Renewing Your License in California

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

Eligibility for CA License Renewal

Your California driver's license expires every 5 years on your birthday.

The CA Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will mail you a renewal notice about 2 months 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.

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

  • Have a driver license that expires within 60 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 90 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.
  • 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 (886) 658-5758 or email dlfraud@dmv.ca.gov.

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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Renewing Your CA Driver License

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

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

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 can request a extension for 1 year for free.

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 will remain valid for 30 days after your honorable discharge, regardless of the expiration date. Your spouse's CA driver's license will also remain valid during this time.

If your California driver license has expired, you need to update your driving record with the CA DMV by calling (916) 657-7790.

You will receive an Extension of License for Person in Armed Forces card (DL 236).

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

  • Request a expiration date extension of 1 year. (See above.)
    OR
  • Renew your CA driver's license by calling (916) 657-7790.

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.

Forms

DL 410 FO
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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