The California driver’s license replacement process is a simple procedure that motorists must perform in person at the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Any driver with a missing or lost driver’s license in CA, or whose driving credential becomes damaged beyond legibility, must replace this documentation as soon as possible.

When motorists replace a driver’s license, they also prevent identity theft and other fraudulent uses of their documents. Residents may continue reading the information below to learn how to replace a driver’s license in California and explore any restrictions associated with the replacement of these credentials.

When is a replacement driver’s license required in California?

Possession of a valid copy of a driver’s license is required for motorists to operate a vehicle in CA, so replacing it is imperative any time that it is lost, stolen or mutilated. As a general rule, a prompt driver’s license replacement in California is necessary in order to avoid receiving a ticket for driving without proper documentation. Moreover, residents who do not have request a duplicate driver’s license after losing their original credential may have trouble providing a primary form of identification and proving their identity as necessary.

Therefore, every licensed California motorist must replace a driver’s license in a timely manner in order to maintain their driving privileges and a valid form of identification. In addition, motorists need to request duplicate copies of these documents after legally changing their names with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Although not mandatory, residents may also order a CA DMV duplicate license after moving to a new place of residence.

How to Replace Your Drivers License Online in California

Although California cannot provide you with a California driver’s license copy online at this time, you may use the CA DMV portal for tasks related to license replacement. For instance, you may request an online DMV duplicate license appointment at your nearest DMV office in order to obtain faster service than a walk-in request.

If you are out-of-state and unable to obtain a replacement copy of a driver’s license at the CA DMV, you can use the portal to print a copy of your driving record and show proof that you have previously held a valid license.

How to Replace Your California Drivers License in Person

Every motorist with a stolen, damaged or lost driver’s license in California is required to replace his or her credential in person. In order to replace a driver’s license, residents must complete the appropriate application form, which is available at DMV offices. Residents may also wait until their DMV appointment in order to fill it out in person.

Nonetheless, this form is not available online, because each application document contains a unique barcode that a DMV clerk must scan to the resident’s account. In addition to the CA replacement driver’s license application, motorists must present the same documents used to obtain their original driving credential. This includes:

  • Proof of identity, such as a birth certificate or passport.
  • A Social Security card or other proof of Social Security Number (SSN) as indicated on the list of acceptable documents available from the DMV.
  • Proof of residency, such as a mortgage statement, rental agreement or other item listed by the CA DMV.

To obtain a replacement drivers license in CA, motorists will not need to take a written exam or a driving skills test. Instead, when requesting a replacement, drivers must simply allow the DMV to verify their thumbprint and photograph, and possibly take a new picture, if necessary. Motorists who are younger than 18 years of age must have both of their parents to sign the application form before replacing a driver’s license with the DMV.

These signatures state that the parents accept financial responsibility for that minor. If both parents cannot sign the CA DMV duplicate license form, the parent or guardian with legal custody may sign the application instead. Applicants requesting a duplicate CA driver license will leave the DMV with a temporary document that is valid for 90 days, and the replacement credential will arrive by mail within 60 days of filing the application.

Out-of-State Driver’s License Replacement in California

If you are out of the state and need a replacement CA driving license, you may wonder how to do so, since you cannot promptly visit a DMV office in person. Per DMV regulations, you must wait to get a copy of a driver’s license after you are residing in California again. This restriction applies to students, active duty military personnel and Department of Defense employees, as well as their dependents.

If you are in the military and waiting to replace a lost driver’s license, you may present your military ID card as legal proof of ID. If you must wait to get your CA duplicate driver’s license but still need to operate a vehicle, you can print a copy of your driving record to use as proof that your account is still valid.

How to Report a Missing Drivers License in California

Before seeking a driver’s license replacement in California due to theft, you may wish to report the theft to law enforcement officials. You can ask the CA DMV to waive your lost driving license replacement fee if you provide the police report to the DMV.

Although filing a report for a lost license is not necessary, a police report can be helpful if you find yourself facing identity theft or other illegal use of your stolen document.

California Drivers License Replacement Fees

When requesting a driving license replacement in California, you must pay a $28 fee for a Class C credential. If you wish to request a duplicate driver’s license for a document that is close to its expiration date, you may choose to renew your license instead and pay for the necessary renewal fee.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 3 2020.