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. Find out some helpful information about how to replace lost drivers license credentials by reviewing the sections below. You can download our guide to learn additional details to help you easily obtain a replacement drivers license.

How to Replace Drivers License Credentials in Person in CA

Drivers wondering, “Where can I get a copy of my drivers license in California?” must know that they can only complete the application in person. A DMV duplicate license cannot be obtained online or through the mail due to security issues. It is for your protection that duplicate drivers license credentials can only be obtained in person at the DMV. When you replace a lost drivers license in CA, make an appointment with the DMV or visit a DMV Driver License Processing Center without an appointment. To get a replacement driver license, you will:

  • Submit a drivers license application form.
  • Bring a form of identification that the DMV can use to verify your identity.
  • Pay an application fee, which varies based on the type of card you are replacing.
  • Provide your thumb print.

When replacing drivers license credentials, the CA DMV will verify your photograph and personal information on file. You may not receive a CA replacement driving license if the DMV cannot verify your identity. In this case, you may need to return to the DMV with additional documentation proving your identity.

Minors can obtain a CA duplicate provisional license in the event it is lost, stolen or destroyed. If you are younger than 18 years of age and need to replace a drivers permit, your parents or guardians must sign the application form that you submit. If the permit has expired or will expire before you receive a duplicate, you may have to repeat certain learners permit requirements or start the application process from the beginning.

Temporary Replacement Drivers Licenses in CA

When you apply for a replacement driver license in CA, the DMV will issue a temporary or interim drivers license. Your temporary DMV license duplicate is valid for 90 days and can be used until your official license comes in the mail. Before leaving the DMV, verify that your address is correct so that your new license will arrive. If you do not receive your California duplicate drivers license within 60 days, contact the DMV to check the status of your license.

After applying for a replacement driving license in CA, your previous drivers license is no longer valid. In the event you find your original CA drivers license after receiving the drivers license duplicate, you must destroy the original license and continue using your new license. You cannot keep your old license if you locate it.

Updating Drivers License Information at the CA DMV

If you need to update drivers license information when replacing a lost card, you may do so at the CA DMV. Additional forms for changing a name or updating your drivers license address may be required. When changing your name or address, be sure you have the necessary identifying documents that prove your residency and true full name.

When to Report a Lost CA Drivers License

If you believe your lost drivers license was stolen or is otherwise at risk of being used by someone else, report it to the CA DMV. If you discover your lost driving license is being used for fraudulent purposes, it is important to contact the DMV immediately to report how your card is being used. Lost drivers licenses in CA can be investigated by the DMV. You can learn more about ways to contact the DMV by downloading our comprehensive guide.

When contacting the DMV about a lost drivers license, do not send any personal identifying information, such as a Social Security Number, by email. If you lost a drivers license in California, the DMV can advise you on ways to protect your identity. You may be advised to take additional steps to report a suspected theft to the appropriate law enforcement department. If your drivers license is lost because your purse or wallet was stolen, it is necessary to report the theft to the police and follow steps for preventing identity theft and financial fraud. It is not necessary to report a lost drivers license to the police unless it was stolen along with other personal property.