Driver License or ID Card Renewal

Car

It’s important to renew driver licenses (DLs), identification (ID) cards, and provisional instruction permits before they expire. The expiration date is noted on the card. 

Important Information

California has extended noncommercial driver licenses (including AB 60 and limited-term) expiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. The terms of your extension depends on your age.

  • License holders 69 and younger (Beginning March 1, 2020): Most drivers now qualify for online renewal.
  • License holders over the age of 70 (March-December 2020 expirations): Extension valid for one year from original expiration date.

The extensions are automatic, but eligible drivers will not receive a new card or paper extension in the mail. As an option, these drivers can request a free temporary paper extension online through DMV’s Virtual Field Office to document their extension, though one is not needed to drive.

If you already have a California DL, you can renew it in person at a DMV office, by mail, or online. 

It is illegal to drive with an expired DL and you can be cited. There are no late fees to renew a DL that has already expired. 

Renew your DL online

You may be able to renew your DL online if you:

  • Do not need to change your address or personal description.
  • Are not applying for a REAL ID compliant DL or ID for the first time.
  • Are not renewing a commercial DL.

If eligible, you can also register to vote when you renew online.

Renew your DL in person

To renew your DL in person:

  • Complete a DL or ID card application or bring in the DMV renewal notice mailed to you (cross out any old information and write in the current information).
  • Have your thumbprint scanned.
  • Pass a vision exam.
  • Have your photo taken.
  • Pay the nonrefundable application fee (application and fee valid for 12 months).
  • Pass the knowledge test(s) (if required). Your renewal notice will indicate if you need to take a knowledge test. You are allowed three attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. If you fail the same test three times, your application is no longer valid and you need to reapply. To allow for sufficient testing time, we don’t administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing. 
  • If you apply for a REAL ID in person, you must also provide proof of your identity, social security number (SSN), and residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID documents.

After you complete these requirements, DMV will issue you a temporary DL until you receive your new license in the mail. The temporary license is valid for 60 days. You will receive your new DL in the mail within 3-4 weeks. If you haven’t received your new DL after 60 days, call DMV at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status. 

Renew your DL by mail

You may be eligible to renew your DL by mail if you can answer no to all of these questions:

  • Does your DL expire more than 120 days from today’s date?
  • Will you be 70 years old (or older) when your current DL expires?
  • Are you currently on any type of driving probation or suspension?
  • Did you violate a written promise to appear in court within the last two years?
  • Have you already received two consecutive five-year extensions by mail/internet?
  • Do you have a DL from more than one state or jurisdiction?
  • Are you applying for a REAL ID compliant DL/ID card for the first time?
  • Are you applying to renew a commercial DL?

If you qualify and haven’t received your renewal notice by mail, complete a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information (DL 410 FO) form.

Mail your form (along with a check for the renewal fee) to:

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

If eligible, you can also register to vote when you renew by mail. 

If you already have a California REAL ID driver’s license, you can renew it in person at a DMV office, by mail, or online. 

It is illegal to drive with an expired REAL ID DL and you can be cited. There are no late fees to renew a DL that has already expired. 

Renew your REAL ID DL online

You may be able to renew your REAL ID DL online if you:

  • Do not need to change your address or personal description.
  • Are not renewing a commercial DL.

A CDL can be renewed online.

If you are a commercial driver and your CDL has been expired for over two years, you’ll need to take a skills test for the type of commercial motor vehicle you will be driving to renew your license.

To renew your CDL in person:

  • Complete a CDL Application or bring in the DMV renewal notice mailed to you (cross out any old information and write in the current information).
  • Visit a DMV office, where you will:
    • Provide residency document on every renewal.
    • Provide BD/LP documents if renewing for the first time since May 10, 2017.
    • Submit a completed 10 Year History Record Check (DL 939) (if you’ve been issued a DL of any kind in another state or jurisdiction in the last 10 years).
    • Have your thumbprint scanned.
    • Pass a vision exam.
    • Have your photo taken.
    • Pay the nonrefundable application fee (application and fee valid for 12 months).
    • Take the knowledge test(s) (if required). Your renewal notice will indicate if you need to take a knowledge test. You are allowed three attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. If you fail the same test three times, your application is no longer valid and you will need to reapply. To allow for sufficient testing time, we do not administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing.
    • When you apply for a REAL ID in person, you must also provide proof of your identity, social security number (SSN), and residency from the list of acceptable REAL ID documents

After you complete these requirements, we will issue you a temporary DL until you receive your new license in the mail. The temporary license is valid for 60 days.  You will receive your DL via mail within 3-4 weeks. If you haven’t received your new DL after 60 days, call the DMV at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.

Your California DL Application and fee is valid for 12 months after you complete the online application. You need to hold your provisional instruction permit for at least six months before you can get your DL. In some cases, it’s possible that your application and fee will expire before you have had your instruction permit for the required six months (for example, if you complete the online application, but wait over six months to go to a DMV office to get your instruction permit). 

If your application and fee will expire before you have held your provisional instruction permit for the required six months, you will need to reapply and pay a new application fee.

You will get cumulative credit for the time you held your provisional instruction permit that counts towards your six-month requirement. You must keep the expired permit with your new learner permit until you pass your driving test. Make sure to bring both your expired and valid instruction permits when you take your driving test to show proof of credit.

To renew your instruction permit:

  • Complete a new California DL/ID Card Application.
  • Visit a DMV office, where you will:
    • Verify your identity with an acceptable identity document. Your current name needs to match the name on the identity document.
    • Present acceptable residency documents (if you’ve never had a California DL/ID card).
    • Pay the nonrefundable application fee. (Application and fee valid for 12 months.)
    • Have your thumbprint scanned.
    • Pass a vision exam.
    • Have your photo taken.
    • Take the knowledge test(s). You are allowed three attempts to pass each of the required knowledge tests. If you fail the same test three times, your application is no longer valid and you will need to reapply. To allow for sufficient testing time, we don’t administer knowledge tests within 30 minutes of closing.
    • Submit the proper driver training school certificate(s) to verify you took driver education and/or driver training classes.

We issue three types of ID cards.

  • REAL ID: Starting October 1, 2021, you will need a federal compliant ID (such as a passport, military ID, or REAL ID) to board a domestic flight or enter secure federal facilities, like military bases, federal courthouses, and other federal buildings.
  • Regular ID card: Valid for six birthdates from the application date.
  • Senior citizen ID card: Valid for eight birthdates from the application date (must be at least 62-years-old).

To renew your ID card by mail:

You must be able to answer ‘NO’ to all of the following questions:

  • Have your last two ID cards been renewed by mail/internet?
  • Has your ID been expired for more than one year?
  • Are you changing or correcting your name?

If you are eligible, complete a California Identification Card Renewal by Mail Eligibility (DL 410 ID) form and mail it (along with the appropriate renewal fee) to:

DMV, Attn: Renewal by Mail Unit
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

Please write your ID card number on the back of your payment document.

To renew an ID card in person:

You will receive your new ID card in the mail within 3-4 weeks. If you haven’t received your new ID card after 60 days, call us at 1-800-777-0133 to check the status.

When it comes time to renew a limited term DL/ID card for someone with legal presence, DMV will send a renewal notice to the address on file for you. The notice will request an updated Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extension information/document. Send your completed renewal notice to DMV headquarters for processing at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
PO BOX 942890, MS G204
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001


Temporary Driver License Extension

To provide relief for California drivers during the COVID-19 emergency, DMV is temporarily extending driver licenses expiration dates. Learn more and start your temporary driver license extension.

The name on my identity document isn’t my current name. How do I change it?

Your current true full name (first, middle, last) needs to appear on your identity document. If you need to make a name change, learn how you can update info on your DL/ID card.

Frequently Asked Questions

CategorySituationCustomer Action
Drivers 70+ – non-commercialOne year driver’s license extension for those that expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020• No action necessary
• Can go online to request a paper extension
Drivers 69 and under• No new automatic extensions beyond July 31, 2020.
• Most drivers will qualify for online renewal
Submit online renewal application or renew by mail
First Time REAL IDRequires office visit• Complete online application
• Upload documents
• No appointment necessary
• Bring documents to office visit
REAL ID RenewalCan be completed onlineNo office visit required
Limited-term REAL ID renewalRequires an office visit
Driver’s License
Permits
All permits expiring March through November 2020 are extended for six months or to a date 24 months from the date of application, whichever is earlier.No action necessary
Commercial LicenseAll commercial driver’s licenses, endorsements and commercial learner’s permits expiring between March and December are extended through December 31, 2020• No action necessary
• A paper extension can be requested online

Other Important Information

  • Drivers with a suspended license are not eligible for an extension and can’t renew online.
  • Drivers with multiple points on their record are not eligible for renewal by mail or online.
  • Drivers with a limited term requirement for vision are not eligible for an extension cannot renew by mail, and must come into the field office to renew.

If you renewed your DL/ID card and have not received it please call 1-800-777-0133 for assistance.

We send a courtesy notice to your address about 2 months before your DL expires. If you do not receive a notice, submit a California Driver License Renewal by Mail Eligibility Information (DL 410) form to review your ability to renew by mail.

Every original DL expires on the applicant’s 5th birthday following the application date. However, if the applicant’s identity document expires less than 5 years from the application date, the DL will be considered a “limited term” DL and the expiration date will match the expiration date of the identity document. California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 12816(a)

No. For security purposes, no changes can be made to your address, date of birth, physical description, or class of license.

If you have a change of address, enter your current address on your renewal notice and renew your DL by mail.

Temporary conditions do not need to be reported. However, you should not drive until it is safe to do so.

Our vision screening standard is at least 20/40 when both eyes are tested together, and at least 20/70 in the weaker eye. If you recently had surgery to correct one eye for distance and the other for close-up vision, you may not meet the screening standard and must renew your DL in person at a DMV office.

If you have recently become disabled and the condition affects your ability to drive safely, you must renew your DL in-person. You may be required to take a behind-the-wheel driving test to demonstrate that you can compensate for the disability. Disabilities that cannot get worse over time (e.g. loss of limb or loss of an eye) and don’t prevent you from driving safely do not have to be reported (as long as the condition was previously reported to DMV).

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