California Driver’s License Renewal (A Complete 2024 Guide)

California Driver's License Renewal (A Complete Guide)

Is it almost time to renew your CA driver’s license?

Don’t know the requirements?

You’ve come to the right place. 

Here, we’re going to give you a complete 2024 guide on California driver’s license renewal. We’ll give you the steps to doing it online, in person, or through the mail. 

With this, you’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. 

So let’s get started!

How to Renew Your Driver’s License in California

As we mentioned above, there are 3 ways to renew your CA driver’s license. These are:

  • Online
  • In-person
  • Through the mail

Let’s go through each of them one by one. 

How to Renew Your CA Driver’s License Online 

Renewing your driver’s license has never been easier with the addition of online renewal. 

However, you’re only allowed to renew online if you meet the following criteria:

  • You don’t need to make changes to your personal information (e.g. name change, address)
  • You’re not changing to a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license
  • You’re not renewing a commercial driver’s license

If so, you can proceed with renewing online. 

Start by logging into your DMV account. If you don’t have one yet, you can simply make one. 

Once you log in, review the information on your profile. If they’re all correct, you can proceed by paying the $39 renewal fee. 

Note: payment can be done through credit card, debit card, or echeck. 

And that’s it! That’s how easy it is to renew your driver’s license online in California. 

As for the delivery of your new driver’s license, you can expect it to be delivered via mail within 2-4 weeks from renewal. 

How to Renew Your CA Driver’s License In Person

If you are not eligible to renew online (or if you prefer doing it the traditional way), then you’ll have to go to a DMV office. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can renew your CA driver’s license in person:

  1. Complete a DL or ID card application OR bring the renewal notice mailed to you by the DMV
  1. If planning to change personal information, bring documents for proof
  1. Scan your thumbprint
  1. Pass a vision test
  1. Take your photo on-site
  1. Pay the renewal fee of $39 for non-commercial OR $50 for commercial
  1. Pass the knowledge exam (if your renewal notice requires you to do so) 
  1. Receive a temporary license. Your new driver’s license will arrive via mail within 3-4 weeks. 

Note: if you plan to apply for a REAL ID, bring proof of identity and residency. 

How to Renew Your CA Driver’s License Through Mail

Not everyone can take advantage of mail renewal. 

You CANNOT renew through the mail if you are any of these: 

  • Has a driver’s license that expires more than 120 days from today’s date
  • Under any type of driving probation or suspension
  • Violated a written promise to appear in court within the last 2 years
  • Received two consecutive 5-year extensions by mail/online
  • Has a driver’s license in more than one state
  • Applying for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license
  • Renewing a commercial driver’s license

So if you don’t fit any of those descriptions, you can get started with mail renewal. 

Simply complete the California Driver License Renewal by Mail Eligibility Information. You can download the form as a PDF, print it, and fill it out. 

After that, mail the form inside an envelope, along with a $39 check, to this address: 

Department of Motor Vehicles

ATTN: Renewal By Mail Unit

PO Box 942890

Sacramento, CA 94290-0001

Note: if the DMV gives you a renewal notice, you can just send that instead of the mail eligibility information form. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Still got some questions? Then let’s answer some of the most frequently asked ones. 

When does my driver’s license expire in California?

Your driver’s license will expire on your birthday every 5 years. 

For example, your driver’s license was issued on May 28, 2020, and your birthday is on June 7.  June 7, 2025, is the expiration date of your license. 

Is there a grace period for expired driver’s licenses in California?

Yes. You are given 60 days from the date of expiration to renew your license. If you are not able to renew within this period, you need to apply for a new driver’s license at your nearest DMV office. 

Do I need to take a test to renew my driver’s license in California?

You’re required to take a vision test when you renew your license in person. As for a knowledge exam, you only need to take it if the DMV tells you to do so in the renewal notice they send.  

Can I renew my driver’s license online in California AFTER it expires?

Yes, you can renew your driver’s license online even after it expires. That is, as long as it is within the 60-day grace period. 

If you renew beyond the 60 days, you need to go to the nearest DMV to apply for a new driver’s license. 

How much does it cost to renew my driver’s license in California?

The renewal fee for non-commercial driver’s license holders is $39. For commercial licenses, you’ll have to pay a fee of $50. 

If using a credit/debit card, you will need to pay an additional 2.1% for processing. 


So those were the 3 ways to renew your driver’s license in California. 

As you can see, it isn’t as complicated as you might have expected. 

And, thanks to online and mail renewal, it is now SUPER convenient. 

Sure, renewing in person might not be as convenient, but if you are not eligible for either online or mail renewal, you can always trust the good ol’ fashion way. 

So if you need to renew your CA driver’s license, pick a method and get renewing straight away! You don’t want to risk driving with an expired license. 

Want to know how to get a driver’s license in California? Check out this article! 

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