How to Replace a Lost California Driver’s License

You can easily replace your California license online or in person at your local CA DMV by paying a $33 fee.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
If you need to replace your California driver’s license, you can easily fill out an application on the DMV’s website and submit it online or in person. You won’t have to submit any additional documentation, but you will need to pay a $33 fee. 
  • You can replace a lost California driver’s license by filling out an application form online or by going to your local DMV.
  • The replacement fee is $33 for Class C, M1/M2, and non-commercial Class A or B drivers. 
  • Don’t forget to have personal documentation with you, including proof of identity, Social Security documents, and proof of address.
  • The penalties for driving without a license in California include up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. 
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How to replace a lost driver’s license in California

Whether you lost your wallet at the bar or were the unfortunate victim of a crime, the process to replace a lost driver’s license is fairly simple in California. This could even be a great excuse to upgrade to a REAL ID, the new identification card, if you don’t have one already. 
Be prepared: You’ll need to pay at least $33 as a replacement fee to complete your request.

Replacing a lost California license online

To request your replacement license online, you’ll need an
online account
with the
California Department of Motor Vehicles
. Once you log in, you’ll be able to submit your application form request without any major hassles or extra documentation. 
Keep in mind: You’ll be able to pay your fee online, but you’ll be charged an additional 2.1% processing fee if you pay with a credit card or debit card.
Once you’ve submitted your request, you should be mailed your new driver’s license within two to four weeks.
You might have to go in person: In some cases, replacing a lost license online isn’t an option. That’s likely to be true if your identifying information has changed, or if you used the online service the last time you renewed your license. 
MORE: How to complete a DMV change of address in California

Replacing a lost California license in person

If you’d rather go in person, or want to upgrade your license to a federally recognized REAL ID, you can visit your local California DMV office to submit your request. But first, you’ll need to download an application
to bring to the DMV with you.
If you’re just trying to get a standard duplicate license, you won’t need to bring any additional materials. If you take this opportunity to upgrade your license, you’ll need to bring the following
  • Government-issued proof of identity, such as a birth certificate 
  • Proof of Social Security Number (SSN), such as your Social Security card or W-2 form
  • Proof of California residency, such as a rental agreement or utility bill with your mailing address
You can
schedule an appointment
or test your luck with
walk-in times
at your local DMV to submit your application. Once there, you’ll finalize your request by paying the replacement license fee, showing the acceptable documents (if applicable), getting your photograph validated, and scanning your thumbprint.
Once your application is done (and you’ve paid your application fee), you’ll be given a 60-day temporary license to use until you receive your duplicate driver’s license in the mail. 
If you don’t receive your new license in four to six weeks, you can call 1-800-777-0133 to check your status.

What if you lose your California license out of state?

If you misplace your license while out of the state, you can easily request your replacement driver’s license online—no matter where you are. 
However: If you would rather apply in person, you’ll have to wait until you are back in California to physically appear at your local DMV office.

So, how much will it cost?

Take a look at the table below to check out how much your license replacement will cost based on the DMV website. 
License class
Class C
Class M1/M2
Non-commercial Class A or B
Commercial Class (CDL) A or B
Commercial Class C
If you need to replace a commercial driver’s license, you’ll pay a little extra. 
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No, AAA cannot assist you when it comes to a misplaced driver’s license. 
If you find your old driver’s license after you’ve ordered a new one, the new one will replace the original. 
This depends on the level of damage. A few light scratches should be fine, but if any of the information on your driver’s license becomes illegible, you should replace it. 
No, but you can drive with the temporary license you’re issued at the DMV.
Yes, a REAL ID is a driver’s license or ID card. The special thing about it is that it also functions as a federally accepted form of identification, so you can use it to board domestic flights or enter secure federal facilities.
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