California Driver Handbook - Miscellaneous Licensing Information
To Replace A Lost/Stolen Or Damaged Driver License
If your DL is lost, stolen, or damaged, you must go to a DMV field office, complete the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form, and pay a fee for the replacement. You should also present a photo ID. If DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary DL.
If you are a minor, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the DL 44 form. If both parents/guardians have joint custody, both must sign.
Once a replacement DL is issued, the previous DL is no longer valid. Destroy the old DL if you find it later.
When you legally change your name because of marriage or other reasons, be sure to change your name with SSA before coming into DMV.
Bring your DL to DMV in person, along with your marriage certificate or other acceptable verification of your “true full name”(refer to the "Obtaining a Driver License" section). You must complete the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form and pay the applicable fee. DMV will electronically verify your name, birth date, and SSN with SSA.
A new photograph, fingerprint, and signature will be taken. Your old DL/ID card will be invalidated and may be returned to you.
Driver License Renewals
DMV sends a renewal notice to your address of record about 2 months before your DL expires. Follow the instructions on the renewal notice. If you do not receive a renewal notice, go online or call to make an appointment to renew your DL (refer to the "DMV Information" page for details on appointments).
Qualified drivers may be eligible to renew their DL online at DMV’s website at www.dmv.ca.gov or by mail.
DMV may issue a DL for 5 years. The DL expires on your birthday in the year shown on the DL, unless otherwise indicated. It is against the law to drive with an expired DL.
A driving test may be required as part of any DL transaction. Driving tests are not required simply because of age.
If DMV cannot confirm your identity, you will not be issued a temporary DL.
Renewal By Mail or Internet
If you have not received 2 consecutive 5-year DL extensions, you may be eligible to renew by mail or Internet without taking a knowledge test, if:
- Your current DL expires before age 70.
- You do not have a probationary DL (CVC §14250).
- You have not violated a written promise to appear in court or to pay a fine within the last 2 years.
- You are not suspended for driving with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, or refusing or failing to complete a chemical or preliminary alcohol screening test within the last 2 years.
- You do not have a total violation point count greater than 1 point.
Driver License Extension
If you are away from California (up to 1 year), you may request a free 1 year extension before your DL expires. Mail your request to DMV, PO Box 942890, Sacramento, CA 94290-0001. Include your name, DL number, birth date, California residence address, and out-of-state address. Limited-term drivers are not eligible for this extension.
Driver License In Your Possession
You must always have your DL with you when you drive. You must show it to any peace officer who asks to see it. If you are in a collision, you must show it to the other driver(s) involved (refer to the “Involved in a Collision” section).
When you move, you must give DMV your new address within 10 days. There is no fee to change your address. You may notify DMV of your address change for your DL/ID card, and vehicle(s) online at www.dmv.ca.gov. You may also download a Change of Address (DMV 14) form and mail it to the address on the form, or call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 and request a DMV 14 be mailed to you.
A new DL or ID card is not issued when you change your address.
You may type or write your new address on a small piece of paper, sign and date the paper and carry it (do not use tape or staples) with your DL or ID card.
If you change your address at a field office, a DMV representative will give you a Change of Address Card (DL 43) to complete and carry with your DL/ID card.
REMINDER: The U.S. Postal Service forwards some DMV correspondence; however, it is your responsibility to ensure DMV has your correct mailing address on record.
DMV screens all drivers to measure vision with or without corrective lenses. If you do not meet DMV’s vision standard (20/40), you will be required to visit a vision specialist. The DMV representative will give you a Report of Vision Examination (DL 62) form to have completed by the vision specialist. If your vision is not worse than 20/70, DMV may issue you a 30-day temporary DL to allow you time to have your vision checked.
All drivers applying for a DL must have a visual acuity better than 20/200 (best corrected) in at least one eye before a DL can be issued. You are prohibited from using a bioptic telescope or similar lens to meet the 20/200 visual acuity standard in the better eye.
Medical Information Card
Call 1-800-777-0133 to obtain a Medical Information Card (DL 390) to list your blood type, allergies, physician name, and other medical information. It can be carried with your DL/ID card.
Organ and Tissue Donation
You may sign up to donate your organs and tissue for transplantation after your death. When you apply for or renew your DL or ID card, check the “Yes, add my name to the donor registry” box on the renewal form to place your name on the Donate Life California Organ Tissue Donor Registry. If you need additional information, check the “I do not wish to register at this time” box and call Donate Life California where representatives can answer any questions you may have about organ and tissue donation. You may also use the renewal form to financially contribute to the registry by checking the “$2 voluntary contribution to support and promote organ and tissue donation” box.
If you are older than 13, and under 18 years old, you may register with Donate Life California, provided your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) authorize the donation.
You may consent to the organ and tissue donation on the Donate Life California website; however, a new DL or ID card with a pink dot will not be issued until you check “Yes, add my name to the donor registry” box on the DL or ID application and DMV processes the new transaction (replacement, renewal, change of name, etc.). It is your responsibility to contact Donate Life California if you wish to change or update your donor status or information. For more information about the donor registry, adding restrictions to your gift, and the donation process, visit the Donate Life California website at donateLIFEcalifornia.org, or call 1-866-797-2366.
Veteran Designation and Benefit Information
Have you ever served in the U.S. Military? For an additional $5 fee, DMV offers those who proudly served our country the option to mark the face of their DL/ID card with the word “VETERAN” to indicate they served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, DMV will refer veterans to the California Department of Veterans Affairs to determine eligibility for benefits acquired while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
How Can I Get The Veterans Designation?
- Visit County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO) to obtain a signed, certified Veteran Status Verification Form (VSD-001).
- For more information, visit the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov or refer to the Are You a Veteran? (FFDL 43) Fast Facts brochure.
The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) CalVet Connect program would like you to receive information regarding benefits, such as employment, housing, education, and health care services for which you may be entitled. Check the “If you have served, would you like to receive benefits information for which you may be eligible?” box on the Driver License or Identification Card Application (DL 44) form. DMV will transmit your name and mailing address to CalVet for them to forward you benefits information.
Register to Vote
You may register to vote or update your voter registration with DMV when applying for an original DL/ID, renewing your DL/ID, or changing your address by mail or internet. For more information, visit the DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov.
It is against the law to loan your vehicle to a person who is unlicensed or whose driving privilege has been suspended or revoked. If an unlicensed person is caught driving your vehicle, it may be impounded for 30 days (CVC §14607.6).
No person of any age may drive on a highway or in a public parking facility unless he or she has a valid DL or permit. The law also states that you must not employ, permit, or authorize any person to drive your vehicle on a public street or highway, unless he or she is licensed to drive that class of vehicle.
A person must be at least 21 years old to drive most commercial vehicles for hire in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials or wastes.
Diplomatic Driver Licenses
Nonresidents who possess a valid diplomatic DL issued by the U.S. Department of State are exempt from California driver licensing requirements.
Identification (ID) Cards
DMV issues ID cards to eligible persons of any age. To obtain an original ID card, you must present a birth date/legal presence verification document and provide your SSN (refer to the " Obtaining a Driver License" section). The ID card is valid until the 6th birthday after the issue date. The fee for an ID card may be reduced, if you meet certain requirements for specific public assistance programs. Refer to the Requirements for a California Identification Card (FFDL 6) Fast Facts brochure for additional information.
NOTE: Governmental or nonprofit organizations determine whether an individual meets the requirements for a reduced-fee ID card.
If you are 62 years old or older, you may obtain a free senior citizen ID card with the words “Senior Identification Card” indicated on the front.
Free ID Cards For Physical And Mental (P&M) Conditions
Drivers who are no longer able to drive safely because of a P&M condition may be eligible to exchange their valid DL for a no-fee ID card, if certain guidelines are met. Go online at www.dmv.ca.gov or call 1-800-777-0133 for additional information.
Identification (ID) Card Renewal by Mail or Internet
Customers who are eligible to renew their ID cards by mail or Internet will receive a notice approximately 60 days before the expiration of their current ID card. Reduced-fee ID cards cannot be renewed by mail or Internet.
There is a fee for regular ID cards (customers under 62 years old); there is no charge for senior citizen ID cards (customers 62 years old or older), if applying for a senior citizen ID card.
When learning to drive, you should seek qualified instruction, either with a public or private high school or a state licensed professional driving school.
DMV licenses professional schools and instructors in California that meet rigid qualifying standards. Schools must carry liability insurance, hold a bond, and maintain complete records for DMV inspection. Vehicles are subject to annual inspection. Instructors must pass a written examination every 3 years or show proof of continuing education in the traffic safety field. If you use the services of a professional driving school, ask to see the instructor’s ID card. Go online at www.dmv.ca.gov or refer to the Selecting a Driving School (FFDL 33) Fast Facts brochure for additional information.
Mature Driver Program
The Mature Driver Program is an 8-hour course for drivers 55 years old and older. This course covers a variety of topics of special interest to the mature driver and is available from DMV approved course providers. Visit the DMV website for more information.
Your insurance company may offer discounts for those who complete the class and receive a completion certificate. The certificate is valid for 3 years and can be renewed by completing a 4-hour course.
Pedestrians (including joggers) should be aware of traffic conditions. Watch out for drivers before assuming you have the right-of-way when crossing a street.
Be aware that hybrid and electric vehicles are virtually silent when running on electric power and you may not hear them approaching an intersection.
Yield the right-of-way to vehicles when you cross a street between intersections and in areas with no pedestrian crosswalks or signals.
REMEMBER: Making eye contact with a driver does not mean the driver will yield the right-of-way.
Do not suddenly leave a curb or other safe place, and walk or run into the path of a vehicle close enough to be a danger to you. This is true even though you are in a crosswalk. The law states that drivers must always yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian, but if the driver cannot stop in time to avoid hitting you, you still run the risk of being hit.
Avoid distractions as a pedestrian. Do not use your mobile phone or electronic device while moving. To avoid becoming a hazard to vehicles and other pedestrians, you should be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Always obey traffic signal lights. Whether the intersection has pedestrian signals or traffic signal lights, you must obey the pedestrian rules. At an intersection where traffic is not controlled by traffic signal lights, drivers are required to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within any crosswalk, marked or unmarked.
When a traffic signal light changes to green or “WALK,” look left, right, and then left again, and yield the right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection before the traffic signal light changes.
If the traffic signal light begins blinking or changes to “DON’T WALK,” or to an upraised hand after you have gone part way across a divided street, you may continue across the street.
Do not stop or delay traffic unnecessarily while crossing a street.
Pedestrians are not permitted on any toll bridge or highway crossing, unless there is a sidewalk and signs stating pedestrian traffic is permitted.
If there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic (see graphic below). Do not walk or jog on any freeway where signs tell you that pedestrians are not allowed. Do not walk or jog in a bike lane unless there is no sidewalk.
At night, make yourself more visible by:
- Wearing white, light, or reflective material clothing.
- Carrying a flashlight.
Your vehicle may be equipped with various new technologies. Your vehicle may also have technology that allows you to have cell phone conversations or play music from an electronic device. With the increase of such technologies, it is important to remain aware of the road and avoid driving distractions. Here are some tips to reduce technological distractions:
- Do not input navigation instructions while driving.
- Do not adjust music or other electronic devices while driving.
- For navigation devices, use the audio navigation function when possible.
NOTE: Technology, such as back up cameras and self-parking, cannot solely be used on a driving test. The purpose of a driving test is to ensure your ability to drive.