutive, five-year drivers license extensions.
  • Your current drivers license expires before you reach 70 years of age.
  • You do not carry a probationary driver's license.
  • You do not have a violation stemming from failure to appear in court or to pay a fine within the previous two years.
  • You have not had a BAC or refusal drivers license suspension within the previous two years.
  • You do not have more than one point on your driving record.

Eligible online drivers license renewal applicants who have their renewal notice in hand can register for a login account on the Department of Motor Vehicles online services page. Once registered, you must then be prepared to pay the driving license renewal fee with a valid credit or debit card.

Renewing Your CA Drivers License In-Person

Drivers can renew California drivers licenses in person by carrying out a few simple steps at their local DMV office. Applicants who wish for an expedited office experience are encouraged to go online to the CA DMV website to schedule an appointment ahead of their visit. To renew your drivers license in California, you will need to provide either a Driver License or Identification Card Application form (Dl 44) or your DMV license renewal notice. Be sure to correct any outdated information on your renewal notice before submitting it for application.

Along with the drivers license renewal application, drivers must also complete the following steps at the DMV office:

  • Provide a thumbprint.
  • Take a driver's license photo.
  • Pass a vision screening.

Additionally, CA drivers license renewal applicants with a notation on their renewal notice will be required to take a knowledge exam. The applicant must answer 15 out of 18 questions correctly in order to pass the test. To properly prepare for the DMV knowledge test, order a copy of the DMV.com practice exam which features over 100 sample test questions.

Out-of-State Military Renewal

California drivers license renewal requirements are more flexible for residents stationed out of state on active duty military service and their spouses. The validity of an expiring drivers licenses of a military member and his or her spouse can be extended with application for a drivers license extension. Applicants must apply by phone to receive an Extension of License for Person in Armed Forces card. When carried along with a CA expired drivers license, the extension card allows the driver to use the license freely.

The drivers license renewal extension card is valid for 30 days following the military member's arrival to California. Drivers must apply for a DMV license renewal in person before the end of that time period. The applicant must complete the following steps to obtain a drivers license renewal including:

  • Submit a signed driver's license application.
  • Provide a thumbprint.
  • Take a driver's license photo.
  • Pass a vision screening.
  • Pass a knowledge test.
Submitted by Anonymous on 3rd May 2011

Hello.., How do I get obtain

Hello.., How do I get obtain an extenstion for my driver liscence? I haven't received my new liscence yet? My liscence expired last month. Please let me know.

Submitted by RBellato on 6th Jul 2014

How to extend my exstension

How to extend my exstension for license renewal

Submitted by Anonymous on 22nd Mar 2011

Unless I am stupid, (could

Unless I am stupid, (could be!), there is a conflict on when to submit by mail as indicated on this web page and the "mail in" license renewal form, wich is:

This web page says "Your licnse must NOT be expiring in the next 60 days."

Renewal form Item 1B says if you answer "YES" to: "does your license expire more than 60 days from today" you can't remew by mail.

Which is it??

Submitted by Anonymous on 8th Mar 2011

Hello, I'm inquiring about a

Hello, I'm inquiring about a CA Driver's License renewal. Unfortunately, I am deployed overseas iat the moment and my driver's license expired 4 days ago on March 4, my 21st birthday. How do i go about that? I believe my options are via mail or via internet. The only exceptions though are if your expiration date is 60 days away and what not; please advise me with further guidance. Thank You!

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Mar 2011

My photo on my current

My photo on my current driver's license was taken 9 years ago, at which time I weighed 215 pounds, which is given as my weight on my current license. However, since 2002 I have lost 40 pounds, and currently weigh 175. When can I have a new photo taken, along with a correction of my weight? My license keeps getting automatically renewed without an updated photo and weight.

Submitted by Anonymous on 28th Feb 2011

Does anyone know if the

Does anyone know if the regular CA ID cards (not drivers license) is also taking the same amount of time/delays??

I recently changed my name and in order to update my passport I need a valid gov't issued photo ID (ie ID Card or drivers license). They won't accept my temp drivers license because it is not a photo ID.

I've been waiting since the beginning of December for my license.

Submitted by Anonymous on 26th Feb 2011

I renewed my DMV license on

I renewed my DMV license on 11-18-2010... It has been almost four months ( today is 2-27-2011) and still no license. I saw on the news that my expired intern paper license will be good for three months, but it will not for every situation. Glad to know that this state is really doing a good job. I guess I will wait for a while longer before I go to the DMV and ask for another paper license that is not expired. Come on Sacramento, your just as lousy as Jerry Brown.

Submitted by Anonymous on 27th Feb 2011

Call the 800 number for DMV

Call the 800 number for DMV and tell them your temporary will expire on such a date .They will take your information and issue you another temporary and mail it to you.I did this all ready and got my temp three days after talking on the phone.I asked the lady that I talked to where she was and she told me she was in the Riverside DMV which I verified when I got my temp and checked out the zip code.My new license came the following day.

Submitted by Anonymous on 26th Feb 2011

I am in the same situation,

I am in the same situation, also been waiting since November and nothing. I am on my third interim drivers license. You shouldn't wait to get another one if yours is expired, call the 1800 number and they will mail one to you. With out the paper you are driving illegally.

Submitted by Anonymous on 25th Feb 2011

Have been waiting since the

Have been waiting since the beginning of November. Spoke to Sacramento office that doesn't show a reaseon for the dealy (no needing to redo because of new look), now have to call another number that is for special drivers license assistance to find out what the heck is going on!

Submitted by Anonymous on 24th Feb 2011

I renewed online for DL

I renewed online for DL 1/4/11 and as of 2/24/11 no license. And good luck getting through via telephone to anyone "live" person: can't happen and there is no other way to contact. This state is going to hell in a handbasket!

Submitted by Anonymous on 23rd Feb 2011

I searched for a way to ask

I searched for a way to ask DMV why my renewal license hasn't arrived in the mail yet when I have the canceled check and the license expired last week. I find this site which has a string of similar complaints but no replies explaining how long to wait or what to do about it. The dreaded trip to the DMV to wait for hours only to find out you have to start all over again because they lost your paper work is looming closer and closer. So distressing! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on 23rd Feb 2011

Notice how most of these

Notice how most of these comments are negative. And government workers wonder why people are antagonistic. These are your tax dollars, going to fund an incompetent workforce for the rest of their lives

Submitted by Anonymous on 23rd Feb 2011

My story with DMV would make

My story with DMV would make a book...it would NOT be a best seller...it is too common. I was told initially that I was blind and could not be licensed. I told them the dirty little secret ws that I drove to the DMV that day. Truth is that I am blind in one eye, the other is 20/20. I have been continuously licensed since I was 13 years old. I also informed them I have never had an accident nor a ticket in my 62 years, and I have been licensed in 8 eight states with no problems whatsoever. After several months of proving I could see, this took several trips to my eye doctor and verifications being filed, I was scheduled for a driving test to prove I could drive. We went one block and the examiner said I was disqualified because I didn't look to my right (the blind eye is on the right). During the exam I looked so far to the right that the examiner could see my left eye. It would not have mattered, they were determined to deny me a license. I finally got an attorney, a Highway Patrol Officer, and the Americans with Disabilities agency to back me. They did and I was immediatly given a license. (temporary) No permanant license yet. I have been waiting for four months...temporary has expired.

Submitted by Anonymous on 19th Feb 2011

I've been waiting since

I've been waiting since August, when I renewed my license. I changed my address online and via mail when I moved in October. Website says my online change of address was declined (seriously). I hope the form I mailed reached them.

I was told to call Legal Services who are permanently engaged - I must have called 50 times. I cannot get through to the DMV at all now.

I just re-registered my car online, but still have had no correspondence in over 6 months so I don't know if they updated my address. I have no way of telling if my new tabs will come to my address or not.

So I have to take the day off work, lose a day's pay, to go to the DMV and find out what the problem is.

How can this be legally acceptable?

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Feb 2011

What is wrong with this

What is wrong with this organization? I sincerely feel that the DMV does not represent the intrest of the people. Is anyone with me? Can we start demanding that the DMV have some kind of responsibility to the citizens? Wasted Time, Wasted Money, Wasted Effort!!! Enough waste.

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Feb 2011

Applied online for renewal

Applied online for renewal 12/16/2010 still have not received the new license. Mine expired 2/10/2011. This is a concern. DMV needs to post an official statement on the website to inform people how to proceed when their license expires because DMV does not send in a timely fashion. A valid ID is required in a number of situations.. applying for insurance, library cards, college residency to name a few.

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Feb 2011

I am in the same boat...

I am in the same boat... December 12 filled out the papers and my temporary has expired!

Submitted by Anonymous on 16th Feb 2011

I have expereinced similar

I have expereinced similar problems - I have forwarded the issue to Senator Tom Harmons office - I suggest you all send emails to your State Rep

Submitted by Anonymous on 15th Feb 2011

I sent in my check and

I sent in my check and renewal by mail in Oct. My license expired in Dec.... Feb. and still nothing. I am so glad I am not alone in this. I am keeping a pic of my cancelled check in my car so if I get pulled over I can show the officer the pic. I made an appointment but the earliest I can go to the DMV is late March.... hopefully my new license will come before then. Good luck to you all!! We need it!

Submitted by Anonymous on 14th Feb 2011

Do you have to go to the DMV

Do you have to go to the DMV to request another temporary license if your original temp license expired? I don't mind waiting but I really don't want to have to go to the DMV again!

Submitted by Anonymous on 15th Feb 2011

No call the 1-800 and request

No call the 1-800 and request one to be sent. I am on my third one and once sent it takes 3-7 days to get

Submitted by Anonymous on 11th Feb 2011

Went in person to DMV to

Went in person to DMV to renew license, 3 months later, on my almost third temp license, and no real license, however my family member applied last month are got it in 4 weeks...???? It's great that some go through and some don't but honestly those that were applied for during the new look should be processed frist and the newer ones put on hold, or hire more help. Also love that I am legal to drive with the paper but was denied writing a check.....seriously CA I dislike you!

Submitted by Anonymous on 11th Feb 2011

did online renewal on Dec 17,

did online renewal on Dec 17, 2010. 7 weeks later, I still do NOT have my license today, nor a temporary license.

Does anybody know if I can request a Temp license to get me into bars? I don't have a passport so I don't know what else I could do.

Submitted by Anonymous on 10th Feb 2011

I renewed my license via the

I renewed my license via the internet on DEC. 15. My license expired Feb.01 and I have still not received my new license. Impossible to contact the DMV. Guess lots of folks are waiting.

Submitted by Anonymous on 9th Feb 2011

my licensce expires in two

my licensce expires in two days, and I have not received anything in the mail. How do I renew my license.....can't do it online since I have not received anything in the mail, can't do it by mail since it's too late. What do I do? and Why didn't I ever receive a renewal notice in the mail?

Submitted by Anonymous on 11th Feb 2011

They (the DMV) say some get

They (the DMV) say some get lost, so you have to go into an office and go thru their wait in lines routine and waste a day for it.

Submitted by Anonymous on 9th Feb 2011

Just got off the phone with

Just got off the phone with the 800# he said they are 6 weeks behind when they process, i sent in my payment Ded 14, but they didn't process till Jan 12 so 6 weeks from that date. He said that police have been asked to be understanding but they can issue a "fix it" ticket for not having a valid drivers lic ON me if I'm driving, then i would have to go and get a temporary one to satisfy the fix it ticket. Guess I'll drive VERRYY carefully, so i can stay OUT of the DMV offices and out of trouble! Hope this helps!

Submitted by Anonymous on 14th Feb 2011

Thank you for going through

Thank you for going through the painful experience of trying to reach the DMV by phone. I tried last week and had to give up as I was at work... I renewed online on 12/17 - I have no new license either and am driving on an expired one. Good to know there is a reason for this and it's not just me!

Submitted by Anonymous on 9th Feb 2011

I renewed my driver's license

I renewed my driver's license end of november via mail. my check cleared on 12/2 and my license expired on 1/22. still no license in the mail. How long should i wait before I call DMV?

Submitted by Anonymous on 10th Feb 2011

The EXACT (almost to the

The EXACT (almost to the date) thing is happening to me! I didnt even realize mine expired till I was at a meeting that required a valid ID. I was almost NOT allowed into the meeting cause it was not considered valid anymore. Thankfully they did let me in, after some convincing! what is going on?

Submitted by Anonymous on 9th Feb 2011

Seriously California? I know

Seriously California? I know the drivers license cards are fancier now but they took my money way back when and I still haven't gotten my new one in the mail yet. Mine expired 13th of January. I think this is ridiculous, they need more people working at the DMV.

Submitted by Anonymous on 8th Feb 2011

Same thing is happening to

Same thing is happening to me. I mailed the check to the DMV in October and my license expired in November. DMV cashed my check the begining of December and I still have not received my license. I'm on hold with the DMV right now but who knows if they will answer because its almost 5 o'clock and I think they close soon.

Submitted by Anonymous on 8th Feb 2011

I renewed my licensed in Nov

I renewed my licensed in Nov 2010, the same it expired, thru mail, and payment has been cashed. Now, it Feb 8, 2011, I still have not received my license. Who should I contact to follow up. Should I call the 800#? Or should I go to the nearest DMV? Please advise me what to do.

Submitted by Anonymous on 11th Feb 2011

Same thing is happening to

Same thing is happening to me...3 months now and no license. Call the 1-800-777-0133 number and they can only tell you if it has been mailed or still in the "process" stage, which mine has been in "process" for 3 months now. If you ask they will mail to you a temp paper so you are legal to drive, but it's not much good beyond that. Apparently some license are coming out fine with the new look, and some have to be re-done (me, yours prob, and thousands of others).

Submitted by Anonymous on 8th Feb 2011

when you find out let me

when you find out let me know- I renewed mine in Oct after the CHP kindly accepted the "voluntary surrender" of my driver's license IN MARCH when they arrested me for an alleged DUI that I was subsequently informed that both the County and the DMV had declined to prosecute. I read the actual law to find out how to get my license back and discovered that while it provides exhaustive exhausting details on how a DUI conviction affects your "driing privelege", all it says about my situatiion is that "your driver lisence will be returned to you" or you can pay another $125 for a duplicate with an 8-wk lead time for delivery. Suffice to say that neither the CHP or the DMV returned my valid and legal driver license to me and when I called to inquire each agency told me that the other had it . I finally gave up and waited until it could be renewd (90 days prior to expiration), went to the DMV in person, paid the fee in cash, got a temp good for 60 days, had my picture and thumbprint taken (again) and signed the form the DMV person filled out for me and then presumably put into the que to be processed. 4 weeks later still no license but I did get a letter from the dMV congratulating me for being deemed eligible by them to renew my license over the phone or on the internet by simply paying the fee , without any need to actually go to a DMV office, The letter included a personal code number that I might as well try now. GOOD LUCK.

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Feb 2011

Also, if you call in they can

Also, if you call in they can send you a temporary card. In the meantime if you do get pulled over and you have your expired license, the cop can run it through his or her system and it will show up if you have renewed the license - so no worries there.

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Feb 2011

For everyone posting about

For everyone posting about not receiving their license - I put in my renewal on November 12, 2010 and just received mine in the mail today. THey are SUPER backed up. Mines so out of date (I'm 5'9" but it says that im 5'2"), but im afraid to get the info corrected due to time issues.

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Feb 2011

I went in to renew my drivers

I went in to renew my drivers license on november 17.. im a us citizen.. just changed my address.. still haven't gotten my new id in mail AND My interim driver license expired a month ago.. seriously california?

Submitted by Anonymous on 4th Feb 2011

Sent in renewal form and

Sent in renewal form and check in November 2010; license expires on 16 January 2011. Check has been cashed but no license received. What do I do?

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Feb 2011

I GOT MY CDL RENEWAL. AND DID

I GOT MY CDL RENEWAL. AND DID NOT RECIVE MY ONE. MISPLACED THE DMV PAPER THEY GAVE. WILL THEY GIVE ME NEW PIECE OF PAPER.

FOR MY NEW DCL? ANYONE CAN GIVE ME INFOR? PLEZ

Submitted by Anonymous on 3rd Feb 2011

dmv, i sent in my drivers

dmv, i sent in my drivers license in over a month ago, still haven't receive my new DL through mail.. it expired last week...when are you gonna send it to me? The phone 1800 doesn't work..they tell me to wait over 30 mins and still can't get through. What is going on?

Submitted by Anonymous on 4th Feb 2011

Same to mine. What's going

Same to mine. What's going on? Mine expired on 23rd on January. Pls give feedback.

Submitted by Anonymous on 5th Feb 2011

Mine expired on Jan 24th.

Mine expired on Jan 24th. What am i pose to do ?PLS GIVE FEEDBK

Submitted by Anonymous on 2nd Feb 2011

I mailed my check for renewal

I mailed my check for renewal of my drivers license and have to received it. Check went through in November of 2010....DOB is January...

Submitted by Anonymous on 3rd Feb 2011

same here. i hope the DMV

same here. i hope the DMV would notified us!

Submitted by Anonymous on 1st Feb 2011

Waiting for my renewed

Waiting for my renewed drivers licence.Check has cleared .

I'm assuming there have been many cut backs so I simly made a copy of the check and also have a copy of the renew early paper work in my car. In the event that I should be stopped by an officer he or she shoud be resonable .Maybe they would issue a fix it ticket..not sure

Submitted by Anonymous on 1st Feb 2011

What the heck is going on

What the heck is going on with DMV? They cashed my check for my license renewal by mail and i have yet to get my driver's license which has expired over 2 weeks ago now. Sure would be nice if they would let you know the time frame in which it takes them to mail you your new license or at least some kind of email address where we could inquire. it's obviously an issue for many of us. if we get a ticket, we should pass them the bill.

Submitted by Anonymous on 28th Jan 2011

I physically went to the DMV

I physically went to the DMV to get a new license because I had lost mine and they said it would be mailed to me. Its been a little over 2 weeks and it still hasn't come. How long should it take? Who should I be calling to make sure i get it?

Submitted by Anonymous on 11th Feb 2011

I wish you luck...I have been

I wish you luck...I have been waiting 3 months for mine, and on my third paper license.

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