California Drivers License Renewal: Forms, Tips & DMV Requirements

How often do I need to renew my California driver’s license?

Your California driver’s license comes up for renewal every five years. The expiration date usually falls on your birthday.

When can I renew my California driving license?

You may renew your driver’s license at any point during the 60 days prior to the point at which it expires, or at any point after that date. If you allow your license to remain expired for a prolonged period of time, you may be required to re-take DMV tests.

My license has expired. Can I still drive?

No, it is illegal to drive on an expired California driving license.

Will the DMV remind me when I need to renew my license?

Yes, the DMV will send you a renewal notice in the mail approximately two months before your license is due to expire.

How can I renew my driver’s license?

California driving licenses can be renewed online, by mail or in person. The eligibility criteria for each method of renewal are detailed below. Not all drivers will be permitted to renew their license online or by mail.

How much does it cost to renew my CA driving license?

It costs $38 to renew a California driving license.

Can I renew my CA driver’s license online?

You are eligible to renew your driver’s license online, unless:

  • You need to change your address
  • Your license has been suspended
  • Have driver’s licenses from more than one state
  • You have renewed by mail twice, prior to this renewal
  • You need to re-take the CA DMV written test
  • You are over 70 years old

How do I renew my California driving license online?

You can renew your driver’s license online by visiting www.dmv.ca.gov. Visit their online services page and choose ‘Driver License Renewal’. You will need a credit or debit card on hand to pay the $38 renewal fee.

Who can renew their California driving license by mail?

You should be able to renew your CA driving license by mail, if the following apply:

  • Your are within 60 days of your license expiration date
  • Your license has not been suspended
  • You have a driving license in one state only
  • You are not seeking to renew a commercial driver’s license
  • You are under 70 years old
  • You are not applying for a real ID
  • You have not been asked to re-take the DMV written test
  • Have not renewed by mail twice, immediately prior to this renewal

How do I renew my California driver’s license by mail?

To renew your driver’s license by mail, simply complete a driver’s license renewal notice (the DMV will send you one 60 days prior to your license expiration date). You will need to write a check for the $38 renewal fee and write your license number on the back. Then, mail the completed form and the check to the following address:

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

If you do not have a license renewal notice, you may complete a DL 410 form instead.

Who must renew their driver’s license in person?

You must renew your driver’s license in person if any of the following apply:

  • You are over 70 years old
  • You need to re-take the CA DMV written test
  • Your last two renewals were not carried out in person

How do I renew my driver’s license in person?

You must schedule an appointment at the DMV office to renew your driver’s license in person. When you attend the appointment, bring the following:

  • Your social security card
  • Two documents evidencing your residency in California
  • Your birth certificate, passport or California state ID
  • Your $38 renewal fee in cash, credit or debit

You can complete an online driver’s license application form prior to attending your appointment if you wish to save time. Otherwise, you will need to fill out a paper copy of the application while you are at the DMV office.

Can I renew an expired driver’s license?

Yes, you can renew your CA driver’s license if your expiration date has passed. Keep in mind that you may be asked to re-take the DMV written test if you allow your license to expire and do not renew it in a timely manner.

What if my driver’s license has been suspended?

You may not renew a suspended driver’s license until your suspension period has ended and your driving privileges have been reinstated.

What if my driver’s license has been lost or stolen?

If your driving license has been lost or stolen, you must inform the DMV immediately. A fee of $30 is payable to replace lost or stolen cards.

How do I renew my California instruction permit?

If your learner’s permit expires before you are eligible to take your driving test, you will need to renew it with the DMV. This will require a visit to the DMV office, where you must present the same documentation, pass the same tests and fill out the same application as you did when obtaining your original learner’s permit.