California Driver's License Renewal: 2024 Guide

You have 60 days after the expiry date to renew your California driver's license. It costs $39 to renew, and you do it online, by mail, or in person at the DMV.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
You can renew your
driver's license online, by mail, or in person depending on your situation. No matter how you renew, you’ll need to pay a $39 fee and wait about 3-4 weeks to receive the new license in the mail. 
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When to renew your driver’s license in California

California driver’s license
has an expiration date listed on the front of the card, just below your ID number and above your name. 
You should receive a notice by mail alerting you that your license is expiring about four months before you’re due for renewal. Keep an eye out for that notice—but keep in mind that if you’ve since moved away from the address listed on your license, you may not receive it.  

How to renew your driver’s license in California

Depending on your situation, you may be able to renew your license online, by mail, or in person

Renew your license online

If you’re not
changing your address
or any personal information and are not applying for a
REAL ID-compliant license
for the first time, you’re eligible to renew online. Just head to the California DMV’s
online portal
and follow the directions there. 
Be prepared to pay $39, plus additional processing fees, for your license renewal. You’ll also have the chance to register to vote during the online renewal. 

Renew your license by mail

You can renew your license by mail if: 
  • You’re not on driving probation or suspension
  • Your license expires within 120 days or fewer
  • You haven’t violated a promise to appear in court in the last two years
  • You only have a driver's license in one state
  • You’re not applying for a commercial or REAL ID compliant license for the first time 
  • You haven’t already received two consecutive extensions 
 Unless any of those apply to your situation, you’re all set to renew by mail! Just fill out a
California Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information Form (DL 410 FO)
and send it to the following address: 
Department of Motor Vehicles
ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001
Be sure to include a check for the $39 renewal fee, along with an additional $2 contribution to the organ and tissue donor registry if you choose. You can also register to vote in California elections using this form. 

Renew your license in person

If you’re not able to renew your license online or by mail, you’ll need to go to the DMV in person to renew. 
To start, either fill out the form that was mailed to you or complete an
online renewal application
. Then head to
your local DMV field office
to complete the process. At the DMV, you will: 
  • Get your thumbprint scanned
  • Pass a vision test
  • Get your photo taken
  • Pass a
    knowledge test
    if applicable (your renewal notice will indicate whether this is required)
  • Pay your $39 renewal fee
If you’re applying for a commercial driver’s license or a REAL ID compliant license, you’ll have additional steps. These applications can only be completed in person. 

How long does it take to renew a California driver’s license? 

When you renew your license, you’ll get a temporary license valid for 60 days. In most cases, your new license will arrive by mail in 3 to 4 weeks
If your temporary license is about to expire and you still haven’t received the replacement, call 1-800-777-0133 to check the status of your application. 

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You’ll have 60 days from the expiration date of your old license to complete your renewal. Driving with an expired license after that 60-day grace period could result in steep fines and jail times.
If you have a Social Security number and aren’t changing any personal information (including your address), you can renew your license online.
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