A California motorcycle license renewal application may be submitted online, by mail or in person at the DMV. All of the state’s renewal requirements must be met in full. Failure to do so may disqualify riders from renewing their licenses or using certain submission methods. A motorcycle license (Class M1 or M2) follows the same renewal procedures as a Class C license marked with a motorbike endorsement.

Applicants are only required to renew a motorcycle license if their current card is set to expire. Licenses are typically valid for five years. The DMV sends out complimentary renewal notices to applicants prior to the expiration date. It is illegal to operate a vehicle without a valid license and therefore very important to submit a renewal application on time.

When to Renew a Motorcycle License in California

Riders must renew bike licenses in California every five years on or before their birthday. However, if the identifying document used in an application expires within five years, a limited term license with a matching expiration date will be issued.

The CA DMV sends drivers bike license renewal reminders two months prior to the expiration date. However, this reminder is a courtesy and is not required to complete a renewal application. Therefore, it is the driver’s responsibility to renew their license on time. While riders are not charged a late fee for lapsed renewals, it is illegal to operate a vehicle without a valid license.

Eligibility for Motorcycle License Renewal in California

California’s motorcycle renewal requirements must be met in full. Regardless of the method used, riders must hold a state-issued Class M1 or M2 license to apply for a renewal through the CA DMV. In addition, the following eligibility rules must be adhered to when renewing licenses online or through the mail:

  • Applications must be made no more than 60 days prior to the motorcycle license expiration
  • Applicants must be younger than the age of 70 at the time of submission.
  • Applicants must not have applied online or by mail during the last two consecutive renewal periods.
  • Applicants must not hold a license from another state or jurisdiction.

REAL ID card holders are eligible to use the online system or apply by mail. However, riders cannot renew a license using these methods if they are upgrading to a REAL ID card for the first time.

Required Documents

The documents required to renew a motorcycle license vary depending on the renewal method being used. See below for a breakdown of necessary CA DMV documents.

  • A CA motorbike license renewal notice. While the notice may be used for all three renewal methods, it is not mandatory.
  • A Renewal by Mail Eligibility form. This form may be used If you did not receive a renewal notice by mail but are eligible to process a request using this method.
  • A completed Driver License or Identification Card application form. This form may be used in lieu of a reminder notice when applying in person at the DMV.
  • Valid identification documents. Riders upgrading to a REAL ID card must bring;
    • Proof of identity;
    • Proof of Social Security Number; and
    • Proof of residency in the state.
  • A valid form of payment. Online renewals must be made using credit or debit cards, while mailed applications must be paid for using a check or money order. Transactions performed at a DMV office must be made using cash, check, ATM cards or debit cards. Credit cards are not accepted at DMV offices.

Instances When You Cannot Renew Your Motorcycle License in California

A CA bike license renewal application cannot be processed if the rider fails to meet certain state requirements. The following instances may prohibit applicants from renewing CA DMV credentials online, by mail or in person.

  • Your motorcycle license is currently suspended, cancelled or revoked.
  • You are currently under a driving probation.
  • You are guilty of one or more of the below incidents within the past two years:
    • Convicted of a moving violation.
    • Suspended for driving under the influence, refusing to take a screening test or failing a screening test.
    • Violating a written promise to appear in court.
    • Been at fault in a collision.

Exceptions to the above rules may be applied. Call 1-800-777-0133 to check your eligibility with the CA DMV.

How to Renew a California Motorcycle License Online

Can I renew my motorcycle license online? Yes. However, not all drivers are eligible for this service. Drivers must;

  • Have access to the Internet;
  • Have all personal details, such as their name and address up-to-date with the DMV;
  • Have a verified Social Security Number on file at the DMV; and
  • Be able to pay using a valid credit or debit card.

If you meet all of the above motorbike renewal requirements, log in to the CA DMV portal and follow the online prompts. If you do not have an account, you must create one first by following the below steps:

  1. Generate a username and password.
  2. Enter your name, email, Social Security Number and date of birth.
  3. Complete the security questions section in full.

Once created, use the login detail to access the state’s online portal. Have your CA motorcycle license renewal notice and payment method ready before you begin. Follow the online prompts and pay the renewal fee. New licenses are mailed to the address on file within three weeks. The confirmation receipt cannot be used as a temporary license.

How to Renew a California Motorcycle License by Mail

Applications to renew an M1 license or M2 license may be submitted by mail to the DMV. The reminder notice states whether a renewal may be processed using this method. Follow the below steps to submit an application by mail:

  1. Complete the motorcycle license renewal notice, if applicable.
  2. Complete the Renewal By Mail Eligibility form if you did not receive a notice.
  3. Include payment in the form of a money order or check.
  4. Send the above items to the following address:

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

Where to Renew California Motorcycle License in Person

In some cases, applicants may be required to renew M1 or M2 licenses in person at a local DMV office. Appointments may be booked online prior to arrival. However, while appointments are recommended, they are not mandatory. Complete the following steps to renew your license at a local CA DMV office.

  1. Bring your renewal notice and complete all applicable sections. If you do not have a renewal notice, you must complete an identification card application
  2. Pay the renewal fee.
  3. Have your fingerprint scanned.
  4. Take the vision exam.
  5. Have your photograph
  6. Take any applicable knowledge tests. The CA motorcycle license renewal notice states whether a test is required.
  7. Submit proof of your identity, Social Security Number and residency if upgrading to a REAL ID card.

After completing the above steps, drivers are issued an interim license valid for 90 days. New licenses are mailed within 60 days of the renewal application being submitted.

How to Renew a Motorcycle Permit in California

A learner driver cannot renew a motorcycle permit and must apply for a new one if it expires. New applications must be submitted in full following the below steps:

  1. Complete the permit application form.
  2. Pass all applicable tests.
  3. Submit all required identification documents.
  4. Pay the permit fee.

California Motorcycle License Renewal Costs

How much does it cost to renew a motorcycle license if an endorsement has been added? The cost to renew a Class C license with a motorcycle endorsement, Class M1 or Class M2 license is $36.

The motorcycle license renewal fee is waived for citizens who are older than 61 years of age. Additional postage and credit card processing fees may be applied to your application.

Last updated on Wednesday, March 4 2020.