DMV Limited Term Legal Presence

All original and pending driver license or identification cards will expire on the expiration date of his/her birth date and legal presence document (BD/LP) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Your BD/LP document must have an expiration date 30 or more days from your application date. If your BD/LP document has an expiration date less than 30 days, you will not be able to start a driver license or identification card application.

If your BD/LP document has an expiration date of less than 60 days, you may complete your licensing requirements (knowledge/vision/driving tests), but you will need to submit another BD/LP document with an expiration date of 60 days or more before your driver license or identification card is mailed to you.

Before your limited term driver license expires, the department will mail out an “extension” letter with instructions on how to complete your application for a driver license.

If your current name no longer matches the name on your BD/LP document, see “True Full Name” and “How to Change Your Name” for more information.

Safety for the Aging Drivet

DMV has published a handbook specifically for senior drivers. Go online at www.dmv.ca.gov to view or download a copy of the Senior Guide for Safe Driving (DL 625), call 1-800-777-0133 to request a copy be mailed, go to the local DMV field office, or contact the Senior Driver Ombudsman Program in your area:

San Francisco, Oakland, and Bay Areas
(510) 563-8998

Sacramento and Northern California Counties (916) 657-6464

Los Angeles and Central Coast Counties (310) 615-3552 
Orange and San Diego Counties (714) 705-1588 

Use of Electronic Wireless Devices

It is illegal to drive while holding and using an electronic wireless communications device, unless the device is mounted on the windshield similar to a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, or is mounted on, or attached to, a vehicle’s dashboard or center console as long as it does not hinder the view of the road. The driver may use a feature or function with the motion of a single swipe or touch. This does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code [CVC] §23123.5).

What do I need to do to get my driver license if I fail the driving test on all three tries?

If you fail your driving test on all three tries, you will need to start another driving license application. You will have to:

  • Complete a new Driver License and/or Identification Card application (DL 44) form.
    NOTE: If you are under 18, your parent(s) or guardian(s) must sign the application form.
  • Pay another application fee.
  • Provide the following again: your SSN and true full name. If you are under 18 years of age, you must provide your driver education and driver training certificates again.
  • If you have never been issued a driver license or identification card, you will need to present the following: your birth date and legal presence and residency.
  • Take another picture and thumbprint.
  • Retake and pass the knowledge test.
  • Retake and pass the vision exam

After you are issued a new instruction permit, you may schedule an appointment to retake your driving test.

DMV Birth date verification and legal presence (BD/LP) requirements

The issue of identification reliability, integrity, and confidentiality is of prime concern to all citizens. Eligibility for government services, issuance of various licenses, assessment of taxes, the right to vote, etc., are all determined through evaluations based on identification documents. It is critical that identification documents be authenticated and accurate in identifying each applicant. The California driver license and ID card have been declared as primary identification documents in this state by the California legislature.

State law requires every applicant for an original California identification (ID) card and driver license to show verification of birth date and proof of legal presence within the United States to help safeguard the accuracy and integrity of departmental documents.

If your current name no longer matches the name on your BD/LP document, see “True Full Name” and “How to Change Your Name” for more information.

Only the original or a certified copy of one of the following documents is acceptable:

  • US Birth Certificate (certified copy from state or local vital statistics office)
  • US Certificate of Birth Abroad or Report of Birth Abroad
  • Federal Proof of Indian Blood Degree
  • USCIS American Indian Card
  • Birth Certificate or passport issued from a US Territory
  • US Passport
  • US Military Identification Cards (Active or reserve duty, dependent of a military member, retired member, discharged from service, medical/religious personnel)
  • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship
  • Northern Mariana Card
  • USCIS US Citizen ID Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Temporary Resident Identification Card
  • Canadian Passport/Birth Certificate
  • Non-resident Alien Canadian Border Crossing Card
  • Valid foreign passport with a valid Record of Arrival/Departure (form I-94)
  • “Processed for I-551” stamped in a valid foreign passport
  • Permanent Resident Re-entry Permit
  • Refugee travel document
  • Certified court order or judgment issued from a court of competent jurisdiction. Must contain name, birth date, place of birth, legal presence status, and judge’s signature.
  • Certification from California Department of Corrections or California Youth Authority
  • Employment Authorization Card (I-776)
  • Valid I-94 stamped “Refugee,” “Parole or Parolee,” “Asylee,” or Section 207, Section 208, Section 209, Section 212d(2), HP or PIP
  • Valid I-94 with attached photo stamped “Processed for I-551 temporary evidence of lawful admission for permanent residence”
  • Notice of Action (I-797 Approved Petition) – must indicate approved extension of stay or change in status that grants temporary or permanent residency, or indicates that an original, duplicate or renewal Resident Alien card is forthcoming.
  • Immigration judge’s order granting asylum
  • Mexican Border Crossing Card with valid I-94
  • U.S. Border Crossing Identification card with valid I-94

Top 10 DMV Facts (As of 1/1/16)

  • Licensed Drivers: 25,914,851
  • Licensed Teen Drivers (16-19 year olds): 862,589
  • Vehicles Registered: 33,768,367
  • Motorcycles Registered: 884,665
  • Special Interest Plates: 454,072
  • Registered Off Highway Vehicles: 792,645
  • Disabled Placards: 2,569,340
  • Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Registered
    • Hybrid Vehicles: 958,490
    • Electric Vehicles: 111,256
  • Online Transactions (2015): 15,624,866
  • Licensed Auto Dealers in California
    • Used Vehicle Dealers: 7,118
    • New Vehicle Dealers: 1,491

NEW 2017 LAWS

Use of Electronic Wireless Devices

It is illegal to drive while holding and using an electronic wireless communications device, unless the device is mounted on the windshield similar to a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, or is mounted on, or attached to, a vehicle’s dashboard or center console as long as it does not hinder the view of the road. The driver may use a feature or function with the motion of a single swipe or touch. This does not apply to manufacturer-installed systems that are embedded in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code [CVC] §23123.5).

DUI Ignition Interlock Device

This law extends the Ignition Interlock Device pilot program in Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Tulare counties until January 1, 2019 (CVC §23702).

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has been authorized to begin developing educational guidelines relating to lane splitting and will consult with specified agencies and organizations with an interest in road safety and motorcyclist behavior (CVC §21658.1).

Public Transit Bus Lanes

It is illegal to drive, stop, park, or leave a vehicle standing in the area of a road designated for the exclusive use of public transit buses unless a vehicle must cross the lane to make a turn. Signs will be posted to indicate the lanes are for “bus only” use (CVC §21655.1)

Driving without a license in California

It is against the law to loan your vehicle to a person who is unlicensed or whose driving privilege has been suspended. If an unlicensed person is caught driving your vehicle, it may be impounded for 30 days (CVC §14607.6).
No person of any age may drive on a highway or in a public parking facility unless he or she has a valid DL or permit. The law also states that you must not employ, permit, or authorize any person to drive your vehicle on a public street or highway, unless he or she is licensed to drive that class of vehicle.
A person must be at least 21 years old to drive most commercial vehicles for hire in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials or wastes.