License Renewal in California

To renew your California driver's license: For eligibility requirements and other renewal options, please continue reading below!

CA REAL ID License Update

The California DMV has begun issuing federally-compliant REAL ID driver’s licenses in addition to standard non-compliant driver’s licenses. The REAL ID allows you to use your license for domestic travel and entry into federal and military buildings after October 1, 2021. You can choose to receive either a REAL ID or a standard driver's license—details are outlined below. 

Renewing Your CA Driver License

Depending on your eligibility, you can renew your California driver's license:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • By phone.
  • In person.

If you are upgrading to a REAL ID-compliant license, you MUST complete your renewal in person and re-submit your proofs of identity and residency. This will be a one-time event—you won't have to bring these proofs for each renewal.

Below, we'll go through each option.

CA Military Members & Out-of-State Residents

Out-of-State CA Residents

If you will be out of state when your California driver's license expires, you may qualify for an extension.

Before your CA driver's license expires, write a letter requesting the extension and include your:

  • Full name.
  • CA driver license number.
  • Date of birth.
  • California address.
  • Out-of-state address.

Send the letter to:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • P.O. Box 942890
  • Sacramento, CA 94290

Military Members

Notice for Military Members Stationed in Germany

If you are currently stationed in Germany, please be aware that some states require you to have a valid U.S. driver's license in addition to your USAREUR license. Read our article for more information.

If you are an active military member, your expired California driver's license may remain valid after your honorable discharge, if you are not eligible to renew your license. 

If your California driver license has expired, you need to update your driving record with the CA DMV by calling (916) 657-6525.

You will receive an United States (U.S.) Armed Forces and Foreign Service card.

If you are a military member's dependent and your license is expiring, you can either:

  • Request a expiration date extension. (See above.)
  • Renew your CA driver's license online, by mail, or by calling (916) 657-6525.

Renewals for Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are a non-U.S. citizen with a temporary CA driver's license, you'll need to provide updated birth date and legal presence documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles will mail you extension instructions before your temporary license expires.

Eligibility for CA License Renewal

Your California driver's license expires on your birthday.

The CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will mail you a renewal notice before the expiration date.

Depending on your driver's license status (valid, expired, suspended, or lost/damaged), you can renew either:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • By phone.
  • In person.

Looking for your license's mailing status?

To get an update on your license, head to our Status Check page, select "California," and choose your method of contact to get in touch with the CA DMV.

Unfortunately, DMV.ORG cannot check the mailing status of your license—checking with your local DMV is the best way to get an update.

To be eligible for online, by phone and by mail renewals, you must:

  • Have a driver license that expires within 120 days.
  • Be less than 70 years old.
  • Not have a suspended license or driving probation.
  • Not have failed to appear in court within the past 2 years.
  • Not made your last 2 renewals by mail.
  • Not hold an out-of-state driver's license.

NOTE: Your California driver's license renewal notice will inform you if you qualify to renew online, by phone, or by mail.

After renewing, you will receive a temporary card valid for 60 days to use until you receive your permanent CA driver's license.

If you don't receive your permanent CA driver license within 60 days, call the CA DMV at (800) 777-0133 to check the status of your renewal

Valid Driver's License

If you hold a valid driver license, you'll be able to renew it up to:

  • 6 months before your expiration (this drops to 120 days if you plan to renew online).
  • 90 days after your expiration.

NOTE: You can renew in person more than 6 months before your CA driver license expires, but you'll need to submit your current driver's license to the California DMV for cancellation.

Expired, Suspended, or Lost License

Expired Driver's License

You cannot renew your California driver license more than 90 days after it has expired.

You'll need to visit your local CA Department of Motor Vehicle office and complete a new Driver License or Identification Card Application.

Get the form at the CA DMV office, or have the form mailed to you by calling (800) 777-0133.

Suspended Driver's License

If your CA driver license has been suspended, you'll need to reinstate your driving privileges before you can renew it.

For more information, please see our Suspended License in California page.

Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Driver's License

If your CA driver license is lost or stolen, you should report it to the CA DMV at (800) 777-0133 or email

For more information on getting a replacement card, please see our Replacing a Lost License in California page.

If your lost, stolen, or damaged California driver's license is due for renewal, you can renew it instead of applying for a replacement card using the appropriate method listed below.

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California Driver License Renewal by Mail Eligibility Information
Use this form to determine your eligibility for mail-in renewal AND renew your California driver's license by mail (if eligible).
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