California Driver License Services

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues your California drivers license and  learners permit, which allow you to operate a vehicle legally in the state. A CA learning permit allows you to practice driving until you are ready to take the tests for your driving license. Drivers licenses are also available for motorists who are 18 years of age or older. The requirements for learners permit credentials vary if you are a new driver who is 18 years of age or older when applying for your first license. However, you will take many of the same tests and follow many of the same learners permit rules when you receive your permit. Holding a license is required for CA residents and drivers visiting CA from other states or countries. Because it is illegal to drive without a valid license, you must replace lost drivers license credentials as soon as possible and keep your license up-to-date.

California drivers must renew drivers license credentials before they expire. The DMV offers online drivers license renewal services, or you can complete the drivers license renewal process through the mail, in person or at a self-service DMV Now kiosk. If you are ineligible to complete the online drivers license renewal process, you may need to visit the DMV to renew your credentials. Renewing a drivers license in CA must be done every five years. You will receive a notification from the DMV that reminds you to renew your drivers license before the expiration date printed on your card.

In California, you must also complete a DMV name change and obtain an updated driver’s license when your name changes. The DMV also requires that you submit drivers license change of address forms in the event that your permanent address changes. You must also update your California voter registration information when you complete the drivers license address change process. The DMV can submit your address change to the Secretary of State office if you authorize it to do so.

The DMV can also issue you a California ID card if you are a resident who needs a photo identification card but cannot drive or does not wish to drive. ID cards are an option for applicants of any age who meet the eligibility requirements. The DMV ID card application requires that you visit a DMV location in person. Learn more about driver licenses services in California by reviewing the following pages:

How to Obtain a Learners Permit in California

A California learners permit allows first-time drivers to practice their driving skills in California. Learners permits are issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is not possible to get a learners permit online, even though many other DMV services are available online. Instead, getting a learners permit requires a driver to visit a DMV office in person. The DMV learners permit application process requires that a driver take a test in a closed environment, have a photo taken and provide a signature and thumb print. For these reasons, online learners permits are not an option for drivers in CA. A permit allows inexperienced drivers to safely learn the rules of driving. As such, motorists who hold a permit for driving in CA do not have full driving privileges. Rather, beginners permit holders must abide by DMV rules and restrictions. When a driver has completed the necessary requirements for learners permit holders, he or she may then apply for a drivers license with full driving privileges. Read More

How to Apply for a New Drivers License in California

A California drivers license is required for all residents of the state who wish to operate a motor vehicle. Drivers license credentials are issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers licenses can only be obtained after an applicant gets a learners permit, practices driving, completes driver training courses and passes driver license tests. Getting drivers license credentials is necessary for removing the restrictions that come with a learners permit. It is not possible to obtain a drivers license online, but many other drivers license services, such as renewing a license, may be completed online. Because the CA drivers license application process requires the applicant to take a knowledge test and road skills test at the DMV, applicants must appear in person at a DMV office. Read More

Driving Exams in California

A California drivers test is required before any candidate can obtain his or her learners permit, drivers license or motorcycle license. Some motorists may also be required to take a drivers exam when renewing a license or replacing a lost license. In other situations, a driving exam may be required for adult applicants who have never held a license, or for applicants who wish to remove a driving restriction that was put in place due to a vision problem or physical condition. California’s drivers tests include a written drivers test, road skills test and vision exam. Each driving test ensures that drivers know the rules of driving and can operate a vehicle safely. Driver tests are administered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A drivers license test requires every motorist to demonstrate his or her ability to understand and follow traffic rules in the presence of a DMV test administrator. Passing a CA DMV drivers test requires applicants to study and practice skills ahead of time. Read More

How to Renew a Drivers License in California

Renewing drivers license credentials must be done every five years for most drivers in California. Several drivers license renewal options are offered by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Some drivers are eligible to renew drivers license credentials through the mail or online. However, drivers who do not meet the criteria to renew drivers license online in California will need to visit a DMV office in person when it is time to renew their license. The DMV may require motorists to retake driving tests at any time during the license renewal process. If required to take a test, a driver must appear in person at the DMV to complete the test. Motorists will pay a CA driving license renewal fee when renewing a drivers license by any method. This fee varies based on the type of license being renewed. Read More

How to Replace a Drivers License in California

A lost drivers license in California must be replaced as soon as possible, because it is illegal to drive without drivers license credentials. Obtaining a copy of drivers license credentials in a timely manner will help you avoid legal penalties or fees in the event that you are stopped by a law enforcement officer. A CA replacement drivers license can be obtained from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You are required to replace drivers license credentials in the event your card is lost, stolen, damaged, mangled or otherwise unreadable. In CA, a drivers license replacement can only be obtained by visiting the DMV in person. This is because you must complete several of the same steps needed for obtaining an original license, including paying a fee and providing a fingerprint. Read More

How to Change the Name on a California Drivers License

A drivers license name change must occur when you change your legal name in California. To change name on driving license credentials, you will visit a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office and apply. You cannot change your name online for any DMV services. Before you can complete a DMV name change in California, however, you must first change your name with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The DMV will only complete a change of name on driving license credentials if you present documents showing that your name has already legally changed. Changing your name at the SSA and DMV is important, because you will not be legally recognized by your new name until you complete these steps. To save time when changing your name on driving license credentials, you must bring documents that show your new legal name. The DMV will verify these documents with SSA records, which is why you must change your name with the SSA first. Read More

How to Change the Address on a California Drivers License

A California drivers license change of address must be performed when you move to a new residence in the state. However, changing drivers license address information is not required if you move to a temporary address. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) processes address change requests for your license. Changing your drivers license address information with the DMV is free. Additionally, you do not need to obtain a new drivers license when you change your address. It is important to note that completing a DMV address change does not mean that your mail will automatically forward to your new address. It is still your responsibility to change your address at the Post Office when you move. A CA DMV change of address form must be submitted within 10 days of moving to a new permanent address in California. Read More

How to Obtain an Identification Card in California

Obtaining a California ID card is an option for all residents regardless of their age. ID cards look like a drivers license, but they do not come with driving privileges. Rather, an ID card is used for identification purposes only. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues ID cards in California. A DMV ID card allows residents who are not eligible for a drivers license, or who do not want a drivers license, to get a photo identification card. The DMV offers several ID card options depending on an applicant’s needs. For example, there are senior citizen ID cards, reduced-fee ID cards and even free ID cards for qualifying applicants. Regular CA ID cards are valid for six years, and senior citizen ID cards are valid for 10 years. Read More

How to Get a Voter Registration in California

Voter registration in California allows you to vote in primary or general elections, including national and California elections. A voter registration application must be filled out in order to become a registered voter. You have the option to register to vote through the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Secretary of State. If using the DMV, an application to vote can be completed when using many other DMV services. A CA voter registration form can also be submitted directly to the Secretary of State if you prefer. You must register to vote at least 15 days before voting in an election. However, if you are a new CA resident, registering to vote may be possible if you have lived in the state for less than 15 days, provided that you have not already voted in the same election elsewhere in the U.S. Read More

Visitors Driving in California

You must abide by California rules for visiting drivers when traveling to the state. Most visiting driver requirements apply in California as well as the rest of the U.S. The state of California has certain driver’s license requirements for visiting foreigners who wish to use a drivers license during their time in the state. In CA, the rules for visiting drivers do not require you to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP). Instead, you may use your drivers license from your home state or country. In California, visitors older than 18 years of age may operate a vehicle as long as they hold a valid drivers license. Using an expired or otherwise invalid foreign drivers license is against the law. Traffic laws vary from state to state, and it is best to familiarize yourself with visiting driver rules whether you are visiting California from a different country or simply from a different state. Read More

Veteran Drivers in California

Some veterans may wonder, “What is a veteran designation on a driver’s license in California?” when seeking information on California driving license credentials. California veteran designation on license credentials is an important benefit for the many U.S. veterans who reside and operate a vehicle in California. Veterans who serve in the U.S. military can apply for a driver’s license veteran designation to help them identify themselves as a veteran for state services and other benefits. Additionally, a veteran designation on license plates is also available to qualifying service members. A specialized license plate can be customized to fit your particular branch of service. You can also obtain veterans ID card credentials if you do not want a driving license or cannot secure a driver’s license. Read More

Senior Drivers in California

Seniors wondering how to become a safer driver in California can improve their performance on the road by educating themselves on the issues facing senior drivers today. A CA mature driver education course can help senior drivers identify vision, hearing and other health issues that may impair their safety and get help for any changes that may impact their driving abilities. Many companies offer car insurance discounts for seniors as a result of safe driving performance or affiliations with various senior citizen groups. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides information on senior driver services, including mature driver improvement course information and tips on how to drive a car safely in California after age 55. Elderly drivers can review the sections below to find out more about how to become a safer driver, where to find mature driver improvement courses and what to do if you decide it is time to stop driving. Read More