California Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to take a motorcycle training course?
When it comes to getting a motorcycle license in CA, if you are under the age of 21, you will be required to complete a motorcycle training course, and thereafter present the certificate at the DMV. Although drivers over the age of 21 are not required to take this course, they are strongly encouraged to do so. For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California
Am I required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle?
Yes, it is law in California to wear a safety helmet while riding and/or operating a motorcycle. Both the driver and his passenger must wear a helmet. This is part of California’s motorcycle endorsement laws.

For more information:How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

Are there times I won’t be allowed to renew registration?
You will be unable to renew your car registration if it is suspended, or if your driving privileges are suspended.

Keep in mind that California does not provide a grace period if you let your car registration expire. For specific information about car registration fees, see California Car Registration Fees and Fee Calculator. For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

Can I have different addresses on my driver license and my vehicle registration?
It is highly suggested that you maintain the same address on all your DMV records. If you need to update both the information on your driver s license, as well as on your car registration, you can do it through the CA DMV website. For more information on how to change your address: How to Handle a Change of Address in California
Can I keep the car insurance I have from my previous state of residence?
No. If you want to be able to register your vehicle in the state of California, you must have it covered by a state-approved CA car insurance agency. Being caught without car insurance will result in hefty fines, possible vehicle impoundment and car registration suspension.

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

Can I renew my commercial drivers license online?
You will receive a renewal notice in the mail notifying you whether or not you have the option to renew online. If so, you can easily renew your California CDL license by visiting the CA DMV Driver License/Identification Card Renewal page. For more information How to Renew a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in California
Can I request a certified driver’s record online?
The state of California only offers two types of driving records: an unofficial copy or an official copy. Unfortunately, official records are not available for purchase online. They can only be obtained by mail or in person at a local DMV office.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

Can I take the DMV written test online?
No, you cannot obtain a drivers permit online. You are required to take any tests in person at a local DMV office. For more information Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California
Can I use my state CDL anywhere in the United States?
Yes, you can. Your commercial driver s license will be acknowledged regardless of what state you drive to and back from. However, drivers must be at least 21 years of age to obtain a CDL that allows them to drive a commercial vehicle between states. For more information: California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application
Can somebody else renew my registration for me?
No, only you can renew your California vehicle registration, not another individual. There are four methods to renew vehicle reigstration: by phone, online, in person or by mail. The methods you are eligible for are printed in the registration renewal notice.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

Do boats need to be registered?
Most boats in California must be registered. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule:

  • Vessels used in California for racing
  • Vessels currently registered by another state, mainly used elsewhere
  • A ship s lifeboat
  • Nonmotorized sailboats, must be eight feet long or less
  • Nonmotorized surfboat with a sail and mast that operator holds upright

For more information: How to Register a Boat or Water Craft in California

Do I need a motorcycle license to ride a scooter or moped?
Yes, drivers who operate a moped in California are required to have Class M motorcycle license. If you operate a motorized scooter, holding any class drivers license will be sufficient. Keep in mind that a motorized scooter does not need to be registered.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

Do I need to attend traffic school if I get a speeding ticket?
Traffic school is not required if you receive traffic fines in California. However, enrolling in a course is highly recommended because completing the class can result in the court dismissing your ticket and removing points from your driving record. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
Do I need to cancel my insurance if I am moving to another state?
Yes. If you are moving from California to another state, you will have to purchase car insurance in the new state and cancel your CA policy. You must also make sure that there are no gaps in your insurance coverage.

For more information:California Car Insurance Regulations

Do I need to file a police report if my license was lost or stolen?
Although it is not required, the state of California recommends that you report your lost drivers license or stolen drivers license to the proper authorities. By doing so, not only will this important notation be made to your record, but it will also reduce the chances of identity theft and/or fraud.

Bring the police report in with you to the DMV and the drivers license replacement fee will be waived.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

Do I need to file a police report if my registration was lost or stolen?
Although it is not necessary, the California Department of Motor Vehicles highly recommends that you do file a police report if your car registration is lost or stolen. For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California
Do I need to return my license plate if I move out of the state?
The state of California does not require drivers to surrender license plates when they are moving to a different state. It’s recommended that you choose the new state you will be moving to from the list above to learn about getting a new:

  • Driver’s License.
  • Vehicle Registration.
  • Auto insurance policy.

For more information: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

Do I need to take a drivers ed course?
Yes, the state of California requires young drivers to complete a drivers ed course or a driver training at either a secondary school or a state-licensed school. The classroom instruction you receive must be made up of a minimum 30 hours or two and a half semester periods.

For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

Do I need to turn in my damaged car title?
Yes, if you have a damaged or mutilated CA car title, then you are required to submit it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. You can do so either by mail or by paying a visit to your local DMV office. The car title is certified proof that a vehicle is yours, therefore it is recommended to eliminate the chances of fraud by turning it over the DMV.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

Do I need to turn in my damaged registration?
Yes, if you have your damaged registration with you, then you should present it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, so you can obtain duplicate car registration.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

Does a motorized scooter need to be registered?
No, a motorized scooter does not need to be registered in the state of California. Motorized scooters also do not need to be insured, although it is recommended in the event of an accident. You also have the option of purchasing an affordable accident coverage policy.

Find more information: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

Does my vehicle qualify for a smog inspection?
Most vehicles in the state of California must undergo and pass a smog inspection when getting car registration. However, there are certain vehicles exempt from this requirement, such as the following:

  • Hybrid vehicles
  • Electric vehicles
  • Vehicles less than four years old
  • Trailers
  • Motorcycles
  • 1975 model year or older gas vehicles
  • 14,001 lbs or more natural gas vehicles
  • 1,4001 lbs or more diesel vehicles

For more information: Vehicle Emissions Testing in California

For more about getting vehicle registration: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

How can I avoid a license suspension if I choose not to insure my vehicle?
You cannot drive a vehicle in California without car insurance. In order to avoid the license suspension associated with not being covered, the CA DMV allows you to return your car registration and license plates if you are planning on canceling your California car insurance policy.

For more information:California Car Insurance Regulations

How can I get a veteran designation on my ID card?
California currently does not offer veteran designation logos when obtaining an identification card. However, discounted IDs are available to those who meet certain income requirements. For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card
How can I obtain a copy of the driver manual?
You can study for the DMV driving test by reviewing the California Driver License Handbook, which is available in various formats and different languages. These include but aren t limited to the following:

  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Farsi
  • Chinese
  • Arabic
  • Spanish
  • English Audio
  • Spanish Audio

For a full listing, visit the CA Department of Motor Vehicles Publications page.

To balance your studying and remember the information, it’s also recommended that you use California DMV Practice Tests.

For more information: California Driver’s License Manual

How can I pay for my traffic or parking ticket?
The California county decides how you will be able to pay your ticket. Most will allow you to pay traffic tickets online, in person, by mail or by phone. To find out the methods accepted by your county, visit your local DMV.

For more information: Pay Traffic Tickets Online in California

How can I renew my drivers license?
There are various ways to apply for drivers license renewal. California offers four different options: by mail, online, in person or by phone.

Online

To renew your drivers license online, you will need to visit the CA DMV Driver License/Identification Renewal page. But, in order to be eligible for online renewal, you must first receive a renewal notice in the mail.

If you renew drivers license online, it may take up to 60 days to receive it in the mail.

In Person

For in-person renewals, visit your local DMV office. You can find one near you by using our DMV locator. Keep in mind that you will need to fill out a Driver License or Identification Card application, as well as submit to a vision test and pay any applicable fees.

By mail

You can submit your renewal request by mail after filling out the California Driver License Renewal by Mail Eligibility Information (DL 410)

Send your application, along with any applicable fees, to the following address:

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

By phone

For phone renewals, you will need to call the number listed on your renewal notice.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

How can I renew my vehicle registration?
The state of California allows you to get car registration renewal in one of four ways: online, by mail, in person or over the phone.

Online

You can renew car registration online by visiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles Registration Renewals webpage.

By Mail

To renew your vehicle registration, send your Application for Title or Registration, along with any required fees to this address:

Vehicle Registration Operations Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 942869 Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

You may also need to send proof of your car insurance and smog inspection. However, if you have any doubts, it is best to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-777-0133.

In Person

When renewing your car registration at a local DMV office, make sure to bring the following documents with you:

  • Your registration renewal notice
  • Your California driver s license
  • Payment for a renewal fee

By Phone

Complete your registration renewal process over the phone by calling the CA DMV at 1-800-921-1117. Have the following items readily available:

  • Your license plate number
  • Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

How can I transfer a car title if I have a lien on it?
If the car title you wish to transfer has a lien on it, you must make sure that the Certificate of Title contains the signature of the lienholder, in addition to that of the seller. When buying or selling a vehicle, you must verify there is no lien holder, or that the lien holder has signed off on the car title.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

How can I transfer my registration to another state?
To transfer your vehicle registration to a different state, you must abide by the registration rules and requirements of where you are moving to. Choose your state of residence from the list above and select the California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle page for more details.

If you are new to California, you must first get auto insurance that complies with CA minimum insurance requirements. Visit California Car Insurance Regulations for more details.

Make an appointment at your nearby DMV office and bring your valid out-of-state vehicle registration certificate, proof of CA insurance and your valid driver’s license.

You can apply for a new driver’s license at the same time.

For more information: California Car Registration Fees and Fee Calculator

How do I apply for a commercial drivers license?
If you are wondering how to get a CDL license, then you will need to be aware of a few, important factors. First, you will need to be at least 18 years of age and have already obtained a commercial instruction permit. In order to get a commercial instruction permit, you will need to schedule your appointment in person. Once there, you will be required to do the following:

  • Fill out a 10 Year History Record Check (DL 939)
  • Fill out a California Commercial Drivers License Application.
  • Present a completed Medical Examination Report (DL 51)
  • Get your picture taken and provide your thumb print.
  • Provide proof of your Social Security Number, date of birth and legal presence in the United States.
  • Pass a required vision test.
  • Pass the traffic laws and signs test for the vehicle in which you will operate.

In order to apply for your standard commercial drivers license, you will be asked to complete the requirements below:

  • Schedule your appointment in person.
  • Pass a pre-trip inspection.
  • Appear at the DMV with the vehicle for the class you wish to drive.
  • Pass a skills or driving test or present a Certificate of Driving Skill.

If you wish to obtain a hazmat endorsement, you will be required to undergo a background check by the Transportation Security Administration.

For more information: California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application

How do I apply for a disabled person parking placard or plates?
Disabled Person Placard

In order to apply for a disabled person or handicap placard, you will need to complete the following:

Send out the application to the following address:

DMV Placard P.O. Box 932345 Sacramento, CA 94232-3450

Disabled Person Plates

In order to apply for disabled person license plates, you will need to complete the following:

  • Submit a filled out Application for Disabled Person Placard or Plates (REG 195). Make sure that your licensed physician has completed and signed the Doctor s Certification portion.
  • Provide proof of car registration and make sure registration payment fees are up to date.
  • Surrender your current plates.

For more information: Information for Disabled Drivers in California

For more about getting vehicle registration: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

How do I apply for a drivers license?
If you are applying for a standard, non-commercial drivers license in California, you will be required to complete the following at your local DMV office:

  • Fill out a Drivers License application.
  • Provide your thumb print and have a photo taken.
  • Verify your legal status in the country, along with your date of birth.
  • Provide your complete name and your Social Security number.
  • Pass a vision test.
  • Pass a traffic laws and signs test.
  • Pay any necessary fees.

For those individuals who have a drivers license from a different state and are establishing new residency in California, the road skills test will be waived. However, if you recently moved to the United States, then you will be required to take the driving test.

If you are required to take a driving test, you will need to present proof of financial responsibility in the form of your car insurance.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

How do I apply for a learner’s permit?
For drivers under the age of 18, California issues what is known as a provisional drivers license, also known as a drivers permit. State law requires drivers to obtain a California drivers permit before they are allowed to apply for a standard drivers license. To do so, you will be required to complete the following:

  • Take a written knowledge exam.
  • Present proof of driver education completion.
  • Present proof of your date of birth.
  • Present proof of your legal status in the United States.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Provide your fingerprint.
  • Provide proof of your complete name and proof of Social Security number.
  • Fill out a Driver License or Identification Application and include your parents signature.
  • Pay any required fees.

Once you have reached the age of 16 and held your instruction permit for six months, you will then have the opportunity to take your road skills test. For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

How do I apply for a motorcycle license?
In order to apply for a motorcycle license in the state of California, you need to be at least 16 years of age and have held your permit for six months. If you are under the age of 18, you will also need to show completion of drivers ed, along with completion of a motorcycle training course.

For those drivers who are over the age of 18, the following requirements must be met:

  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Pass the written exam.
  • Pass a skills test (if you do not have a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training)
  • Have your photo taken, along with your thumb print.
  • Complete a Drivers License Application.
  • Pay any applicable fees.

Additionally, drivers without a CA drivers license will need to present proof of legal status in the country, date of birth, complete name and Social Security Number.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

How do I change my address on my car insurance?
When address changing with your car insurance, it is advised that you contact your insurance company directly. Once you are in touch with a customer service agent, they will be able to guide you through the step-by-step process. Make sure to have both your old and new addresses available upon request.

For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

How do I change my address on my car registration?
You can complete a CA DMV car registration address change either online or by mail; an in-person DMV visit is not necessary. Quickly update your records by visiting the CA DMV Change of Address page and follow the step-by-step instructions.

You will need your most current registration card, your old address, your new residential address and the name of your leasing company, if it applies.

If you feel more comfortable completing your California “change my address” request by mail, you can do so by filling out Notice of Change of Address form from the CA DMV website. Thereafter make sure to mail it to the address below:

DMV Change of Address P.O. Box 942859 Sacramento, CA 94259-0001

To learn more, visit the Change Your Address page.

How do I change my address on my commercial drivers license?
To complete a CA CDL address change, you will need to follow the same guidelines for a standard driver s license. You will have the option to change your address online, by mail or in person.

Online

For your convenience, California offers an online service to update your address. For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

In person

You can also make a trip to your local DMV office to process this change.

By mail

If you feel more comfortable completing your California “change my address” request by mail, you can do so by filling out Notice of Change of Address form from the CA DMV website. Thereafter make sure to mail it to the address below:

DMV Change of Address P.O. Box 942859 Sacramento, CA 94259-0001

For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

How do I change my address on my drivers license?
California offers an easy, online service for a motor vehicle change of address on your driver s license. You can begin the process by visiting the CA DMV Change of Address page.

However, in order to utilize this service, you must have:

  • A California drivers license or ID card
  • A Social Security Number
  • An address in the United States

If you would prefer to complete your change of address by mail, simply fill out the Notice of Change of Address form from the CA DMV website. Then send it to the following address:

DMV Change of Address P.O. Box 942859 Sacramento, CA 94259-0001

You can also change your address at any local DMV office. Find one near you by using our DMV locator. It is important to note, however, that a new drivers license will not be mailed to you when changing address. For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

How do I change my address on my ID card?
The process to complete an ID card address change is the same as the one you would follow for a driver s license.

To get started, you can take advantage of an easy, online service for address changing on your identification card. Simply visit the CA DMV Change of Address page.

However, in order to utilize this service, you must have:

  • A California drivers license or ID card
  • A Social Security Number
  • An address in the United States

If you would prefer to complete your change of address by mail, fill out the Notice of Change of Address form from the CA DMV website. Then send it to the following address:

DMV Change of Address P.O. Box 942859 Sacramento, CA 94259-0001

You can also change your address at any local DMV office. Find one near you by using our DMV locator. It is important to note, however, that a new ID card will not be mailed to you when changing address. For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

How do I change my name on my car insurance?
In order to complete any name change forms with your car insurance, you will need to contact your insurance company directly. They will most likely ask you to submit proof of official name change documents in the form of a marriage certificate, court order or divorce decree. Once you have done so, the steps to change name credentials should be fairly simple.
How do I change my name on my car registration?
California allows drivers to make a name changing request either in person or by mail; online is currently not an available option. Whether you decide to complete the process at a nearby office or by mail, you will need to show proof of the following documents:

  • Your car title (make sure to add your new name at the top)
  • A filled out Statement of Facts (Section F will allow you to add your new name)

To mail in your documents, send them to:

Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Registration Operations P.O. Box 942869 Sacramento, CA 94269

If you need further clarification or want to make sure you have the correct items, contact the CA DMV 1-800-777-0133. You may also use our DMV locator for your convenience.

How do I change my name on my driver’s license?
The process for a CA name change request is done in person at a DMV office. You will need to:

  • Fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application Form DL 44 or DL 44C.
  • Get a picture taken.
  • Provide your thumb print.
  • Show proof of name change, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree or other court-approved document.
  • Be ready to make payment for an ID fee.

Prior to changing your name with the DMV, you will first need to update your records with the Social Security Administration. That is because the DMV double-checks your new name with the SSA before proceeding with your request.

How do I change my name on my ID card?
The process to request a name change on your ID card with the DMV is the same as modifying the name on your driver s license. You will need to make a physical appointment at a nearby office to get started. Upon arrival, a driver s license agent will ask you to present the following items:

  • A completed Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL 44 or DL 44C)
  • Get your picture taken.
  • Provide your thumb print.
  • Provide proof of name change, such as a marriage license, divorce decree or other court-approved document.
  • Be ready to make payment for an ID fee.

Keep in mind that the DMV will be unable to process your request unless you have petitioned for a name change with the Social Security Administration first.

How do I contact the Social Security Administration for my name change?
When it comes to a California legal name change with the Social Security Administration, you can contact one of their nearby offices. By entering your ZIP code on their website, you will easily obtain information of their offices in your area. You can also contact the Social Security Administration by phone at their toll-free number 1-800-772-1213.

After you change your name with the SSA, you must perform a DMV name change.

How do I file a complaint when I believe someone has illegally accessed my DMV record?
If somebody has illegally obtained your DMV driving record, make sure to notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles by filling out the Instructions for Filing a Misuse Complaint form.

Thereafter, mail it to the appropriate address that applies to your individual case. The form itself contains various addresses; find the one that is best suited for the kind of alleged misuse you would like to report.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

How do I file a police report if my car registration was stolen?
You can file a police report by contacting your local authorities and notifying them when your car registration is lost or stolen. You can also schedule to speak to an officer in person about your stolen car registration if you feel more comfortable doing so. This will help reduce the chances of identity theft and/or fraud.

Bring the police report in with you to the DMV office to see about getting the replacement fee waived.

For more information:How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

How do I file a police report if my car title was stolen?
You can easily file a police report by contacting your local authorities and notifying them of the incident. By doing so, they will be able to have a report of your stolen car title in their system, which you can then obtain a copy of to submit to the DMV. Additionally, reporting a stolen car title will help reduce your chances of fraud and identity theft.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

How do I get a copy of my driving record?
Online

You can request a driving record online. Be aware that ordering an online driving record will provide you with an unofficial copy. An official copy is only obtained by mail or in person.

By Mail

If you wish to make your request by mail, you can fill out the Request For Your Own Driver License Information Record and mail it to the below address:

Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 944247, MS G199 Sacramento, CA 94244-2470

In Person

You may also obtain your California driving record in person. Make sure to have the following with you:

For more information about driving records: Your California Driving Record

How do I get a duplicate ID card?
If your ID card was lost or stolen, you will easily be able to replace it by visiting a local DMV office. Once there, you will need to fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application form DL 44 or DL 44C.

Your thumb print and picture will also be taken. To finalize the process, you will be asked to pay the required CA replace ID card fee of $28 before a new card can be issued to you.

For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card

How do I get a hardship license?
In the state of California, you can only obtain a hardship license, also known as a restricted license, when your drivers license suspension is the result of driving under the influence or lack of car insurance.

Therefore, if you have a DUI, you will need to first take part in a DUI First Offender program. After your 30-day suspension period, you will need to do the following to be eligible for a restricted license:

  • Have your program provider contact the DMV and file a Proof of Enrollment Certificate.
  • File Proof of Financial Responsibility.
  • Pay the required reissue fee.
  • Ask for a “To/From/During Course of Employment and DUI Program” restriction.

If your license was suspended due to failure to obtain vehicle insurance, you may be eligible to request a restricted license by doing the following:

  • Provide your DMV with Proof of Financial Responsibility.
  • Pay the required Financial Responsibility fee and reissuance fee.

Contact a DUI attorney to help you through the process.

For more informationSuspended License Information for California

How do I get a replacement license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
Military personnel are also required to submit a replacement application in person at their local DMV office. You will need to complete all the proper steps for a CA drivers license replacement, including payment for the appropriate fee and re-taking a new drivers license photo. When it comes to verifying your identity, your military ID card will suffice.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I get a traffic ticket dismissed?
Getting California traffic ticket fines dismissed can be done in one of two ways. You can either hire a ticket attorney and have him/her fight the charges for possible dismissal, or you can enroll in traffic school and submit your certificate of completion to the CA DMV. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
How do I know if my license was mailed after it has been restored?
The best way to find out if your drivers license has been mailed out is by contacting the California Department of Motor Vehicles directly. You can do so by calling their toll-free number at 1-800-777-0133. Their regular operating hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can also make an in-person visit to one of their offices. Find a location near you using our DMV locator.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

How do I obtain a copy of someone else’s driving record?
It is the discretion of the California Department of Motor Vehicles to determine who can receive access to another drivers record. However, in order to verify if said information will be granted to you, you can start by sending your request along with Request For Record Information application to the address below:

Department of Motor Vehicles Public Operations Unit G199 P.O. Box 944247 Sacramento, CA 94244-2470

Requests by Employer

If you would like to receive a copy of your potential employee s driving record from the National Driver Register Records, send a notarized Request for NDR Record Check (Form INF 1301 A) to the aforementioned address. Make sure to also include the $5 fee in the form of a check or money order.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

How do I obtain a duplicate car registration?
To replace lost car registration or stolen car registration, then you will have to apply for a replacement in person. The process is rather simple and will only require you to complete the following steps:

If you prefer to send this documentation by mail, you can do so to the below address:

Department of Motor Vehicles Registration Operations PO Box 942869 Sacramento, California 94269-0001

If you need to obtain replacement license plates, you can send any remaining plates to this address as well.

For more information:How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

How do I obtain a duplicate car title?
The state of California offers two options for obtaining a car title replacement: either in person or by mail.

In person

If you wish to get a duplicate car title at your local DMV office, make sure to bring the following:

By mail

Send the aforementioned application to the address below:

Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Registration Operations P.O. Box 942869 Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

How do I obtain a duplicate license?
In order to replace license credentials in the state of California, you will need to make an in-person visit to a nearby DMV office to begin the process. Once there, you will need to present the following:

  • A filled out Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL 44 or DL 44C).
  • Have a picture of yourself taken
  • Provide your thumbprint
  • Method of payment for the replacement fee

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I obtain a salvaged car title?
In the state of California, a salvage vehicle has no title, therefore you will need to swap your current car title for a Salvage Certificate instead. To do so, make an appointment at your local California DMV office to begin the proper steps for transfer of title.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

How do I obtain car registration?
The process to register your vehicle depends on whether your car was bought from a dealership, through a private party or if you recently moved to California. Below we explore the different scenarios for DMV car registration.

Car Purchased from a Dealership

If you bought your car from a dealership, then you can rest easy knowing that they will take care of all the required registration paperwork for you. As you await your permanent registration card in the mail, you will be issued a temporary certificate to use in the meantime.

Car Purchased from a Private Party

If you bought your car from a private individual, then you will be required to visit your local DMV and submit the following registration paperwork:

  • Your original car title with odometer mileage listed
  • A form of identification, such as your driver s license
  • Payment for any required fees
  • A valid smog certificate, which should be handed to you from the seller. However, this document will not be necessary if the seller recently renewed the car registration within the past 90 days.

Also review the following related pages:

New Residents of California

If you recently moved to California, you will need to present the following documentation to register your vehicle:

Keep in mind that you will have 20 days to register your vehicle after establishing new residency.

Military Personnel

You can register your vehicle in the state you are currently stationed in, then transfer it to California once you get back home.

For more information: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

How do I reinstate after a revocation as a Habitual Traffic Offender?
When a driver already has his or her driving privileges suspended or revoked, continuing to drive and accumulating points on his or her driving record will result in that driver being designated a Habitual Traffic Offender. His or her license may be revoked for up to three years. The driver may also face imprisonment in the county jail and further fines.

The driver s license will not be reinstated until proof of financial responsibility and proof that the driver has completed a state-approved DUI program.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

How do I reinstate my license if I refused to submit a breath/urine/blood test?
Reinstating your driving license after refusing a chemical test is not very different from the typical reinstatement process for driving under the influence in California. You will have to:

  • Pay off traffic fines.
  • Serve the required jail or community service time.
  • Enroll in a mandatory DUI program.
  • Maintain an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
  • Complete your suspension period.
  • File for SR 22 insurance or prove financial responsibility to the CA Department of Motor Vehicles

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

How do I reinstate my suspended license?
The guidelines you need to follow in order to get your drivers license reinstated depends on why it was suspended. In every case, however, you will be required to pay a reissue fee and fulfill any suspension period that has been set forth. Below are a few examples of what to expect for different scenarios:

DUI suspension

  • Satisfy suspension period.
  • Pay reissue fee and any court fines.
  • File Proof Of Financial Responsibility.
  • Complete required jail time, if applicable.

Negligent operator suspension (accumulation of points)

  • Pay reissue fee and any court fines.
  • File Proof of Financial Responsibility.
  • Fulfill negligent operator probation without accumulating any additional violations.

Lack of car insurance suspension

  • Satisfy suspension period.
  • Pay reissue fee.
  • File Proof of Financial Responsibility.

For more information Suspended License Information for California

How do I remove points from my driver’s license?
In order to remove points from your driving license, you will have to enroll in traffic school. By paying CA traffic fines, passing a traffic class and presenting the certificate of completion to the DMV, you will be able to remove some of your most recent points. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
How do I renew my driving permit?
The state of California requires drivers with an expired permit for driving to re-apply all over again. As a result, you will be asked to:

  • Present proof of full name, Social Security Number, legal presence and birth date.
  • Pass the written exam and vision test.
  • Pay the applicable fee.

Furthermore, if you are under the age of 18, your parents or legal guardian will need to provide their signature on the learners permit application.

For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

How do I renew my ID card?
The process to renew your California DMV ID card is very similar to applying for the first time. For example, an in-person visit to the local DMV office will be required to renew your ID card. However, you do not need to present verification of your birth date, legal presence in the United States or Social Security Number. Arrive with your $28 renewal fee and be ready to fill out the appropriate application.

For more information How to Apply for a California Identification Card

How do I renew my license if I am in the military and stationed elsewhere?
If you happen to be stationed in a different state or overseas when your drivers license expires, then you will have the option to request a license extension, which will be good for an additional year.

It is highly suggested that you send your extension request by mail prior to having an expired drivers license. Make sure to include the following information in your letter:

  • Your license number
  • Your full name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your California address
  • Your out-of-state address

For more information:How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

How do I renew my medical report for a commercial license?
Every two years, in order to maintain your license to drive commercial, you will be required to resubmit your medical certification. You can do so by asking your doctor or physician to fill out a new Medical Examination Report (DL 51) for you and submitting it to the DMV.

For more information: Commercial Driver s License

How do I renew my motorcycle license?
California offers the option to renew motorcycle credentials by mail, in person or online.

By Mail

To renew your motorcycle license by mail, there are certain requirements you must first meet. For example, you cannot have your license expiring within the next 60 days nor will you be allowed to renew if your license is suspended.

After filling out the appropriate application, mail your form along with any applicable fees to the below address:

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

In person

When renewing your motorcycle license in person at a local DMV office, make sure to present the appropriate application and have payment ready for any fees.

Online

To renew online, simply visit the Driver License / Identification Card Renewal page to get started. Only individuals who receive a renewal notice in the mail will have the option to renew online.

For more information: How to Renew/Replace a Motorcycle License in California

How do I replace my license if I am a non-U.S. citizen?
If you are a non-United States citizen, you will be required to present proof of the following when applying for a drivers license copy:

  • Proof of legal status in the country
  • Proof of date of birth

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I replace my license if I lost it out of state?
The California DMV does not allow drivers to replace DMV drivers license credentials when they are outside the state. If you are out of state and lose your license, you will have to wait until you get back home to apply for a replacement.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

How do I transfer my car title between states?
In terms of how to transfer car title to a different state you are moving to, you will need to get in contact with your new state. Each Department of Motor Vehicles features their own set of procedures and requirements for transfer.

For more information California Cross-State Transfer of Title

How do I transfer my car title if I lost the original?
If you recently lost your car title, then you will need to obtain a duplicate copy before selling your vehicle. To begin the process, simply fill out an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) and visit your local DMV location.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

How do I transfer my car title?
If you are selling a vehicle and therefore transferring your California car title, you will need to make sure you have the following completed first:

For more information Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

How do I transfer the title of my RV?
In order to transfer title documentation of an RV, you will need to follow the same standard titling process as required by the state of California. You must follow the below steps:

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

How does a military member obtain a motorcycle license?
In order for a military member to apply for a motorcycle license, you must fulfill the same requirements as other non-military individuals.

If you are currently stationed outside of California, you are not required to renew your motorcycle license upon its expiration date. Instead, you will have up to 30 days to renew upon returning to your home state. You will need to set an appointment in person at a local DMV office to get everything underway.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

How does the DMV check my vision?
The DMV will check your vision on-site when you are in the process of applying for drivers license or renewing it. In order to pass the vision test, you must be able to see 20/40 with both eyes together, regardless of whether or not you are wearing contact lenses.

If you fail the vision test, you will be asked to see a vision specialist. Said specialist can then fill out a Report of Vision Examination and submit it to the DMV. As long as your vision condition does not affect your ability to drive, you may still be able to obtain a limited term or temporary license.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

How long do I need my learners permit before I can get my drivers license?
Before applying for your standard drivers license, California requires individuals to have an instruction permit. They must hold this CA learning permit for at least six months.

For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

How long does it take to receive my replacement car title after ordering online?
Currently, the state of California does not allow drivers to order a car title copy – also known as a duplicate – online. To order a replacement car title, make an appointment at your local DMV office, bring your driver’s license and complete an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227).

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

How long will I have a suspended license for not taking a chemical test?
Your CA suspended drivers license period for not taking a chemical test is determined as follows:

  • If it is your first offense, you will receive a one-year suspension.
  • If it is your second offense, you will receive a two-year suspension.
  • If it is your third offense, you will receive a three-year suspension.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

How long will it take to get my new ID card?
When you apply for ID card credentials, it takes roughly 60 days to receive your ID card in the mail. If more than 60 days have passed since you applied, you are advised to call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 to find out the status of your card. For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card
How many points can I get on my driving record before my driver’s license is suspended?
In the state of California, if you accumulate four points within a 12 month period, your driver s license will be suspended. Points can be removed from your record by completing a traffic school course.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

How many times can I attend a traffic school course to remove points from my driving record?
If you are eligible to attend a California traffic school program, either to reduce the number of points on your record or to dismiss your ticket, you will only be able to complete the course once every 18 months. For more information, contact the CA DMV at 1-800-777-0133.

For more information:Your California Driving Record

How much does it cost to change my name on my car registration?
In California, it is free to change your name on your car registration, as long as you are not requesting a replacement. If you request a car registration replacement, you will have to pay a fee up to $19. The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, credit cards and debits cards.
How much does it cost to change my name on my car title?
In California, it is free to change your name on your car title, as long as you are not requesting a replacement. A replacement car title costs $19. The fee can be paid with cash, check, money order, credit card or debit card.
How much does it cost to change my name with the DMV?
In California, it is free to change your name on DMV records, such as:

  • Your drivers license
  • Your ID card
  • Your car registration
  • Your car title
How soon can I renew my driver’s license?
You can process your California drivers license renewal request up to six months before the expiration date. You then have three months after the expiration date to renew, considering that it is illegal to drive without a valid drivers license.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

If a family member dies and leaves his or her car to me, how do I switch over the title?
In transferring car title of the deceased, you will need to visit your local DMV office and present their title, along with other pertinent information. If you are the heir of the deceased, you will need to fill out an Affidavit for Transfer Without Probate – California Titled Vehicle or Vessels Only (REG 5). For further clarification, it is best to contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-777-0133.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

If I do not renew on time, will there be an additional fee?
You will have to process the Application for Title or Registration. The CA DMV does not provide a grace period after the expiration date printed on your vehicle registration certificate.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

If I file a police report, will my replacement fee be waived?
Yes, the fee will be waived to replace lost drivers license or stolen drivers license documentation if you provide a police report. You must file a report with the police after you discover the driving license is missing.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

If I have been in an accident, what property damage do I have to report?
In the state of California, any accident that results in property damage exceeding $750 must be reported to local authorities. As much detail as possible should be provided in the report, including vehicle information and the parts of the cars that took damage.

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

If I live outside of the state for half the year, am I still required to have car insurance?
Yes. California car insurance is required of every CA resident. It does not matter how much time you spend out-of-state. As long as you are considered a California resident, you must have state-approved coverage.

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

If I lost my traffic or parking ticket, how can I find the information again?
Not every California county will allow you to pay CA traffic fines or check traffic ticket information online. If you live in a county that does not have this option, you must contact the county office directly.

For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California

If I own multiple vehicles, am I required to have them all insured?
Financial responsibility (commonly known as insurance) is required on all vehicles operated or parked on California roadways. Therefore, if you own multiple vehicles, all of them must have auto insurance coverage. However, many CA insurance companies offer discounts for insuring more than one vehicle on the same insurance policy. You are eligible for discounts if all your vehicles are insured by the same company, are under the same name and are currently used by the policyholder or family members.

Keep in mind that terms and benefits offered by insurance companies vary, so make sure to check with your car insurance provider first.

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

If I’m out of state and lost my ID, how can I get a new one?
If you lost your ID while traveling out of the state, you will need to wait until you are back home in order to replace your ID. Once you have returned home, you can simply visit your local DMV office, fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application form and pay the $28 fee to obtain a California identification card replacement.

Be aware that you may also be asked to have your picture and thumbprint taken.

For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card

If my driver’s license was confiscated at the time of my DUI/DWI arrest, how do I get it back?
If your driving license was confiscated at the time of your DWI arrest, you can expect the police officer or the California Department of Motor Vehicles to issue an Order of Suspension, and possibly, a temporary driving license.

In the event you think that the suspension is not justified, you have the option of requesting an administrative hearing within 10 days of the moment you get the Order of Suspension.

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

If my drivers license has been lost or stolen, how can I get it flagged with the DMV?
The DMV might flag your license number if another driver is pulled over by the police and presents your driving license as your own. Also, a DMV clerk might suggest that you should apply for a duplicate license. However, to be on the safe side, immediately report your driver s license as lost or stolen at your nearest CA DMV. For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card
Is there a different process I must follow if I lost personalized plates?
No, the process to replace personalized plates is the same to replace standard license plates. You will need to present the following:

For more information:How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

Is there a minimum age I have to be to get a commercial drivers license?
Yes, to obtain a commercial driver s license permit, you must be at least 18 years of age. If you wish to operate a commercial vehicle with a hazardous materials endorsement, or if you intend to drive it across state lines, then you must be 21 or older. For more information: California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application
Is there an age limit to renew your license?
No, there is no age limit for CA drivers license renewal, as long as you meet the standard requirements.

When you are older than 65, you will at some point in time receive a renewal notice requesting you to renew your drivers license in person. You will be required to take a vision test, and in some situations a written drivers test.

For tips on how to study for the written DMV test, review the Beginner Drivers in California

If you must renew your drivers license in person, be sure to book an appointment beforehand at your local DMV office.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

Should I carry the registration on me or in the car?
Yes, drivers must always keep a copy of the vehicle registration in the dashboard. When pulled over by law enforcement, you will be asked to provide proof of vehicle registration. If you cannot provide your car registration document, you risk receiving a ticket.

For more information on tickets, visit Overview of California Traffic Ticket and other Traffic Violation Issues

For more information: California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

What address will my replacement license be mailed to?
Your duplicate drivers license will be mailed to whichever address you currently have on file with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, if you have recently moved, make sure to update the DMV with your new residential address.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

What are requirements for seniors to renew a driving license?
Senior drivers are required to renew their California driving license in person. You can stay prepared by making sure to bring the renewal notice you received in the mail, as well as your most recent prescription if you wear glasses. To save time, schedule your appointment ahead of time online or by calling 1-800-777-0133.

Keep in mind that your renewal notice will be sent to the address that is on file, so if you recently moved, you will need to contact the DMV with your new residence information. For more information How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

What are some reasons that may require me to transfer my car title?
The most common reasons for transferring car title documentation include:

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

What are some violations that may constitute in a suspended license?
You can have a California suspended drivers license due to various reasons, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to pay a traffic violation or appear in court for it
  • Lack of car insurance
  • A physical or mental ailment that makes you an unfit and unsafe driver
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

For more infromation: Suspended License Information for California

What are the age restrictions to ride a motorcycle?
If you are under the age of 18, you must obtain a motorcycle learners permit. You must hold this permit for at least six months before you eligible to take the motorcycle skills test.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

What are the available commercial license endorsements?
California allows drivers to apply for one of five different commercial endorsements:

  • P Passenger
  • S School buses
  • N Tank Vehicle
  • H Hazardous Materials
  • T Double/Triple Trailers

To get the proper endorsement on your driving license, you will need to bring proof of insurance, your permit and the vehicle in which you wish to drive. To apply for a CDL license, an in-person appointment at a local DMV office will be necessary.

For more information California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application

What are the consequences of driving with a suspended license?
If you drive with a suspended driving license and are caught, you may be arrested. In addition to receiving fines, possible jail time and have more time added onto your suspension term. Therefore, it is best to abide by the rules and requirements of your suspension period to avoid any unwanted situation.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

What are the different types of driving records?
If you are checking driving record details, the state of California will allow you to obtain it in one of two ways:

  • An unofficial copy You can obtain this version online.
  • An official copy You can obtain this version by mail or in person.

California also allows you to obtain a copy of your record or another driver s through the National Driver Register Records, which is a national database of drivers information mainly of those who have been convicted of serious offenses.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

What are the fees associated with an ID card?
If you are a senior citizen, your CA ID card application fee will be waived. However, for a standard ID card whether you are renewing, replacing or obtaining an original, the fee is $28.

For a reduced-fee ID card (available to those who meet certain income requirements), the fee is $8. For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card

What are the fees for a duplicate drivers license?
The fee is $27 to replace the following types of drivers licenses:

  • Class C
  • Class M1/M2
  • Noncommercial Class A or B

The CA DMV accepts cash, personal checks, money orders and ATM/Debit cards.

Keep in mind that fees may vary.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

What are the learners permit restrictions during my first year?
The restrictions for driving with a California learning permit are as follows:

  • During the first twelve months of driving with your permit, if you are transporting passengers under the age of 20 and driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., you must have a 25-year-old licensed driver accompany you.
  • You cannot be employed to drive a vehicle if you are under 18.

Some exceptions do apply to these restrictions. For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

What are the medical certifications required to obtain a CDL?
The state of California requires CDL license drivers to present a Medical Examiner s Certificate completed by a licensed doctor in the United States. The physician may be a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.), a licensed physician assistant (P.A.), a chiropractor or an advance practice registered nurse. For more information: California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application
What are the most common reasons why I would need to replace my registration?
A California car registration copy is usually necessary in the following incidents:

  • Your document was lost or stolen
  • Your document was mutilated or destroyed

For more information:How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

What are the penalties for getting a traffic ticket with a driver’s permit?
The state of California is very strict with drivers who are 21 or younger. If drivers with a learners permit commit any of the following violations and are caught by a law enforcement official, the penalties will include a suspension of driving privileges and traffic fines:

  • Not appearing in court after receiving a traffic ticket
  • Not paying CA traffic ticket fines
  • Three at-fault collisions and/or convictions in 12 months
  • Alcohol or drug use convictions
  • Habitual truant convictions, if you are between 13 and 18 years old
  • Fleeing an officer
  • Driving under the influence
  • Assaulting a driver
  • Committing a misdemeanor or felony
  • Driving recklessly
  • Hitting and running
  • Speeding

For more information: Overview of California Traffic Ticket and other Traffic Violation Issues

What are the penalties of being convicted of driving under the influence?
The punishments associated with DWI or DUI in California vary based on the number of the offense and the age of the offender.

If you are under the age of 21, you face:

If you are a CDL driver, you face:

  • A one-year drivers license suspension for your first offense.
  • A permanent disqualification for any subsequent offense within 10 years.

Drivers 21 or over face the following penalties for DUI:

  • 30-day to four-year drivers license suspension, which will depend on the number of the violation (first to fourth)
  • From four days to 16 months in jail, which will depend on the number of the violation (first to fourth)
  • From less than $1,000 to $18,000 in fines, which will depend on the number of the violation (first to fourth)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Enrollment in a court-ordered DUI program
  • $125 license reissuance fee
  • SR 22 insurance filing

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

What are the reinstatement fees I will have to pay for a suspended license?
Your required reinstatement fees will depend on the type of CA drivers license suspension you have. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has outlined some reissue fees as follows:

  • $125 Administration Per Se fee (if 21 and older)
  • $20 Removal of license restriction
  • $55 Reissue fee
  • $24 Drug suspension
  • $250 Financial Responsibility Penalty fee

Keep in mind that fees may vary.

The CA DMV accepts cash, personal checks, money orders and ATM/Debit cards as methods of payment.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

What are the required fees for my vehicle registration?
The car registration fee for your vehicle depends on several factors:

  • Vehicle weight
  • Vehicle type
  • Fuel emissions
  • County tax
  • State tax

The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers a convenient Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator that will help you determine the correct price.

The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, personal checks, money order and debit cards.

Online and over-the-phone transactions with the DMV accept debit and credit cards.

By mail services are finalized with a personal check or money order.

For more information: California Car Registration Fees and Fee Calculator

What are the required fees to get a replacement car title?
The fees depend on the type of vehicle you have and its weight. However, in general, the duplicate title fee is $19. The CA DMV accepts cash, personal checks, money order and debit/ATM cards.

Be sure to make an appointment at your nearby DMV office before going over.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

What are the required fees to get replacement registration?
The California car registration replacement fee is $19. The DMV accepts the following forms of payment in CA:

  • Cash
  • Personal checks
  • Money orders
  • ATM/Debit cards

It’s recommended to make an appointment at your DMV office before heading over.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

What are the required fees to renew my registration?
Your DMV car registration fees will depend on a couple of factors, including the weight of your vehicle and its model year. To have an accurate estimate of the cost, use the convenient Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator on the CA DMV website. The CA DMV accepts cash, personal checks, money orders and debit cards. Credit cards cannot be processed. For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California
What are the requirements to operate a three-wheel motorcycle?
Drivers who wish to operate a three-wheel motorcycle are required to obtain a Class C driver license. Additionally, the motorcycle must be registered. For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California
What are the suspensions eligible for a hardship license?
The state of California allows those drivers to apply for a restricted license if they have a suspended driving license as the result of either:

You may want to contact a DUI attorney as well.

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

What do I need to do to get my driver’s license if I fail the driving test?
The state of CA grants individuals three chances to pass the DMV road skills test. If you fail the first time, you may schedule a second test at your earliest convenience. In the event that you fail all three times, you will be required to maintain your learner’s permit for an extended period of time. To be better prepared, it is advised that you enroll in drivers ed courses.

Visit the Beginner Drivers in California page for more information on how to prepare for the DMV drivers exam.For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

What documents do I need to get a learner’s permit?
In order to complete your California drivers permit application, you will need to present:

  • Proof of your date of birth
  • Proof of your legal presence in the U.S.
  • Proof of your full name
  • A drivers education completion certificate

If you are over 17 and a half years of age, your drivers ed completion will not be necessary. For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

What documents do I need to get a motorcycle license?
If you do not currently have a California drivers license in your possession, then you will be required to present the following when applying for a motorcycle driving license:

  • Proof of legal presence in the United States.
  • Proof of date of birth.
  • Proof of Social Security Number.
  • Verification of full name.

You will also be asked to complete a drivers license application.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

What documents do I need to get my drivers license?
To obtain your original CA driving license, you will need to present proof of Social Security Number, legal status in the U.S. and date of birth. For example, acceptable documents can be an original or certified copy of the following:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • United States Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Employment Authorization Card
  • United States Passport
  • United States Certificate of Birth Abroad
  • United States Military ID card
  • Canadian Passport/Birth Certificate
  • United States Passport Card
  • Refugee Travel Document
  • Social Security Card
  • Medicare Card

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

What documents do I need to present for a replacement car title?
To replace a car title, bring in your current CA drivers license or other valid proof of identification. You will be also be asked to submit a completed Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227). For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California
What documents do I need to present for proof of residency?
California is one of the states that does not require proof of address changing when you move. For example, it will be unnecessary to present a utility bill or a W-2 form containing your new residence. Instead, providing your new address should suffice. That s because they will already have information in their system verifying your identity.

Furthermore, in order to change your address online, you must be a certified user with the DMV. However, if you would like further clarification, contact the CA DMV at their toll-free number 1-800-777-0133.

For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California.

What documents do I need to present if I am a non-U.S. citizen changing address?
If you are a non-U.S. citizen and have a temporary California drivers license, you will need to provide an updated birth date and legal presence documents. These last documents must include your new address and be issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California

What documents do I need to present to get a replacement car registration?
Upon replacing car registration, you will need to submit an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) and your damaged registration card, if you have it with you.

If your registration card was lost or stolen, be sure to report it to the police. Bring the police report with you to the DMV office, as well as the following documents:

  • One proof of identity:
    • Drivers license
    • Birth certificate
  • One proof of ownership:
    • Car title
    • Bill of sale
  • One proof of legal presence (non-U.S. citizens)
    • Green Card a.k.a. I-551 Form
    • I-551 stamp on passport

Also bring in cash, personal check, money order or debit card to pay for the registration replacement fee.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

What documents do I need to present to get new registration?
In most cases, to get car registration in California, you will need to submit the following documentation:

For more information:California Vehicle Registration – How to Register your Vehicle

What documents do I need to present to renew my car registration?
The documents you need to submit depend on the method in which you are renewing car registration. To be on the safe side, it is strongly advised that you have the following with you:

  • Proof of car insurance
  • Your California driver s license
  • Your registration renewal notice
  • Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Payment for the renewal fee

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

What documents do I need to present to renew my drivers license?
If renewing your drivers license credentials in person, you will need to complete a Driver License or Identification Card application. The drivers license agent will give this to you to fill out. Then, bring in your current driver’s license and cash, personal check, money order or debit card to pay for the $33 renewal fee.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you will need to present proof of the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Legal presence in the United States

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

What documents do I need to transfer my car title?
When selling your vehicle, you will need to transfer car title to the new owner. Make sure that both your signature and that of the new buyer s is featured on the document.

If you need to double-check the odometer mileage of your vehicle, then you will also need to submit a Vehicle Vessel Transfer Form. If not, you can submit a Bill of Sale (REG 135) instead and include description details of your vehicle, including but not limited to the model, year, selling price and license plate number.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

What documents will I need to present to replace my drivers license?
The California Department of Motor Vehicles will verify your personal information, including your Social Security Number, when you apply for a drivers license replacement. You will also be required to complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DL 44 or DL 44C), which will be provided at the DMV office.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

What exams do I need to pass to get a motorcycle license?
The exams you need to pass depends on your age at the time of applying for a California motorcycle endorsement. Overall, all soon-to-be motorcycle drivers must pass both a vision test, a written exam and a skill test (if they do not have a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training). However, if you are under 18, you must also complete drivers ed and a motorcycle safety training course.

For more information: How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in California

What forms must I fill out for a duplicate car title?
To apply for a duplicate car title, the CA DMV requires you to fill out the Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227). Also be sure to bring in your valid driver’s license.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

What happens if I don’t pay for my traffic ticket from another state?
If you get a traffic ticket in another state, it will be treated as if it were received in your home state. Therefore, failure to pay an out-of-state traffic ticket in the state of California may result in points being added to your driving record or even a suspension on your driving license. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
What happens if I get traffic ticket fines and I have a CDL?
Even if you receive traffic ticket fines when you are driving your own car, a CDL driver is required to notify his/her employer within 30 days of conviction. Punishments will vary based on the type of offense.

If you receive two convictions related to any one of the following driving violations within a period of three years, your CDL will be suspended for 60 days. The suspension period is 120 days if the number of convictions in three years is three or more:

  • Driving recklessly
  • Following too closely
  • Changing lanes improperly
  • Driving a commercial vehicle without the right CDL license or endorsement
  • Driving 15 miles per hour faster than the speed limit

If it is a first offense of one of the following violations, the result is a one-year CDL suspension:

  • DUI
  • Refusing a chemical test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended, revoked or canceled license
  • Negligent driving that results in a death
  • Using a commercial vehicle in a controlled substance-related felony

Second-time offenders of these major violations will incur a complete CDL disqualification.

For more information: Overview of California Traffic Ticket and other Traffic Violation Issues

What happens to my commercial driver license if I am convicted of a DUI?
If you are convicted of driving under the influence and it is your first offense, your commercial driving license will then be suspended for a year. If you hold a hazardous materials transport commercial license, this CDL suspension will increase to three years. For second or more offenses, your license will be banned for life. You may also face additional consequences as the result of drinking and driving.

For more information: California DMV.com’s Commercial Drivers

What if the original is located after my car title replacement has been issued?
Your original CA car title will be deemed invalid once you request a car title replacement. It is highly recommended that you contact the California DMV to verify what you should do with the original title if you locate it after.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

What information does a driving record contain?
Your California Driving Record will have the following information:

  • The current status of your driver s license
  • Accidents you were involved in, whether you were at fault or not
  • Major violations in the last seven years
  • Minor violations in the past seven years
  • DUI convictions that happened in the last 10 years
  • Suspension or revocation information about your license
  • Failure to pay traffic fines or appear in court information

For more information:Your California Driving Record

What is an ID card?
An ID card is a form of identification that is often used by individuals who do not drive but wish to carry an identification document on their person. This is essential because a DMV ID card will allow you to enter government buildings, as well as travel at ease. Basically, anything that requires proof of identification, using your ID card will suffice.

For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card

What is considered the legal alcohol limit?
What is the cost of a DUI?
The cost of a DUI charge will vary based on the number of the offense. The breakdown of fines and penalties is as follows:

  • First offenses: up to $1,000
  • Second offenses: up to $1,800
  • Third offenses: up to $1,800
  • Fourth offenses: up to $18,000

Keep in mind that these fees can vary.

For more information:DUI/DWI Information for California

What is the cost of a traffic ticket?
California traffic fines vary based on the severity of the violation. In addition, counties can choose to raise the costs of tickets and add extra penalties and fees if their representatives see fit. For more information:Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
What is the cost to get a driver record?
The fee for requesting a driver record in California is as follows:

  • Online Driving Record – $2
  • By Mail -$5
  • In Person – $5

For more information on how to obtain your driving history: Your California Driving Record

What is the DUI penalty for a CDL driver?
A first offense of driving under the influence in California results in a one-year drivers license suspension. A subsequent offense within 10 years will cause your CDL to be disqualified.

For more information:DUI/DWI Information for California

What is the DUI penalty for a minor?
California has a Zero Tolerance Law, which states that no driver under the age of 21 can have any alcohol in his/her body. The specific blood alcohol concentration mentioned by the CA DMV is 0.01 percent. If you are charged with driving under the influence in California and are under 21, you will incur:

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

What is the minimum liability insurance coverage?
California requires its drivers to have the following minimum liability insurance coverage:

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple people
  • $15,000 for injury or death to one individual

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

What is the passing score for a written test?
You will be given three chances to pass the standard traffic laws and sign test, but you must wait seven days before re-examination should you fail the first or second time. In order to successfully pass the learners permit test, you will need to get at least 38 questions out of 46 correct. To obtain your CA driving permit on the first try, it is strongly encouraged that you study the Driver s License Manual and take the Driver s Practice Test beforehand.

For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

What is the process to get a title for a scooter or motorcycle?
In the state of California, a motorized scooter does not require registration. If you need to obtain a title for a motorcycle, you will need to present the following items at your local DMV:

When in the process of transferring ownership of a motorcycle into your name, keep in mind that you will need to do the following:

  • Have the Certificate of Title transferred to you with the seller s signature on it.
  • Have the odometer disclosure listed.
  • Get smog certification, if applicable.
  • Be ready to make payment for the transfer fee at the DMV.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

What languages is the written test available in?
In California, the written test is available in English, Spanish or American Sign Language (ASL). You can review a sample of this practice test in the language of your choice by visiting the CA DMV website.

It’s also recommended that you prepare for the DMV written test with the the California DMV Practice Tests. For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

What must I do to reinstate my driver’s license as a result of a DUI/DWI?
In order to reinstate your license after driving under the influence or while intoxicated, the California DMV requires you to:

  • Pay all traffic fines.
  • Serve any jail time or community service.
  • Complete a state-approved DUI program.
  • Keep an ignition interlock device for the specified amount of time, if ordered.
  • Wait out your suspension period.
  • Apply for SR 22 insurance or prove your financial responsibility to the DMV.

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

What penalties will I face if I do not change my address with the DMV?
Any driver who moves within California or has recently made this state its new home is required to make an official address change with the DMV. Failure to do so may result in select fees and/or fines. For more information: How to Handle a Change of Address in California
What penalties will I face if I do not renew my expired drivers license?
If you fail to renew your drivers license by the expiration date, you will not have to pay a late fee whether you pay online, in person or by mail. You have three months to renew your drivers license after the expiration date.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to drive with an expired driver’s license, so you risk a ticket if caught driving without a valid license.

For more information:How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

What proof of insurance can I provide when registering my car?
Presenting your insurance card from your insurance company will suffice as proof. However, it is essential that your card includes information, such as:

  • Your vehicle s model
  • Your vehicle s year
  • Your vehicle s make
  • Your name (and anybody else who is under your policy plan)
  • Your insurance policy term s expiration date

For more information:California Car Insurance Regulations

What should I do if I have not received my registration tags or stickers?
If you have not received your car registration tags, contact the California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1-800-777-0133. Their regular business hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesdays, the offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If you prefer, you can also visit your local DMV office to inquire about the status of your registration tags.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

What should I do if I have not received my renewed license?
If you have yet to receive your renewed license, then contact the CA DMV to get a status update. You can reach them toll-free at 1-800-777-0133, between the operating hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesdays, their business hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

What test do I need to take for my learners permit?
In California, drivers obtaining a learning permit are required to pass a vision test and a traffic laws and sign test. You can find an office near you by using our CA DMV locator.

For more information: Beginner Drivers in California

What tests do I have to take to obtain a CDL?
To obtain your CDL, you will be required to pass a skills and driving test in the vehicle you intend to operate, as well as pass a pre-trip inspection. You may have the option of having your driving test waived if you are able to submit a Certificate of Driving Skill from your employer.

For more information: California Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Application

What tests will I need to take for my drivers license?
Aside from the road skills exam, also known as the driving test, you will be required to pass a vision test and a traffic laws and signs test. Keep in mind that you must answer 36 questions correctly in order to pass the traffic laws and signs test. For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California
What type of car insurance am I required to have?
The state of California makes it mandatory to hold liability car insurance for personal injury and property damage. However, for extra coverage and protection, you can opt to obtain the following types of additional insurance:

  • Accident coverage
  • Rent a car coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Medical coverage
  • Funeral-related coverage
  • Towing coverage
  • Uninsured coverage
  • Underinsured coverage

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

What type of noncommercial license will I need?
California offers three different types of noncommercial drivers licenses:

  • Noncommercial Class A Issued to drivers who tow a travel trailer weighing over 10,000 lbs, a fifth-wheel travel trailer weighing more than 15,000 lbs or a livestock trailer over 10,000 lbs. None of the aforementioned can be used-for-hire vehicles.
  • Noncommercial Class B Issued to drivers who operate a housecar that is between 40 to 45 feet.
  • Noncommercial Class C Issued to drivers who operate noncommercial passenger vehicles and trucks.

For more information about commercial license classes:California DMV.com’s Commercial Drivers

What will happen if I fail to get or keep car insurance?
If you are caught without car insurance in California, the consequences are as follows:

  • $100 to $200 for your first offense
  • $200 to $500 for each ensuing offense within three years of your first charge
  • Possible impoundment of your vehicle
  • Possible suspension of your car registration if:
    • It has been 45 days or more since you notified the DMV of your canceled insurance and still have not purchased new coverage.
    • You gave false evidence of auto insurance.
    • You did not provide your vehicle insurance information to the DMV within 30 days of registering your car or title transfer.

For more information:California Car Insurance Regulations

When can I reinstate my license after it has been suspended?
Your required reinstatement fees will depend on the type of CA drivers license suspension you have. However, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has outlined some reissue fees as follows:

  • $125 Administration Per Se fee (if 21 and older)
  • $20 Removal of license restriction
  • $55 Reissue fee
  • $24 Drug suspension
  • $250 Financial Responsibility Penalty fee

For more information: Suspended License Information for California

When does my car registration expire?
In the state of California, car registrations expire on a yearly basis. It is important that you take the appropriate steps to renew before in order to avoid being subject to penalties. California does not offer a grace period to renew expired registration, therefore be sure to renew on time.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

When does my ID card expire?
In the state of California, your ID card will be valid for six years. If you are a senior citizen, your ID card will be good for 10 years. In order to be considered a senior citizen, you must be over the age of 62. For more information: How to Apply for a California Identification Card
When must I change my address with the DMV?
You must change your address with the DMV within 10 days of moving to your new residential address. Temporary mailing addresses will not be accepted. For more information on how to change your address: How to Handle a Change of Address in California.
When should I complete a Bill of Sale?
A Bill of Sale (REG 135) is most often necessary when you are in the process of buying or selling your vehicle with a private party. The Bill of Sale contains important information about your vehicle s description, such as the model, year, selling price and odometer reading.

For more information: Title Transfers or obtaining a New Certificate of Title in California

When will I need to renew my license?
A California drivers license is good for five years. You may renew your drivers license up to six months before it expires, and three months after the expiration date. If you do not renew your drives license within the three-month grace period, you will have to follow the process to get a new driver’s license. The renewal fee is $33.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

When will I receive a replacement license after applying?
After applying in person, you will receive an interim license that will be good for 90 days. You should expected to receive your California duplicate drivers license within 60 days.

For more information: Replace a Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated California Driver’s License or ID Card

Where can I check to see if my license is suspended?
To check the status of your drivers license, order a driving record. You can do this online, by mail or in person.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

Where can I find a local tax county collector office?
For car registration replacement, you can find a nearby tax county collector s office by visiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, or you can use our DMV locator.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

Where can I find more information about an ignition interlock device?
If you have been ordered by a court judge to implement an ignition interlock device in your car as the result of a DUI, you can find more information about its installation and fees by visiting the CA DMV Ignition Interlock Devices page. Failing to comply with court requirements will mean that you cannot reinstate your suspended license after the suspension period is over.

For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California

Where can I find my traffic or parking ticket information online?
The state of California does not have a universal system for searching for traffic ticket information online. Depending on the county you live in, you will likely be able to pay traffic fine costs online.

For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California

Where can I find the DMV locations?
Please follow the link below for your nearest DMV location:

California DMV Office Contact Information

Where can I get a new drivers license?
To get a new CA driver’s license, you must go in person to a local DMV office. The option to get a new driving license online, by mail or over the phone is not possible. It’s recommended that an appointment be made before heading into the DMV.

To find the nearest CA DMV office near you, use our DMV locator.

For more information: How to Apply for a New Driver’s License in California

Where can I mail my request for a replacement title?
You can mail your request for a California duplicate vehicle title to the following address:

Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Registration Operations P.O. Box 942869 Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

Where can I obtain an ID card?
You can obtain your California identification card at a local DMV office. You can find one in your area by using our DMV locator. For more information:How to Apply for a California Identification Card
Which types of vehicles need to be insured?
Most vehicles in California must be insured. These include but are not limited to:

  • Private passenger vehicles
  • Commercial vehicles
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Motorcycles

For more information: California Car Insurance Regulations

Who can sign for my permit or license if I am under 18?
When getting drivers permit credentials, your parents or legal guardian can sign your application form. If their signature is not present, you will not be able to submit the application.

For more information: Provisional Permits for Beginner Drivers in California

Why doesn’t a recent traffic ticket I received appear on my driving record?
Your driving record may not always contain the most recent information about a CA traffic ticket you received. If you need to address your traffic ticket immediately, then it is advisable that you visit the Court Clerk s office in the county where you were issued your citation. They will further be able to assist you with your ticket fee needs.

For more information: Your California Driving Record

Will I be required to take a vision test for a drivers license renewal?
Yes, you will be asked to take a vision test in person. In order to pass, you must meet the DMV s standard of 20/40. If you do not meet this standard, then the driver s license agent will direct you to see your own licensed vision specialist. Your doctor will be required to fill out a Report of Vision Examination and submit it to the DMV.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

Will I get a drivers license renewal notice in the mail?
Yes, the California Department of Motor Vehicles sends out a renewal notice roughly two months prior to the expiration date of your California drivers license. The notice will detail the ways you are eligible to renew, and the methods of payment accepted. The cost to renew is $33.

For more information: How to Renew a Driver’s License in California

Will I get any points on my record if I received a traffic ticket from another state?
Unfortunately for California residents, if you get a traffic ticket in another state, the California DMV will count that ticket on your driving record in California. As a result, the CA DMV will put points on your California drivers record for traffic convictions that you receive in other states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada-like members of the National Driver Register (NDR). One possible option is contacting a traffic attorney to fight the ticket. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
Will I have points against my driver’s license if I get a ticket?
Not all traffic violations will result in points. Only the serious offenses, such as driving under the influence or speeding, will add points to your driving record in addition to the California traffic ticket fines. For more information: Traffic Tickets and Violations in California
Will I have to take an alcohol awareness class to reinstate my driver’s license?
Yes, alcohol awareness courses are required for all DUI convictions. Not enrolling will mean that you cannot reinstate your suspended drivers license. For more information: DUI/DWI Information for California
Will I need to fill out an application to replace my car registration?
Yes, you will need to fill out an Application for Replacement Plates, Stickers, Documents (REG 156) in order to replace car registration.

For more information: How to Replace a Vehicle Registration in California

Will I need to present proof of insurance to get a car title replacement?
No, you will not need to present proof of vehicle insurance for replacing car title documentation. However, to be safe, it is best that you bring your insurance card with you to the DMV.

The DMV asks for your driver’s license and a completed Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) to process a car title replacement request.

For more information: How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

Will I receive a renewal registration notice in the mail?
Yes, prior to your car registration s expiration date, a renewal notice will be sent to you. It will be mailed to the address that is currently on file with the DMV, so if you recently moved, make sure to have your information up to date.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California

Will my registration expire on my birthday or birth month?
Your vehicle registration will expire on a specific date of your birth month. Keep in mind that you must renew your tags by the expiration date because the CA DMV does not provide a grace period. You will have to start the new vehicle registration process over again if you wait until after the expiration date.

For more information: How to Renew Your Vehicle Registration in California