How to Replace a Lost Drivers License in California

Updated on April 10, 2024
At a Glance:
  • If you lose your California driver’s license, you can follow these steps to get a replacement:

  • Apply for a replacement online or fill out the DL 44/EDL 44 form.

  • Provide valid ID and additional identification for a REAL ID.

  • Visit the nearest CA DMV branch.

  • Pay a $30 replacement fee.

  • Validate your photograph, and submit biometrics.

  • Bring legal documents proving your identity, social security card, California residency proof, and payment for the fees.

  • You cannot drive without your license, so it’s best to avoid driving and use alternative transportation.

  • Schedule an appointment online, minimize cash payments, and comply with public health protocols during the application process.
  • Losing your driver’s license is frustrating. Without it, you can’t drive, and replacing it can seem daunting. However, by following the guidelines in this article, you can easily replace your California driver’s license and get back on the road swiftly.

    How to Replace a CA Driver’s License: Overview

    To request a replacement California driver’s license, follow these steps:

    1. Set Up an Online Account: If you don’t already have one, create an online account.
    2. Verify Your Address: If you’ve recently submitted a Change of Address (COA), ensure it’s processed. Check its status in the COA system. Please wait 14 days post-submission before applying for a replacement.
    3. Pay the Fees: There’s a $30-$36 fee for the replacement driver’s license, with a 1.95% processing fee if you pay directly from your bank account.

    What to Do if You Lose Your California Driver’s License

    If you’ve lost it, either at home or outside, you’ll need to replace it. In the Golden State, the process to replace a driver’s license involves the following steps:

    1. Apply for a replacement driver’s license
    2. Prove identity
    3. Visit the nearest CA DMV

    As long as you follow all these steps, you will have a new driver’s license in no time.

    1. Applying for a Replacement License

    To apply for a replacement driver’s license:

    1. Visit the CA DMV website and access the Replacement Driver’s License section.
    2. If new, create an online account.
    3. Log in.
    4. Complete and submit the request form. Note: You can also opt for a REAL ID.
    5. For manual applications, fill out the DL 44 or EDL 44 form.

    2. Present Proof of Identity

    Next, you’ll need to submit your Social Security Number, an official identity document, and two proofs-of-residency. Accepted identity documents include:

    3. Visit the Nearest CA DMV Branch

    Finally, you will have to visit a local CA DMV branch. Walk-ins are allowed, but appointments may get priority. At the DMV, you’ll need to:

    • Pay a $30.00 fee (or $36, depending on the license).
    • Confirm your photo.
    • Provide a thumbprint.

    At this point, you will receive a 60-day temporary license. This serves as valid ID and driving permit while awaiting your new card, which arrives in 4-6 weeks.

    Those apply for a REAL ID will need to submit additional documentation at this point.

    What to Bring to the California DMV

    Here is a list of what you need to bring to the DMV after you complete your application process:

    • Legal documents proving your identity
    • Social security card, or verification of SSN (social security number)
    • California residency proof, which can be anything with the mailing address of your current place
    • Driver license number, if possible. (If you don’t remember your number, you can search for it in the DMV, but having it ready would be quicker.)
    • Replacement fee payment

    Replacement Drivers License Fees

    You should be aware that you need to pay several fees when you go to the DMV office. The amount that you need to pay is the same if you’re renewing your driver’s license. It will only vary slightly depending on your license class.

    Most DMV offices, but not all, accepts digital wallets and credit cards, but the processing fee is set at 1.95%.

    Here are the fees you need to pay depending on your license class.

    • Class C: $30.00
    • Commercial Class C: $36.00
    • Commercial Class A: $36.00
    • Commercial Class B: $36.00
    • Non-commercial class A: $30.00
    • Non-commercial class B: $30.00

    However, there are also discounts if you fit specific criteria regarding income and age.

    Can I Drive If I Lost My License in California?

    Don’t drive without your license, even if headed to the DMV. California law considers it a misdemeanor, leading to fines. Instead, commute or get a ride from someone licensed. While carrying a driving record isn’t official documentation and won’t guarantee avoiding a ticket, it may help in showing responsible intent.

    Read More

    Lost Drivers License California: Final Thoughts

    Replacing your lost California driver’s license might take some time, but it’s easy and convenient to do, especially if you know what you need to do.

    In this article, we’ve discussed in detail all the steps you need to take to replace your driver’s license. We hope it won’t be long till you get yours!

    Replacing a Lost Driver’s License in California FAQ

    Below, you will find some common questions around replacing a lost driver’s license in California and their answers.

    How do I replace my lost driver’s license in CA?

    Visit the CA DMV website, follow the replacement procedure, then head to a local DMV branch for final steps.

    What documents do I need to replace my driver’s license in California?

    Typically, proof of identity, residency, and a completed application form. For a REAL ID, additional documents are required.

    How much is it to replace a lost driver’s license in California?

    The replacement fee is $30.00.

    Can I print out a temporary driver’s license in California?

    No, but you’ll receive a temporary license at the DMV after completing the process.

    How long does it take for your license to come in the mail in California?

    Generally, 4-6 weeks.

    Can I get my California REAL ID the same day?

    No, but you’ll receive a temporary license while awaiting the REAL ID.

    Can you fly with a temporary California driver’s license?

    It’s best to check with TSA guidelines, but typically, additional identification may be needed.

    Can I get a temporary photo ID in California?

    Yes, after completing the required steps at the DMV.

    Can you get a temporary ID online in California?

    No, you need to visit a local DMV branch.

    Is there a digital California ID?

    There have been discussions about it, but as of the last update, a fully implemented digital ID isn’t available.

    Can you get your California ID on your phone?

    While digital licenses are possible to obtain, a digital California ID isn’t widely available.

    How can I get my California ID faster?

    Ensure accurate document submission and consider expedited mailing, if available.

    Sources Referenced

    I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
    Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
    We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

    Frank Gogol

    I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

    Check your loan offer in minutes

    Apply for a loan with 100+ partners with one application. It takes only 2 mins and doesn’t impact your credit score.

    *checking your rate doesn’t impact your credit score

    Get the Checklist