Lost your California driver's license? You may be wondering, "Can I drive if I lost my license in California?" Further, how can you get a replacement as soon as possible? Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do when you lose your California driver's license.
What to Do if You Lose Your California Driver's License
When you realize you've lost your California driver's license, don't panic. You can replace it and be back on the road shortly. Here's what you need to do.
1. Apply for a Replacement Driver's License
First, you need to head over to the CA DMV website and fill out the application to request a replacement driver's license. The same application is used if you just need a new government identification card. Note, if you are a minor, you will need to have the signature of your parent or guardian. When requesting the replacement, you can also convert your license into a REAL ID. If you don't have internet access or prefer not to use the online application tool, you can go to a physical DMV location and fill out the DL 44/EDL 44 form in person.
2. Show Proof of Your Identity
Next, if you're converting to a REAL ID, you'll need to prove your identity. You can do this by providing your Social Security number, two proofs of your California residency, and an acceptable document that proves your identity (e.g. unexpired passport, birth certificate, etc.).
3. Visit Your Local CA DMV
Lastly, find your nearest CA DMV and either walk in or schedule an appointment. During your visit, you'll need to:
Pay the replacement fee, which is currently $30 as of 2021.
Have your photograph validated.
Scan your thumbprint.
Submit your proof documents (if upgrading to a REAL ID).
After completing all of these steps, the DMV representative will provide you with a temporary replacement driver's license. This will be valid for sixty days and can be used as proof while you're waiting for your replacement card. Your new card should come within four to six weeks. If it doesn't come by then, be sure to call 1-800-777-0133 to check on it.
Can I Drive If I Lost My License in California?
In California, it's illegal to drive without your physical license card in your possession. You could be charged with a misdemeanor which could lead to fines, according to California Vehicle Code Section §12500. Although the consequences are less than driving without a license altogether, there can still be consequences.
Being so, it's important to get your temporary license as soon as possible. If you absolutely need to drive in the meantime or to get to the DMV, bring your driving record with you to prove that you're a licensed driver (if you are pulled over). While this may not help you avoid a ticket, it could improve your chances. If at all possible, it's best to get a ride from a licensed driver until you receive your interim license.
I Drive Safely Is Here for Your Driving Education Needs
Looking to brush up on your driving skills, get a ticket dismissed, or get an insurance discount? I Drive Safely offers a California-licensed online traffic school you can complete from your mobile device or computer. When you finish, we'll automatically send your certificate of approval to the DMV!
Learn more about CA I Drive Safely online courses.