Updated April 2020
Here's the ultimate guide to renewing your California DMV driver license. We've simplified the entire process to save you time.
How can I renew my California driver license?
There are multiple ways to renew your license:
Online renewal / Renewal by Mail / Renewal by Phone:
To be eligible for an online, mail or phone renewal, you must:
- Have a driver license that expires within 60 days,
- Be less than 70 years old
- Not have a suspended license
- Not have an FTA (failed to appear in court) within the past 2 years
- Have not made your last 2 renewals by mail
- Have a California License
Note: You will NOT be given an interim license. Your license will be mailed to you within 3-4 weeks.
You can also renew in-person at the DMV. The advantage of renewing in-person is that you'll get an interim paper license which is valid for 90 days. This is recommended for people whose license is expiring in the next 2-3 weeks.
In-Person Renewal Process
Visit the DMV in-person. You can walk-in but we strongly recommend getting an appointment ahead of time.
- Complete the Driver License Application form DL44.
- Give your thumbprint.
- Have your picture taken.
- Pass a vision test.
- Pass a written exam, if necessary.
- Pay the $36 renewal fee.
Online Renewal Process (Only for eligible residents)
- Register with the CA DMV online services portal
- Log in to the driver’s license renewal section of the DMV portal
- Enter the required identifying information
- Pay the $36 renewal fee for a Class C license
- Receive a temporary driver’s license via U.S. mail (valid for 90 days)
- Receive your permanent CA driver’s license via U.S. mail (within 60 days)
Renewal by Mail (Only for eligible residents)
- You must complete the renewal notice you received in the mail OR complete a California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form (DL 410 FO).
- Mail your completed application and check/money order for the $36 renewal fee to Department of Motor Vehicles, ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit, P.O. Box 942890, Sacramento, CA 94290
Renewal by Phone (Only for eligible residents)
You will need your renewal notice for this kind of renewal.
- Call the number on your renewal notice and provide the Renewal Identification Number (RIN).
- Have a credit/debit card handy to pay the $35 renewal fee.
Renew California Driver License Pro-Tips
- There are certain exceptions to renewing online. If you know you cannot renew online, you can make a DMV appointment right here.
- If you are renewing now, you should apply for the Real-ID. This will be mandatory in 2020 so you should save money and time and get it now. You will need to bring extra documents to the DMV. How to get your Real ID in California
Caveats and Exceptions
Request this full checklist, including caveats and exceptions, for free by email:
Visit our California DMV information page.
Looking for real-time DMV wait times in California?
In a hurry? Get a DMV appointment fast
Get unlimited DMV appointments and DMV chat support with a 30 days free of Skip.