Renewing a California Driver's License

After your CA driver's license expires or if your license is suspened, you must renew it at the CA DMV office. It's much easier then learning how to apply for a new CA driver's license in California for 18+

As long as you have your personal information with you, you can renew your driver's license in California on the motor vehicles DMV website online services, through the mail, over the phone, or in person.

When It's Time to Renew Your California Driver's License

Every five years, on your birthday, your California driver's license will expire.

You will receive a renewal notice through the mail from the DMV office around the 2-month mark before it expires.

Based on your driver's license standing (valid, suspended license, lost/damaged, expired), you may renew by:

  • Using online services at the DMV website.
  • Calling the DMV.
  • Mail.
  • Visiting the DMV in person.

In order to meet the requirements for renewals or to check the status of your new license by phone and mail, you need to:

  • Hold a driver's license that will expire within 60 days.
  • Be younger than 70 years of age.
  • Not have a driving probation or license is suspended license.
  • Have not failed to appear in court in the prior two years.
  • Not have made your last two renewals through the mail.
  • Not have an out-of-state driver's license.

NOTE: Even if you have a suspended license, the renewal notice states if you are able to renew on the DMV website online services, over the phone, or through the mail. Make sure you have your personal information and ID card with you.

After you renew, you will get a temporary card that will be valid for 90 days before you get your permanent California driver's license.

In case you don't get your permanent driver’s license in the mail within 60 days, give the DMV a call at (800) 777-0133.

Valid Driver's Licenses

For those who have a valid California license, you can renew it and check the status:

  • Up to six months before expiration.
  • Up to 90 days after expiration.

NOTE: This may not yet be need ed for teens applying for a new CA driver license, but you are allowed to renew your driver's license at the DMV before your driver’s license expires, but you will need to cancel your current driver’s license with the CA DMV.

Check California Drivers License Status

Expired Driver's Licenses

Your CA driver's license cannot be renewed if it has been more than 90 days since it has expired. In that instance, you would need to visit your local DMV to check the status and to fill out a new Driver License or ID Card Application (form DL 44). You can find the form at your motor vehicles DMV location, or you can have the form mailed by having your perocalling them at (800) 777-0133.

Driver’s License is Suspended

In the case of a suspended driver's license, you have to reinstate your driving privileges in order to renew.

Lost/Stolen/Damaged Driver's Licenses

In the case of your CA driver's license being lost or stolen, you should call the DMV at (800) 777-0133 to report it. You may also e-mail at [email protected].

If your lost/stolen/damaged CA driver's license is ready for renewal, you may renew it rather than applying for a replacement using the method outlined below.

Ways To Renew your California Driver's License

DMV website Renewal

You are able to renew you California driver's license online in the following cases:

  • You are not switching your home address.
  • Your social security number is on file with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles.

First, you must register with the CA DMV website at this link.

After registering, you may log in to renew your license. You must use a credit card, debit card, or your bank account info for payment of the $34-35 fee for a non-commercial Class A or B, or $33 for a Class C.

Mail Renewal

For renewing your California driver's license through the mail, you can either:

Mail in your finished application along with the payment of the $34-$35 renewal fee for a non-commercial Class A or B or $33 for a Class C to the Sacramento motor vehicles DMV's Renewal by Mail Unit.

Phone Renewal

If you'd like to renew your CA driver's license over the phone, you may call the number given on the renewal notice.

You will need:

  • Your Renewal Identification Card Number (RIN) from your renewal document.
  • A credit or debit card for payment of the $34 for the non-commercial class A and B and $35 fee for a Class C.

In-Personal Renewal You'll need to renew your license in person and bring your ID card in the follow cases:

  • Your are older than 70.
  • Your driver's license doesn't expire for over 60 days.
  • You did not renew the last two times in person.
  • You have to take a written exam.

Head to your local motor vehicles DMV office to:

  • Fill out a Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44).
  • You may also get the form over the phone by calling (800) 777-0133.
  • Give your thumbprint.
  • Have a picture taken.
  • Pass your vision test.
  • Pass your written test, if applicable.
  • Pay your $34 fee (non-commercial Class A or B) or $33 (Class C).

NOTE: For those required to take the written test, you have to answer the first 18 questions on the test, and you must get 15 of them right. You will have three chances to pass.

California Military Members and Out-of-State Residents

Out-of-State Residents

For those who will be out of California when their driver license expires, you may request a 1-year extension at no charge. You can also consider California ID cards for identification purposes

Prior to your license expiring, you should send in a letter requesting an extension that includes your:

  • First and last name.
  • California driver's license number.
  • Birth date.
  • California address.
  • Out-of-state address.

Mail it to the Sacramento Department of Motor Vehicles.

Members of the Military

Those who are active members of the military with an honorable discharge will have 30 days after their discharge to have their driver license renewed, no matter what the expiration date was. The driver's license number of your spouse will stay valid for this time as well.

After your CA driver's license has expired, you have to update your driving record with the California DMV office by calling (916) 657-7790.

You will then get an Extension of License for Person in Armed Forces card (DL 236).

If you are the dependent of a military member with an expiring license, you may:
Ask for an extension for one year.
OR
Renew your license by calling (916) 657-7790.

Non-U.S. Citizen Renewal

If you are not a U.S. citizen, and you have a temporary driver's license, you will need to show updated birth date and legal presence documents that are issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

You will be mailed instructions about your extension by the CA DMV before your up for expiration. Copyright 2020.