california drivers license renewal - CA

Renew your California drivers license. Prepare all your DMV info. Get all the forms, rules and steps required for your CA drivers license renewal. Drivers in the state of California can renew via a variety of methods. Online renewal is the easiest and fastest way to renew. If the requirements are not met for online renewal, the state allows you to submit your application by postal mail. Lastly, if neither of the above two options work for you, an in person visit at any california dmv office is always a sure choice. We can also guide you in the right direction. Register on our site and we’ll supply you with a handy checklist, and prepare you with all of the important forms, rules, and steps. Please continue reading below to get started with your California license renewal.

California Drivers License Renewal Information

Expiration Date

According to state law, your license in the Golden State has an expiration date of five (5) years from the date in which it was issued. It's very convenient to note that the expiration day will always fall on your birth date. That makes it much easier to remember. If you are ever in doubt, simply check the front part of your license and look for the expiration date. 

Please remember that you must always carry your driver's license at all times when operating a motor vehicle. At the discretion of a police officer, you may be given a ticket for driving without proof of license. If you are unable to carry your license because it has been lost, you may file for a replacement by following our California Drivers License Replacement guide. 

Renewal Notice

The CA DMV will mail you a renewal notice to the address on file with the DMV, sixty (60) days before the expiration date. This notice will also contain the exact amount that you must pay for your renewal, and instructions on how to go about renewing your drivers license.  Since you will be receiving this notice via mail, it's crucial that the DMV is up to date with your latest mailing address on file. If you have moved to a new address (since your last DMV visit), you must follow our California drivers license address change page directions. Since you are responsible for renewing on time, if you did not receive a renewal notice / reminder, you must find out about your renewal options. This can be done by contacting the DMV by phone at (800) 777 0133. Please ask about your payment fees, renewal options and required paperwork / documents. Going in person to the DMV with your notice in hand is a great way to save time. Be proactive and ensure that the DMV has the correct information on file. This will ensure that you renew on time, otherwise you'll risk driving with an expired license. 

When To Renew

Plan a visit to your nearest DMV Office before your current license expires. California allows you to renew as early as you wish. There are no limits set on how early you may renew. If there are six (6) months or less remaining from the date of expiration, your newly renewed license will be issued for five (5) years from the date in which it originally expires. However, if you wish to renew earlier than six (6) months away from your expiration, your new license will be valid for five (5) years from the date of renewal. It's always recommended to apply for your new license prior to it expiring. Otherwise you will be breaking the law by driving with an invalid license.  

Expired California License

If you forgot or were unable to renew before its expiration, you may still renew as long as no more than ninety (90) days have lapsed. You will not be charged any late fees for renewing after the expiration. However, please remember that it is against the law to drive with an expired license. Unfortunately, if you try to renew after the 90 day period, you will have to re-apply for a new license, and you must pay the same fees as drivers applying for a new license. 

Suspensions

If your license has been suspended, do not drive a vehicle. If caught and convicted you will face possible jail time and a fine ranging between $300 and $1000. You must apply for reinstatement. In some cases you may be able to reinstate your license by applying online. Since each case differs, its best to contact the CA DMV beforehand by calling the following number: (800) 777 0133.  When ending a period of suspension, you might find that some insurance companies will want to raise your premium. That's why its recommended to shop around by using our car insurance quote page. We'll assist you in finding the best rates.

Renew California Drivers License Online

Renewing online is allowed twenty four (24) hours a day, every day, as long as you meet the following conditions:

Requirements to Renew Online

  • You must have a social security number on file with the DMV. The state of CA has been verifying all social security's with SSA.gov. If yours cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to renew online. 
  • You must have a device that connects to the internet.
  • If you have moved and need to update your address, or if you need to update your personal description, you will not be allowed to renew online. Changes in birth date or type of license (class) are not allowed. 
  • Your current license cannot have expired over ninety (90) days ago.
  • You must be able to use a credit card (all forms of credit cards accepted) or have a personal check ready.
  • In the past, you needed a RIN (renewal identification number) to renew online, but this is no longer the case. 

STEPS

  1. Begin by clicking the following link.
  2. Follow the instructions on the above page carefully.
  3. You will need to create an account before you're allowed to renew online. Please have the following items handy:
    • Email address, driver license number, date of birth and SSN. 
  4. Prepare to pay the $32.00 renewal Fee for a basic Class C drivers license. For other license types, the fee will be located in the renewal reminder that was mailed to you.
  5. Upon payment, the CA DMV will mail your newly renewed license. It will take no longer than sixty (60) days to arrive. 
  6. It's very important to note, that you may not use your payment receipt as a temporary driving license. 


Note: If you wish to ask more detailed questions about your options, please contact your state's DMV office:

Website: Click Here.
Phone Number: (800) 777 0133.

California Drivers License Renew by Mail

Please check and find out if your renewal reminder instructs you to renew by mail. If not, you must meet these conditions. 

Requirements to Renew By Mail

  • Your current license must be expiring in less than sixty (60) days
  • You must be less than or equal to sixty nine (69) years of age on the date of your upcoming expiration date. 
  • You may not have renewed twice successively by mail. 
  • The possession of multiple driving licenses from other states is prohibited. If so, you may not continue with this option.
  • You may not use this method if your license is suspended, on probation or if you have not showed for a required court appearance (in the last 2 years). 

STEPS

  1. Print the following Renew By Mail DL 410 FO form.  
  2. Include payment in the form of a check for the cost of $32.00 (for a basic class C license).
  3. Mail the application and payment to the address on the form or the one listed below.

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

  4. The DMV will mail your new license in less than sixty (60) days

 

Note: If you wish to ask more detailed questions about your options, please contact your state's DMV office:

Website: Click Here.
Phone Number: (800) 777 0133.

Renew California Drivers License In Person

The CA DMV welcomes you to go in person.  

Requirements to Renew In Person

  • This is your only option if you do not qualify to renew online or by mail.
  • Note: If you are renewing late, there are never any additional penalties or fees. 

STEPS

  1. Gather the documents that you must show on renewal day. Please read below for exact details.
  2. Download and fill out the following Driver License Application DL 44 form.
    • Note: If you do not have access to a printer, you may call  (800) 777 0133 and one will be mailed to you.
  3. Although an appointment is not required, it will save you much needed time. Always try to schedule one.  
  4. Visit the most convenient DMV office in California.
  5. You might be required to take a written drivers test if your renewal reminder (that was sent via mail) instructed you to do so. The test is shorter than the one for new applicants.
  6. You must pass a vision test. The minimum requirements are described here
  7. If you've recently moved, this is the moment to update your mailing address.
  8. Bring money to pay the renewal Fee.
    • The cost is currently $32.00 (for a basic class C license).
  9. Your photograph will be captured.
  10. If successful, the DMV will mail your new license and should arrive in less than sixty (60) days. In the meantime, you will be given an interim driver's license that is valid for no more than ninety (90) days.   

 

Note: If more than 60 days have passed and you have not received your license, contact the DMV at:

Website: Click Here.
Phone Number: (800) 777 0133.

California Drivers License Renewal Documents

  • Bring your current expiring drivers license (although not required).
  • Your Social Security Number must be on file and must be verified (the DMV will automatically verify with SSA.gov).

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance in California is a requirement by law and is strictly enforced. If you are asked by a police officer to show proof, or involved in an auto accident, you must furnish your proof of financial responsibility. if not, you might be given a fine and possibly have your automobile taken away. Without insurance, you will not be allowed to renew your car's registration. This is a great time to shop around for better insurance deals. By giving us your California zip code, we'll help you find the best possible insurance rates. Use our auto insurance guide to get started.