Renewing Your California DMV Drivers License
Driver licenses have expiration dates, and it’s important that you keep track of yours: driving with an expired license is illegal. You could be cited by a law enforcement office if you are found to be driving with an expired driver license. So when your license is about to expire, you need to renew it. There are a few ways you can go about renewing your California driver license.
Renew in Person
In order to renew your license in person, you will need to be sure you do a few things:
- Go to your local DMV office (make an appointment to save yourself some time).
- Fill out a California Driver License or Identification Card Application form (DL 44 or DL 44C).
- This form must be an original, not a copy.
- Have your thumb print taken.
- Get your photo taken.
- Pay the application fee.
- Pass a vision test.
- Take a written test, if necessary: you can find out if you must take this by looking at your renewal notice.
- The test includes questions on traffic laws and road signs.
- You need only answer the first 18 questions on the test (out of 36), and to pass you must get 15 of them correct.
- You are allowed 3 chances to pass the exam.
- Make sure the DMV has the proper address for you. You will need to inform the DMV representative if they have the wrong address on file for you.
Once you fulfill all of these requirements, you will be given an interim license, which is valid for 90 days. You will also receive a new photo license in the mail. If you do not get your new license after 60 days, call 1-800-777-0133 to find out its status.
Renew by Mail
To renew your driver license by mail, you must be eligible to do so. You will need to be sure that the following apply to you:
- Your driver license does not expire more than 60 days from today’s date.
- You will not be 70 years old or older when your current driver license expires.
- You are not currently on any type of driving probation or suspension.
- You have not violated any written promise to appear in court within the past 2 years.
- You have not already received 2 consecutive five-year extensions by mail.
- You do not have a driver license from more than 1 state/jurisdiction.
If you are eligible and have not gotten a notice to renew by mail, fill out a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form (DL 410 FO). Then mail it, in addition to a check for the license renewal free, to this address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001
If you get a Renewal by Mail (RBM) Notice along with a Renewal Identification Number (RIN), you might be eligible to renew your driver license online. You will also need to meet the following criteria:
- You are able to access the Internet.
- You do not have a change of address or a change of personal description.
- You have a verified Social Security number on record with the DMV.
- You have a valid credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover).
If you do qualify, follow these steps to renew online:
- Gather your RBM notice and credit card.
- Visit the official DMV website.
- Click on the Online Services tab.
- Select Driver License Renewal.
- Follow the instructions to renew your driver license.
No matter which of the three methods of renewal you end up going with, just be sure you take care of your license renewal so you don’t run into problems!