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How to Renew/Replace a Motorcycle License in California

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Motorcycle License Renewal

How to Renew a Motorcycle License in California

The first thing you should know about the Class M motorcycle license is that it is really an endorsement on your standard drivers license. Thus, the motorcycle license renewal process is essentially the same as the steps for drivers license renewal. In addition, there are a variety of methods that you can employ, and each method comes with qualifications that must be met. If you want to renew online, for instance, you can only do so if:

  • Your address will remain the same.
  • The CA DMV has your Social Security Number on file.

If you qualify, you will be able to register for an account online, provide payment information, and pay the renewal fee with cash, a check, a money order, or a debit/ATM card. The process to renew by mail involves more preparation on your part, as you will have to complete either the renewal notice you receive in the mail or the California Driver License Renewal by Mail Eligibility Information Form DL 410-FO. Once complete, you can mail in the form and payment via check or money order to:

Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001.    

Then again, you also have the opportunity to renew your motorcycle endorsement in person at a local DMV office. You are required to do so if you meet one of the following scenarios:

  • You are at least 70 years old
  • Your motorcycle license is set to expire in more than 60 days
  • You renewed your motorcycle drivers license by mail or online the last two times
  • You need to take the written knowledge exam

When you arrive at the Department of Motor Vehicles office, you will need to:

  1. Take a vision test.
  2. Take a written test (if necessary).
  3. Give your thumbprint.
  4. Get your photo taken.
  5. Provide a completed driver license or identification card application.

Note: Out-of-state residents have the option to renew credentials by mail or online. However, they must remember to include their out-of-state address so that they receive their new license to drive.

How to Replace a CA Motorcycle License

To replace your motorcycle drivers license, you are required to visit a DMV location in person. Once you arrive, you will be asked to do the following in order to obtain a replacement license:

  1. Fill out and present a DL-44 form
  2. Provide one proof of your ID (only originals or certified copies of documents):
    • U.S. passport
    • Birth certificate
    • U.S. military ID
  3. Provide Social Security Number
  4. Provide one proof of residency:
    • Utility bill
    • Bank statement
    • W-2 form
    • Permanent resident card
  5. Provide one proof of legal presence (non-U.S. citizens)
    • Green Card a.k.a. I-551 Form
    • I-551 stamp on passport
  6. Pay the motorcycle driving license replacement fee:
    • The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards

However, if you have lost your license within 60 days of its expiration date, you can just renew it and save yourself some trouble.
Note: If you are out-of-state when you lose your motorcycle license, you will have to contact the DMV directly find out if your extenuating circumstances allow you to obtain a replacement remotely.

Motorcycle Insurance

All motorcycle riders in California must be able to show proof of motorcycle insurance while out on the road. Furthermore, they must be able to meet the minimum motorcycle insurance requirements in the following categories:

  • Bodily injury/death to one person
  • Bodily injury/death to multiple people
  • Property damage

Not meeting the minimum qualifications can result in serious penalties, such as a suspended drivers license or traffic fines.

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