Find a licensing center
Visit the California Department of Motor Vehicles online to find a location near you.
Getting a license for the first time
If this is the first time you’re getting a license, there are a few things to know.
Your First License Under 18
You may be able to get a license as early as the age of 14 in California if you can prove that you meet the requirements for an eligible hardship. Without that:
- Provisional permits are available at 15.5 years of age if you complete driver’s education or 17.5 without it
- Provisional licenses are available at 16 with driver’s education
- Full licenses are available at 18
To obtain the license, complete the Driver License and Identification Card Application with a parent or guardian’s signature. Then, prove your residency, Social Security Number and identity. Give the DMV a certificate of completion for the driver’s education course and pay the $38 fee. This must be done in person.
Your First License at 18+
To get a license when you’re 18 or older:
- Go to the local Department of Motor Vehicles near you
- Fill out the Driver License or Identification Card Application
- Pay for the fee, which is $38 for most licenses
- Pass the written and road tests
- Provide proof of your residency, Social Security Number, and identity.
Renewing your license
Renewing your license is possible through one of four manners:
- By mail
- By phone
- In person
If you currently do not have a REAL ID license and are upgrading to a REAL ID-compliant license at this time, then the renewal has to be done in person. You must also resubmit any proof of residency or identity that you provided in the past. Here is more information on each way you can renew your license.
Renewing By Mail
To renew your ID by mail, you can send in the renewal notice if you received it. You also have the option of filing the California Driver License Renewal By Mail Eligibility Information form, which is DL 410 FO.
Mail the form back to:
P.O. Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290
Make sure to enclose the $38 renewal fee with the form.
Renewing By Phone
If you want to renew your license by phone, you can do so if you have your Renewal Identification Number (RIN) and a credit or debit card. You will need that card to pay the renewal fee ($38) for your licnse.
Renewing In Person
Many people still choose to renew their licenses in person. You must do so if:
- You are 70 or older
- Your last two renewals were not done at the DMV
- You have to take a written test
- You need a REAL ID license
- Your license will expire in over four months (120 days)
The fee is the same in person as it is with all other options.
Renewing online is available on the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s website. Go to the registration website and register. Then, you can renew online for $38. You can renew online if:
- You aren’t upgrading to a REAL ID
- You have your Social Security Number registered with the California DMV
You aren’t changing your address
Do you need a REAL ID?
You don’t have to have a REAL ID, but if you are upgrading, you will need to bring proof of your identity, such as with your passport, your proof of California residency, and your Social Security Number.
Replace a lost or stolen license
If your license is lost or stolen, you can call the Department of Motor Vehicles to inform it at (886) 658-5758. If the license is up for renewal, you can renew it instead of trying to get a replacement. If you would like a replacement, you need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles in person.
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