Walk-in Queue at San Francisco DMV in the morning, spanning the length of the parking lot

Walk-in queue at San Francisco DMV spans across the parking lot at 8am in the morning

The California DMV is making a strong push toward a paperless future, starting with an online application for driver’s licenses and IDs. You can now apply online to renew, replace, or get your driver’s license or state ID, including commercial licenses and REAL IDs ahead of your visit to the DMV – about time! The form also allows you to apply for a change of address.

The form is available in 10 languages, namely English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Tagalog.

 

What is this online application for?

The online application can be completed to:

  • Register and apply for,
  • Renew,
  • Replace, or
  • Change the address on

Your:

  • Driver’s license,
  • State ID,
  • REAL driver’s license or
  • REAL state ID

Your completed application will be referenced at the DMV office, saving you time on queuing for registration and filling up a paper application.

 

What do I need?

You’ll need:

  • a phone number, or landline
  • an email address

 

When should I apply online?

Fill in the online application before your visit to the DMV to save time – you’ll skip the registration counter where people fill up paper forms. There will also be onsite touchscreen kiosks for you to fill up the electronic application.

 

How do I apply online?

  • Start here: electronic application for driver’s licenses and IDs
  • Sign up for an ID.me account
    • Via Facebook, Google or LinkedIn
  • Set up 2-Factor Authentication with a US phone number, you’ll receive a code through a phone call or a text
    • The ID.me account provides you with extra security
  • Continue and submit the electronic application
  • You will receive a confirmation number in your email, which you should have ready when you visit the DMV
    • The confirmation number will be used to look up your application

Haven’t got time to finish it all in one go? Information entered on the application will be saved for 12 months after the last modification.

 

I’ve completed the application. How can I get a DMV appointment?

Congratulations, you’ve shaved a good 0.5 – 1 hour (based on YoGov’s data) off your DMV visit by completing the form online.

To get seen at the DMV, you can either walk-in and wait in line, or book an appointment in advance.

If you need to go ASAP, e.g. to replace a driver’s license for work, you might have to walk into a DMV. Based on our data, the wait in line can be 2-4 hours, excluding a good 2-4 hours once you’re in the DMV – a total of 4 – 8 hours! Alternatively, our line concierges can wait in line for you, and swap spots with you when it’s your turn in line.

If you need to go soon, e.g. to renew your license before your travels, you can try our Express Appointment service. We’ll monitor for last-minute DMV slots in the next two weeks, within 25 miles of your postal code, for you.

If you can go any time, book a regular and free appointment at the DMV. Our data shows that the wait for an appointment can go up to 48 days, so be prepared!

Remember to bring your confirmation number (sent to your email on completion of the application) on your visit to the DMV!

 

Other questions

1. Can I still opt for filling up the paper application?

The DMV is starting to phase our paper forms. You can still fill up paper forms, although there will be onsite touchscreen kiosks for you to fill up the electronic form.

2. How long is my application valid for?

Once you have completed the application, it will be saved for 12 months. Be sure to visit the DMV within those 12 months!

3. Can I choose to be an organ and tissue donor through this application?

Yes, you can! The registration process to be a donor will not be completed until a DMV office processes it during your visit.

4. Can I get assistance with filling up the application?

The DMV offices are equipped to assist customers with disabilities. Each office has virtual keyboards, Job Access With Speech (JAWS), zoom capabilities, and a large roller-track ball mouse.

5. I have other questions.

Go ahead and reach us through the button on the bottom right. We’ll be in touch soon!

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